Pacers news: Victor Oladipo, Nate McMillan reveal big key to T.J. Warren's 53-point game
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Pacers’ Victor Oladipo, Nate McMillan reveal big key to T.J. Warren’s 53-point game

Victor Oladipo, Nate McMillan, Pacers, TJ Warren

Indiana Pacers wing T.J. Warren picked the first official game in the Orlando bubble to post the best performance of his NBA career—dropping 53 points in Saturday’s 127-121 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Warren’s teammates and head coach have a working theory as to what led to the breakout game after a 143-day layoff. He’s good, and he was hot.

“We fed the dragon,” Victor Oladipo said after the game.

“A guy that hot, you try to get him the ball, and I thought all our guys were trying to do that,” head coach Nate McMillan assessed. “T.J. was as hot as I’ve ever seen him.”

Warren dropped his career-high point performance on a 20-for-29 shooting clinic, doing damage from all over the court, including nine three-pointers. He scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, helping Indiana overcome a 10-point deficit with just under nine minutes remaining.

McMillan praised Warren’s teammates for “sacrificing, of screening and getting him the ball and giving him proper spacing.”

McMillan specifically complimented point guards Aaron Holiday and T.J. McConnell: “They combined for 18 assists, we had 44 assists in the game, so our ball movement was good, and a lot of that was ending up in T.J.’s hands.”

“You’ve got to milk him,” McMillan added.

Warren has been the Pacers’ leading scorer all season (19.2 PPG), but his previous single-game career high was a 40-point effort against the Phoenix Suns in November of 2017.

“If you know T.J. Warren, you know he’s a bucket,” Holiday said. “So it’s not surprising to me. He was on fire, so we kept trying to find him.”