INDIANAPOLIS — Technically, the state of Indiana isn't home for Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo.
But it sure seemed like home Tuesday night, as the Magic opened their regular season against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Oladipo, who played three seasons of college basketball at Indiana University, received a thunderous standing ovation when he made his NBA regular-season debut with 5 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
"It was amazing," Oladipo said. "I got a lot of love right there. It's truly a blessing for them to come out here and support me and watch me. I'm grateful and thankful."
Oladipo finished with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting. He also gathered three rebounds, had two assists and committed three turnovers.
The announced crowd of 18,165 included his college coach, Tom Crean.
Two hours before tipoff, IU fans clad in Hoosiers colors of crimson and cream filled almost all of Section 15 courtside just to watch Oladipo warm up. It was a meet-and-greet set up by the Pacers' marketing staff, and Oladipo went into the stands to sign some autographs and pose for photos.
"I'm kind of overwhelmed," Oladipo said after he met with the fans. "But this is what I've been dreaming about for a long time. It's kind of ironic that I started [the season] out in Indy, which has kind of been my home for the past three years. It's going to be fun."
Paul George's take
Few NBA players have better insight into Oladipo and second-year Magic swingman Maurice Harkless than the Pacers' young All-Star, Paul George.
George watched Oladipo play college basketball at IU and gave Oladipo advice leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft.
"I think he's wowed and opened a lot of eyes," George said.
"I think when they drafted him second, people kind of second-guessed that decision by Orlando. But after you've seen him play and you've seen his preseason, it's not that shocking of a draft pick. He could've been the number-one option out of this draft. He's that good. He has that elite speed, elite athleticism. It's going to take time with him as far as just being a rookie and understanding the game. But he has all the intangibles to be good in this league."
George, 23, also is familiar with Harkless after Harkless guarded him in two of the Magic's three games last season against the Pacers.
"He's a young, wiry kid, and he's going to have a lot of energy," George said of Harkless. "He's, what, 20? When I was that age, I was all up for any guy that I was guarding. So it appears that he has that same approach to the game."
Pacers coach Frank Vogel noticed two characteristics about the Magic after watching film from the Magic's preseason exhibitions.
"The early signs of who they're going to be as a basketball team are they're going to be a running team and they're going to be a team that really crashes the glass," Vogel said. "They're also a good cutting team, too."
The Magic entered the regular season with the fifth-youngest roster in the NBA, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, which subtracted 34-year-old Hedo Turkoglu from its calculations since Turkoglu won't play for Orlando and ultimately will be waived or traded by the team.
The Magic's average age is 25 years and 217 days old without Turkoglu.
On the road again
Tuesday's game was just the seventh time in 25 years that the Magic have opened a regular season on the road. The Magic posted a 2-4 record in their first six openers outside of Orlando.
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