The Indiana Pacers are one step closer to securing a playoff spot in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, in large part thanks to Oshae Brissett.
The former Syracuse forward led his team in scoring Tuesday night with 23 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field, along with five rebounds in a 144-117 win over the Charlotte Hornets in the opening round of the league’s play-in tournament.
With the win, the Hornets are eliminated from playoff contention and the Pacers advance to the second round to compete against the loser of Tuesday’s matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards for a chance at the final playoff berth.
Brissett connected on 3-of-6 of his 3-pointers, including a triple in the third quarter that gave the Pacers a favorable 29-point lead.
After the shot, Brissett threw his arms in the air and yelled, ‘Come on!!,” while giving arguably his most expressive celebration since the Pacers signed him to a three-year contract in April.
Brissett stepped up when his team needed him most in the absence of Caris LeVert, who missed Tuesday’s game due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
He was one of eight Pacers players who scored in double figures, including a 21-point output from Doug McDermott and a 14-point, 21-rebound and nine-assist statline from Domantas Sabonis.
His performance is significant because he began this season in the G-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Antz after getting cut from the Toronto Raptors in December.
Brissett received two 10-day contracts with the Pacers spanning across March and April until proving himself worthy of a multi-year deal.
His highest scoring game in the NBA was Sunday during Indiana’s regular season finale against the Raptors in which he dropped 31 points and 10 rebounds against the very same franchise that released him.
During his two seasons with Syracuse, Brissett averaged 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game through 71 games.