In his first game back in over a year, Victor Oladipo hit a clutch, game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime for the Indiana Pacers.
For the first time in over a year, Victor Oladipo played in an NBA basketball game. And boy, did he make it count.
To be fair, it wasn’t the prettiest performance from the two-time All-Star and NBA’s 2018 Most Improved Player. He finished his night with just nine points and four assists in 21 minutes, going 2-for-8 from the floor and 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
However, it was that one make from downtown that proved to be the difference for the Indiana Pacers, who managed to steal a 115-106 overtime victory from the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. With the home team trailing 100-97 and 15.3 seconds left in regulation, Oladipo caught the ball deep on the wing.
His defender, Chandler Hutchison, gave him too much space, and despite being 0-for-6 from deep to that point, Oladipo calmly drained the game-tying 3 with 10.3 seconds left:
Zach LaVine missed the potential game-winner on the next possession, and the Pacers were able to outlast the visiting Bulls with a 15-6 advantage in the extra period.
Oladipo clearly has some rust to shake off still, and that will take time. It will also take time for the Pacers to readjust to having one of their star players back in the fold, since this group had been carrying on above a 50-win pace without him.
However, there’s no question Dipo’s quad tendon injury was a sad moment for him, the Pacers and basketball fans in general. It was great to see him back on the floor Wednesday night, and as if his rousing ovation upon checking in wasn’t enough, this clutch, game-tying triple that helped his team surge ahead for the win cemented the night as a successful, feel-good moment.