Once again, Victor Oladipo came up big in the fourth quarter, exploding for a career-high 47 points against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. It was the latest clutch performance for Oladipo, who few saw emerging as an all-star after coming to Indiana in the Paul George trade last summer.
Oladipo’s late-game explosions have become a regular occurrence for a Pacers team no one expected to be this good. Now, Indiana is sitting on a 16-11 record, and their best player has morphed into a surefire all-star.
His clutch step-back three vs San Antonio
Oladipo let the world know he had ice in his veins against the Spurs early in the season. "I was thinking, 'Put a shot up, get a great shot, get a good look,'“ he said, via The Indianapolis Star’s Clifton Brown. “And I got one."
He definitely did.
His disrespectful game-winner against the Bulls
The general rule of thumb is this: If you can’t shoot an open three in a half court set, you probably shouldn’t shoot them in transition. Oladipo is shooting damn near 45 percent from three this season. He has no such worries.
Victor Oladipo hits the game winner! pic.twitter.com/n1PgyUUEwG— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 7, 2017
When he shifted Kevin Love to end Cleveland’s winning streak
It’s safe to say Love isn’t the best defender in the league. His defensive efficiency probably takes another hit when he’s forced to switch onto smaller, quicker, explosive guards.
Enter Oladipo — a smaller, quicker, explosive guard — getting the switch on not the best defender in the league.
And his unconscious effort against the Nuggets
Oladipo scored 47 points on 15-of-28 shooting and 6-of-12 on threes in Indy’s overtime win against Denver. He scored 32 of his 47 in the second half, including eight of Indy’s last 10 points in regulation.
In overtime, he had six points, including a dagger triple over the top of a screen. His late-game highlight reel against the Nuggets was ridiculous. And if it’s a regular occurrence, Pacers fans should be happy.
Victor Oladipo with a career-high 47 PTS (15-28 FG, 6-12 3PT, 11-13 FT), 7 REBS, 6 ASTS in the Pacers 4th win in a row.— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 11, 2017
He's averaging 31.8 PTS (.546 FG%), 7 REBS, 4.6 ASTS over his last 5 games. pic.twitter.com/KbxL6YMzQu
When Indiana took Oladipo back in the George trade, they also took on the remaining four years at $84 million on his contract. For the small price of $21 million annually, Indiana now has its new leader in crunch time.
After his game-winner against the Bulls, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said both he and the team want the ball in Oladipo’s hands at the end of the game. There’s no price you can put on a closer. Especially if he can keep it up.