Victor Oladipo has had better shooting nights than he did on Saturday against the Celtics, but the Pacers guard hasn't had many more clutch performances. The All-Star bounced back from a rough first three quarters to come up big when it mattered, and he did so while outdueling none other than Kyrie Irving.
Through the first three quarters, Oladipo was a putrid 3-of-14 from the field, and had just 14 points. In fact, with only three minutes left in the game he was still stuck on 14, an off night by his standards. But by the time the game finished, Oladipo had 24 points to his name, including a game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds.
In the final three minutes, Oladipo and Irving traded big shot after big shot. Of the final 22 points in the game, 16 of them were scored by either Oladipo or Irving, and they combined for three go-ahead buckets. It was an entertaining game, and an even better finish between two of the Eastern Conference's best teams.
Looking just at this game, this was an incredibly impressive job by Oladipo to shake off a tough start and come up big for his team. But zooming out, it's yet another sign that Oladipo and the Pacers are legit; last year wasn't a fluke. They might not quite be on the level of the Celtics, Raptors or Bucks, but the Pacers can play right with those squads on most nights, and are going to be a tough team to beat every night this season.