About Last Night

About Last Night: Oladipo has final word

Victor Oladipo's game-winning 3 caps a wild sequence of huge shots as the Pacers persevere over the Bulls in overtime

Dan McCarney, NBA.com

“It was incredible, man. That’s one of the games you dream about. It just turned out great for us.”

Such was Victor Oladipo’s summation of the Pacers’ 119-116 overtime triumph over the Bulls.

The contest won’t grab national attention like the Rockets’ OT victory in Golden State on Thursday, nor did it feature a singularly remarkable shot like James Harden’s game-winning 3.

But what it lacked in star power and play-of-the-year ridiculousness, Friday’s battle in Chicago more than countered with quality and quantity.

Buckle up for a truly wild five-plus minutes of NBA hoops.

The sequence tipped off with Zach LaVine’s clutch, off-the-dribble 3 to tie the game with 3.9 seconds left in regulation.

That led to an overtime period featuring seven ties or lead changes, highlighted by a bravura stretch of shot-making in the final minute:

  • Oladipo’s 3 ties the game at 113-113 with 55.6 seconds left
  • Myles Turner’s 3 puts the Pacers up 116-113 with 30.7 seconds left
  • Lauri Markkanen’s 3 ties the game at 116-116 with 9.9 seconds left
  • Finally, Oladipo delivers the coup de grâce:

Incredibly, the game that didn’t want to end gave us one last bucket … except it didn’t count, as yet another clutch 3 from LaVine came juuuuuust after the final buzzer sounded.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Kris Dunn’s complete destruction of Turner just a few possessions before the final flurry began with one of the best individual plays of the night.

Add it all up, and you have a truly exceptional contest that none of the participants or observers will forget any time soon.

“That’s a hell of a shot,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said of Oladipo’s winner. “I don’t know if he called bank, but I’ll take it. You have to make shots, and both teams did. A hell of a game.”

Programming Note: Pacers vs. Bulls re-airs on NBA TV at 5:00 p.m. tonight.

Respect for the game

They love the NBA in Boston, as proven once again by their show of appreciation for Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki in what might have been his final appearance at TD Garden.

It continued through the end of the game, with the Boston faithful urging Nowitzki to shoot every time he touched the ball during mop-up duty in the Celtics’ 114-93 triumph.

Alas, the Big German missed all 10 shots he took, the most attempts he’s ever had without making any in his 21-year career, and did not score for just the ninth time in 1,481 games.

That put only the slightest of dampers of what was otherwise another wonderful tribute for one of the greatest and most well-liked players in league history.

“Dirk, that’s the legend man,” said Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown. “When he steps away from the game, it’s definitely going to be a sad day.”

Said Nowitzki, “Super sweet, super emotional. It’s sweet when, not only your home fans but fans on the road appreciate what you have done the last two decades. I appreciate the fans of Boston and unfortunately, I couldn’t even make one. I definitely will never forget the reception.”

The night the lights went out in Milwaukee

As is wont to happen every once in a while, the lights shut off in the middle of Friday’s game between the Bucks and the Hawks. Only this time, Atlanta veteran Vince Carter knew why.

“(Carter) was getting my attention and I was like, ‘What do you want, Vince?’ Bucks center Jason Smith said, as quoted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “And he was like, ‘Bro, you shot the lights out!’”

Indeed, the Bucks went off for 43 points in the first quarter, and proceeded to build on their lead from there as Fiserv Forum went dark in the second. Unfortunately for the Hawks, it was only a temporary reprieve as the deficit ballooned as high as 46.

Fun side note: Per Elias Sports, the Bucks became the first team in NBA history to have 12 players — 12!!! — score eight points or more.

Respect

Wizards guard Bradley Beal is a great player in his own right. Yet when it came time to greet the retiring Dwyane Wade after the Heat’s 115-109 victory, he was reduced to a grade school kid mustering up the courage to approach his favorite player despite having shared the court across seven NBA seasons.

“I’ve always had it in my mind to ask him (for his jersey),” Beal said. “I’m always kind of nervous because I don’t want to get shot down.”

Beal needn’t have worried. Wade, as has become custom throughout his farewell season, was only too happy to swap tops.

“He’s part of the reason I wear No. 3,” Beal said. “For the first time, I told him tonight. I almost lost my mind when he gave it to me. You try not to be a fan, but I am. He’s a legend. I called him my idol and I thanked him. I learned a lot, how he carries himself. He’s not cocky with it. He does it in a humble way. I have nothing but respect for him, his game and his legacy.”

Clouds in L.A.

Life comes at you fast in the NBA, as the Lakers are learning the hard way.

It was roughly a month ago that they were sitting at 17-10 and seemingly gelling around LeBron James. Fast forward to present day, where the injured James is at least a week from return and the Lakers have lost 7 of their last 11, including 119-112 at home to a Knicks squad that entered with only nine wins and had dropped eight straight.

Down 17 early on, the Lakers rallied to lead by six entering the fourth quarter and looked on their way to righting the ship. They promptly imploded down the stretch, including a rare 5-second violation on a critical late possession as the Knicks outscored them by 13 over the final 12 minutes.

“Once shots didn’t go in, guys start trying to do it one their own and that’s not a recipe for us to win,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said.

Said Lonzo Ball, who combined with Brandon Ingram to commit 11 turnovers, “We keep losing the same. We get up in the fourth and we keep giving it away.”

Practice makes perfect

It’s an old coaching adage to take shots in games that you’ve actually worked on in practice. It’s yet another aspect of the game that precocious Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has down cold. Witness the following sequence from Boston…

Pregame:

Real game:

Obviously a bit closer, with actual defensive pressure provided by Celtics pest Marcus Smart, but the overarching principle remains the same.

If you want to be great, you’ve got to work on your game, kids.

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