Victor Oladipo Represents, Helps Team LeBron Win All-Star Game
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Pacers guard Victor Oladipo realized a lifelong dream on Sunday night at the Staples Center, appearing in his first NBA All-Star Game.
Victor played 15 minutes and finished with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field. His highlight came in the third quarter on a steal and breakaway "rock the craddle" dunk that was reminiscent of Michael Jordan.
"Simply amazing," Oladipo said of the experience. "Obviously (it was) my first one, it was a little hectic, but I enjoyed it. It was a great experience and I'm looking forward to next year."
Oladipo checked in for the first time in the latter half of the first quarter and instantly made an impact. On his first possession, Oladipo came up with a steal and threw an impressive full-court bounce pass with his right hand to LeBron James, who then one-timed a dish to Bradley Beal for an easy dunk.
Minutes later, Oladipo knocked down a mid-range jumper on his first attempt of the night. Oladipo missed his next three shots, however, and Team LeBron headed into the second quarter trailing, 42-31.
Team LeBron fell behind by 15 points in the second quarter, but then immediately responded with a 13-0 run.
When Oladipo checked back in with 2:21 remaining in the half, his team trailed by 10. But he helped Team LeBron close the half with a 16-8 run to make it just a 78-76 deficit at the break. Oladipo picked up another steal and knocked down a 3-pointer during that sequence.
Oladipo played the second half of the third quarter, dishing out three assists and also showing off the hops that have earned him two invites to the Slam Dunk Contest. Alone in the open court after his third steal of the night, Oladipo rocked the cradle for a two-handed reverse slam that drew one of the louder reactions of any play all night.
Nonetheless, Team Stephen maintained a narrow advantage, taking a 112-109 lead into the fourth quarter.
Oladipo did not appear in the dramatic final period, which saw Team Stephen go up by 13 points before Team LeBron rallied, cutting the deficit to one point on three occasions before finally tying the game at 144 on James' 3-pointer with 1:31 remaining.
Oladipo's teammates got a stop, but couldn't convert any of three looks at the rim on the other end. Former Pacers forward Paul George then fouled DeMar DeRozan, who made one of two foul shots to put Team Stephen back in front with 41.2 seconds to play.
Team LeBron finally moved in front seconds later, as former teammates Kyrie Irving and James connected for the go-ahead layup with 34.5 seconds left. After a DeRozan turnover, James found a streaking Russell Westbrook for a breakaway dunk with 10.7 seconds remaining.
Team Stephen had a look to send the game into overtime against Team LeBron's suffocating defense.
James was voted as the game's MVP after narrowly missing out on a triple-double. He finished with a game-high 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and eight assists.
DeRozan and Damian Lillard led Team Stephen with 21 points each.
"I think we put on a show," Oladipo said. "Obviously the end got very interesting. People were in it, the crowd was in it, the players were in it. That's what it's all about. That's what the fans wanted to see."