NBA DAILY DRIBBLE: Day of Daggers led by Victor Oladipo’s game-winner


NBA results, December 7, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers 101 – Sacramento Kings 95

Indiana Pacers 98 – Chicago Bulls 96

Orlando Magic 110 – Atlanta Hawks 106

Boston Celtics 97 – Dallas Mavericks 90

New York Knicks 99 – Memphis Grizzlies 88

Golden State Warriors 110 – Charlotte Hornets 87

Milwaukee Bucks 104 – Detroit Pistons 100

New Orleans Pelicans 123 – Denver Nuggets 114

San Antonio Spurs 117 – Miami Heat 105

Minnesota Timberwolves 113 – LA Clippers 107

Five things that happened in the NBA today

It was a day filled with daggers. Not so much game-winners per se, but clutch shots to put the opposing team away. The biggest shot of the night goes to…

1. Victor Oladipo hit a go-ahead three-pointer

The Indiana Pacers were down by as much as 17 points to the Chicago Bulls. With nine minutes left in the game, the Bulls were up by 15. This should have been a good road win for Chicago, but the Pacers had other plans.

Led by Victor Oladipo, they went on a furious run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to get back in the game. They got to within two points off a Cory Joseph jumper with a little over a minute left in the game. That set up the game-winner by Oladipo.

Oladipo got a steal on the defensive end and dribbled all the way to the other end of the floor. He stopped at the top of the key, popped and buried a three-pointer to give the Pacers the lead with 30 seconds left. Tough defense and clutch free-throws sealed the win.

Oladipo finished with 27 points and eight rebounds. It’s time to consider the fact that maybe, he’s the new superstar in Indiana. It’s also time to consider the fact that the Pacers, even without Paul George, are a playoff team.

2. LeBron James shows the Kings who’s King

The Sacramento Kings came into the Q thinking they’d snap the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win streak at their home court. They led by 12 in the third quarter and looked confident.

Then LeBron James happened. The King started a run in the fourth period to get the Cavaliers back in the game. His drive and layup over Zach Randolph gave Cleveland a two-point lead in the final two minutes. He buried a dagger step-back jumper over Buddy Hield with 15 seconds left on the clock to close the Cavaliers’ 13th straight win.

James finished with a near triple double line of 32-11-9 with three steals, two blocks and five treys. Let those numbers sink in. Here’s another number, this is year 15 of the LeBron experience and he doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down soon.

3. Kyrie Irving continues to torch the Mavericks

The last time Kyrie Irving faced the Dallas Mavericks, he torched them for 47 points. This time around, Dallas concentrated their defense on Irving and he was limited to nearly half his total in the last game.

But Irving put up buckets when it mattered most. Dallas stuck close to the Boston Celtics and were within two points inside the final four minutes. Not for long.

Irving scored on a one-on-three fast break to give the Celtics a four point lead. He followed that up with a fake spin then drive to the baseline, finishing with an and-one over two defenders. That was the dagger as the Celtics pulled away from there on.

Irving scored only 23 points but he poured in seven of his total in the final four minutes of the game to close out the win.

4. Eric Bledsoe helps Giannis Antetokounmpo in the end game

This is why the Milwaukee Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe hit two clutch baskets to keep the Detroit Pistons at bay and help Milwaukee beat a fellow playoff contender out in the East.

Bledsoe hit a midrange jumper off an Antetokounmpo screen. When the Pistons threatened again, he scored on a dagge put back off his own miss to help keep a comfortable cushion between both teams.

Antetokounmpo isn’t alone anymore. He’s got Bledsoe to help him create in the end game.

5. Elfrid Payton’s steal and layup gave the Orlando Magic the lead in OT

Elfrid Payton’s hair may be floppy, but in OT against the Atlanta Hawks, his game wasn’t. He stole a pass in the final minutes of OT and drove all the way to the hoop for a go-ahead layup.

That set the stage for Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and DJ Agustin to hit shots and help the Magic pull away from the Atlanta Hawks.

Did an NBA superstar get ejected today?

No. But DeMarcus Cousins should be ejected for this filthy line against the Nuggets.

Photo from Getty Images

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