Happy Dipo Day Miami


I know, I know…..It was the Rockets! I know that we must look at everything through that perspective, but man what a great night it was for the Miami Heat as they welcomed the return of Victor Oladipo to the hardwood on Monday night. It felt like a major event day Monday in Miami, even though it was just the lowly Rockets coming to town for an early March regular season matchup. Heat fans all over social media, sports talk radio, and in these hot Dade County streets were buzzing all day about how many minutes Vic would play and how good he would look in game action. The leaks coming from Dipo’s teammates in advance of the game were rave reviews and now we know why. Oladipo looked quick, strong, explosive, and sharp in his limited opportunities!

The crowd went crazy as #4 was announced over the arena loudspeaker system by the Miami Heat’s talented public address announcer Michael Baiamonte. It sounded like a loud playoff game in FTX arena as the veteran from Indiana University tightened the draw strings on his red shorts and raised one hand in the air to acknowledge the support from the fans. It was goosebumps stuff. You could feel the positive energy from Heat Nation all across the arena and from all over the globe as we are all genuinely rooting for Oladipo’s success. He deserves it.

Dipo has been through a lot. He had experienced the highest highs in Indiana as a two time all-star, all NBA 3rd team selection, and all NBA defensive first team member. It seemed as if Victor had finally found a home back in the state where he burst onto the national stage in college. Then he ruptured his quadriceps tendon. Anyone who knows about that injury knows that it’s a traumatic, disabling, and painful one that requires aggressive surgery and an arduous rehabilitation. It’s literally the tendon that connects your quadriceps to your patella or kneecap.

Unfortunately, for Dipo his surgeon botched his procedure and he returned to the floor in Indiana literally half of himself as he was playing unbalanced and on one leg essentially. Then as by an act of divine providence, Dipo’s Pacers had a matchup with the Miami Heat in the opening round of the bubble playoffs after a long COVID-19 work stoppage in 2020 and Dipo had an epiphany- somehow, someway he had to get to Miami as a member of the Heat. The organization that his mentor and big brother Dwyane Wade used to play for.

It took a couple of trades but after a pit stop in Houston last year, Victor Oladipo finally arrived on the Heat roster on the trade deadline in March of 2021. He thought his dreams had finally been realized and that he would show the Miami executives how much he was born to be a part of the culture. Unfortunately, four games later something went horribly wrong in a game against the Lakers. Oladipo went up to make a play on the rim and when he came down he could tell something wasn’t right. He tried to play through for another play, hoping that it was some regular soreness that would subside. However, the pain wasn’t going away and he had to leave the game.

After evaluation from Miami’s medical team, it was discovered that Dipo’s surgery had been completely botched when he was in Indiana and the fact that he was even walking let alone playing through it for so long was a major medical miracle. This is why I believe Dipo had to end up in Miami, so that he could finally repair the injury that derailed his career right as he was hitting the peak of his career. He needed better medical opinions and a team that would properly support what it would take to finally get him back right. Vic found that in Miami. Now Dipo is back fully healed and playing for a team that didn’t need to rush him back on the court. Miami was able to take his recovery in slow progressive incremental steps to build Victor back up to the player that he used to be and now here we are today.

With all of that in the background, the emotions had to be flying around for Oladipo and he showed up and showed out on Dipo Day! 11 points in 15 minutes on an efficient 4-7 shooting from the field, while hitting a couple of 3s, dishing 4 assists, grabbing a board, taking a couple of timely charges to help the comeback run, a nice Dwyane Wade inspired shot fake to get to the free throw line, and a nasty one hand jam that demonstrated he still had his explosiveness. That dunk woke you up out of your seat if you were still sleeping on him at that point. Dipo looked quick. He looked like his skills were still there and like he will definitely contribute to this team in a deep playoff run. It was encouraging to see and fun to witness. We were all rooting for Dipo and we loved seeing his hard work pay off after nearly a year of uncertainty away from the game that he loves.

Now that’s not to say that everything was perfect. Again, we have to reiterate that they were playing the Rockets, one of the worst teams in basketball record wise and literally the worst scoring defense and field goal percentage defense in the association. There are some things that they will need to work on so that they have better success against teams that can assert more ball pressure and play more aggressively on defense. In the first half when Dipo came in right after Herro checked in, he was running pick & roll with PJ Tucker on the left wing next to Herro and Herro was struggling to find the space that he needed to operate. Which caused Herro to struggle early and then Tyler erupted for 21 points in the 2nd quarter after Dipo sat down. However, the Herro/Dipo combination was much more potent in the 2nd half as Dipo started slashing away from Herro and playing at the opposite corner to serve as an outlet for Herro when he drew two defenders. Those two guys are hardworking high basketball IQ individuals who will definitely get it figured out and when they do, oh boy it’s going to be a big problem for the rest of the NBA! So once again Happy Dipo Day Miami! See you on Wednesday against the Suns.

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