Victor Oladipo enjoyed a terrific breakout year for the Indiana Pacers in the regular season and emerged as a real star.
The big question surrounding the shooting guard was whether he could translate that into the playoffs and truly establish himself as an elite NBA player.
If his performance in Sunday's game one clash against the Cleveland Cavaliers is anything to go by, the answer is an emphatic yes.
Oladipo inspired the Pacers to a huge 98-80 victory on the road and stunned the sell-out crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena.
The 25-year-old poured in a game-high 32 points on an efficient 11-for-19 shooting and 6-for-9 from three-point territory. He also added six rebounds, four assists and four steals as Indiana dominated from start to finish and never trailed.
After the game, the All-Star admitted that he was playing with a slight chip on his shoulder and was motivated by comments made by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert in the summer.
It is believed that the Cavaliers and Pacers had agreed on a three-team trade that would've sent Kevin Love to Indianapolis and Paul George to Cleveland.
But Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard pulled the plug on it and instead decided to accept a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that saw them acquire Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
At the time, Gilbert criticised Indiana for this move and claimed they "could've done better" with the package they received.
Oladipo took this remark as a slight towards him and said he was aware of it before the first-round encounter on Sunday.
"You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say," Oladipo said, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "But that was so long ago.
"It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I'm aware of what he said. Can't control his opinion. All I'm focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible."
The former number two overall pick was the best player on the floor and came back into the game in the fourth quarter to thwart a comeback by Cleveland as they cut a 21-point deficit to seven points.
He closed the game with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in the fourth, outplaying LeBron James, who had just four points on 1-for-3 shooting in the final frame.
With the Pacers having just one nationally televised game all season, not many fans will have seen them play much and their win may have come as a shock.
"We've been playing like this all year," he said. "Been playing hard on both ends all year. It just hasn't been magnified. So it's the playoffs now, we've been doing this all year.
"Now everybody sees, so it's like, it's kind of shocking to everybody, I guess you could say. But we've been playing hard. We've been playing our butts off on both ends of the floor all year."
Game two will take place on Wednesday night and Indy will now have a great opportunity to put one foot in the second round if they can secure another victory at the Q.
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