Miami Heat backup combo guard Victor Oladipo sustained a gruesome left knee injury, and he will miss the remainder of the NBA playoffs.
The #8 Heat jumped out to a 2-1 series lead against the #1 Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, but they’ll have to navigate the reminder of the postseason due to an unfortunate injury to Oladipo.
With a 44-38 record, the Heat finished the regular season in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They qualified for the Play-In Tournament but lost in the opening game against the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks, who secured the #7 seed. The Heat locked up the #8 seed when they defeated the Chicago Bulls in the second play-in game.
With the #8 seed, the Heat had an opening-round date against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were a little rusty to start their series against the Heat, who were already in postseason mode after two games in the Play-In Tournament.
The Heat upset the Bucks to win Game 1 on the road in Milwaukee by 13 points. The Bucks bounced back to tie the series with a 138-122 victory in Game 2. When the series shifted to Miami for Game 3, the Heat did not squander their home-court edge and won 121-99.
Heat Win Game 3, But Lose Oladipo
Late in the fourth quarter of Game 3, Oladipo blew past two defenders from the Bucks and tore the patellar tendon in his left knee when he tried to plant his foot and elevate for a dunk. He crashed to the floor underneath and unleashed an expletive that was loud enough to be heard on the televised broadcast. He grabbed his left knee and remained on the hardwood for a significant amount of time while medical staff attended to him.
Oladipo needed assistance off the court. He did not return to the game, and finished with eight points in 19 minutes. The Heat held on to win Game 3 in a 22-point blowout.
It was a great win, but when you see a player go down like that, that’s definitely not a good feeling to see,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “Particularly a player like Vic, who has gone through so much in the last three years.”
Prior to his injury in Game 3, Oladipo averaged 11.5 points per game in 22.5 minutes per game in the 2023 playoffs. He averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game during the regular season, which marked the lowest output of his career.
The Heat were already short-handed after starting shooting guard Tyler Herro broke his right hand while diving for a loose ball in Game 1. Oladipo saw an uptick in playing time without Herro in the lineup in Game 2 and 3. Heading into Game 4, the Heat will not have two of their best shooters.
Victor Oladipo leaves the floor after injuring his left knee.
— Bally Sports Sun: HEAT (@BallyHEAT) April 23, 2023
Oladipo Long Injury History
During his first season with the Indiana Pacers in 2017-18, Oladipo put up All-Star numbers when he averaged 23.1 points per game. In the middle of the 2018-19 season, Oladipo ruptured a quad tendon in his right knee and missed the rest of the season.
Oladipo has never come close to returning to anything close to the same player he was before his quad tendon injury. He lost a step on offense, and was not longer the explosive scorer that could light it up from anywhere on the court.
Oladipo appeared in just 60 games between 2019 and 2022 with the Pacers, Houston Rockets, and Heat. Last season with the Heat, Oladipo played in just eight games while he slowly recovered from an additional surgery on his quad tendon. Even though he was inactive during most of his stint in Miami, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work and attitude.
The physical toll of rehab is tough but mentally, it’s even tougher,” said teammate Cody Zeller. “Vic always so positive. Mentally, I don’t know how he does it. There’s a lot of long days, a lot of slow days and it’s tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just sick for him.”
Oladipo appeared in only 42 games this season and missed nearly half the year with a sprained ankle, elbow injury, and knee soreness. He will undergo a third major knee surgery, which could prematurely end his career.
Betting the Heat/Bucks in Game 4
The Bucks face a serious injury of their own after power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a back injury in Game 1. Antetokounmpo sat out Game 2 against the Heat with a back contusion. He was considered a game-time decision in Game 3, but he did not suit up.
With the Bucks down 2-1 heading into Game 4 on the road in front of a hostile crowd in Miami, all signs point toward Antetokounmpo playing on Monday night. However, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer has not indicated whether the MVP-candidate will start in Game 4.
We’ll see how Giannis looks in the morning shoot around,” said Budenholzer.
Oddsmakers opened the Bucks as -5.5 favorites in Game 4. For a second game in a row, the Heat are a home dog at American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat were a +2 underdog in Game 3, and easily covered the spread in their blow-out victory.
The Heat were the second-worst betting team in the NBA during the regular season with a 33-51-3 record against the spread. However, the Heat are 2-1 ATS in their three playoff games.
The Bucks were the consensus favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA championship at +265 odds when the season ended, but now they’re +310 odds. The Boston Celtics are the new outright favorite to win the title at +250 odds.
The Heat were a long shot at +25000 odds to win the championship when the postseason started. After they seized a 2-1 lead over the Bucks, the Heat saw their odds improve to +10000.
The Bucks are +190 odds to win the Eastern Conference for the second time in the last three seasons. The Heat are one of the long shots to win the east at +3000 odds.
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