Despite a game-high 28 points from Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Team Africa fell 108-97 to Team World during Saturday’s NBA Africa Game 2017. Oladipo’s impressive all-around performance earned him the game’s MVP Award.
The exhibition, which featured star players such as DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Lowry, and more, marked just the second time any of the major four North American professional leagues have held an exhibition game on the continent of Africa.
Luckily for the fans in Johannesburg, South Africa, the game featured more competitive flare than most All-Star games, with Team Africa getting within just one point of the lead in the final minutes of the game.
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A late 7-0 run from Team Africa allowed the hosts to narrow the gap against Team World, which was paced by 15 points from Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown.
But Team Africa, still trailing by four, was given their best chance of the game when Oladipo pulled up from the wing to connect on a 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, to bring the score to a 98-97 Team World lead.
But from that point forward, it became the Kyle Lowry show, as the Raptors guard scored a difficult and-1 basket, followed by a deft layup on the ensuing possession which brought the score to 103-97.
Team World was able to wrap up the game from there, going on to claim the 108-97 victory before a sold out crowd at the Ticketpro Dome.
From the very start of the game, Oladipo looked unafraid to take the lead for Team Africa, scoring 11 points in the second quarter as his team attempt to catch up to Team World.
For the game, Oladipo led all players in field goal attempts, taking 25 shots and making 11 of them. Over half of his shots were from long range as well, connecting on 4-of-14 3-point shots.
But Oladipo wasn’t just scoring; the athletic guard made a mark on the glass as well, hauling in nine rebounds, the second-highest on his team behind Clint Capela’s 11. Oladipo also found his teammates in the right spots, distributing five assists during the exhibition.
Even with the all-around effort from Oladipo, it wasn’t enough to overcome the balanced scoring of Team World, which used double-figure scoring games from seven players to ensure the exhibition victory.