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Wesley Matthews wins it for Indiana Pacers with the timely stickback

Indiana Pacers, Wesley Matthews

With the NBA season rapidly approaching its final month, every game matters for teams that are jostling for playoff positioning. In the top-heavy Eastern Conference, those games are doubly important. Ask Wesley Matthews.

The Indiana Pacers completed a stirring 19-point comeback at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. The comeback was built on the back of excellent play from Indiana’s dynamic big-man duo of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. In the end, however, the hero was Matthews, the Pacers’ recent acquisition.

Matthews produced this highlight with 1.8 seconds left on the clock:

Wesley Matthews was not boxed out after a tough Bojan Bogdanovic fadeaway mid-range jumper. He was able to sneak in behind the Oklahoma City defense and deftly reroute the careening ball into the cup for a vital Pacers win.

Matthews, now in his 10th NBA season, has played for the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, and New York Knicks (the latter being a brief two-game stint following the Kristaps Porzingis trade). The Knicks bought out Matthews. The Pacers immediately scooped him up as the team’s starting two-guard with Victor Oladipo injured.

Matthews has been playing great for the Pacers since being acquired, producing 12.1 points per game, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 37.7 percent from downtown and 88.9 percent from the line.

With this huge win, the Pacers moved back into the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings, which would have them playing the upstart Brooklyn Nets in the first round.

Though the standings are likely to change a lot as the season progresses, this was an important win for Indiana on the strength of Matthews’ clutch putback. Being the third seed in the East would enable the Pacers to avoid the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs.