After a successful but far from fire-starting career in Europe, Joe Ingles has become a factor in multiple playoff series since going to the NBA. For most observers on this side of the pond, it wasn’t accepted but it is delightful according to Emmet Ryan
The magician was a bore and the only thing less impressive than Barcelona’s offence. Game 5 of the 2013 ACB Finals and the Blaugrana were looking for a threepeat. They had fallen to arch-rivals Real Madrid a month earlier at the semi-finals of Euroleague but had one last shot in Madrid to retain the Spanish championship.
Everybody stank and Los Blancos should have walked it but Joe Ingles went insane. His 25 point haul on the night only begins to tell the story. Ingles had been a likeable option for the Blaugrana across three seasons but he was never close to the guy. He seemed hired as much to fill the Jaycee Carroll role as anything else, a useful shooter who could stretch teams but not the focal point. Not this night. While everything around him fell apart, Ingles tore into Madrid with uncontainable fury. It wasn’t enough. For all his individual brilliance, Real took the W 79-71 and Ingles left Barca with a taste of what they barely ever knew.
A year later he was in the mixed zone in Milano jokingly telling reporters how he promised his buddies back in Barcelona that he would be happy to do them a favour and beat Real in the title game. Ingles was a bit part player with Maccabi Tel Aviv on a weekend where Tyrese Rice looked like the greatest baller alive in crunch time. Ingles only played 22 minutes across the two games in the finals, with a whopping combined 2 points and 1 rebound haul from the title weekend.
It was nice all the same. Joe Ingles is a lovely dude and seeing lovely dudes win a title, even from a barely used bench role, is lovely. He would complete a treble with Maccabi, claiming the Israeli cup and championship along the way, before the move that caught a whole bunch of folks off guard.
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Joe’s going to the NBA? Well, good for him to try was the broad consensus. He’s a nice guy and it’s about as good a time as any for him to test the waters. Near everyone expected to see him back in Europe by Christmas. When the Clippers waived him, it was disappointing that he didn’t get his shot to suit up in the association properly. That would have been a great story for him to tell the kids at the end of his career, that daddy ran out even once for a NBA team.
Well to hell with that. Joe Ingles is a playoff superstar and the only sensible reaction from Europe is good for you Joe.
Even if anyone over here thought he could turn into the player he is for the Utah Jazz, they are at least pleasant enough not to claim they did. That would hinder the joy and nobody wants that. Don’t taint the nice thing. Joe Ingles being a serious factor on a team that is making strides in the NBA playoffs, two seasons in a row, is just extraordinary and this train is worth the full fare.
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The 2017 series over the LA Clippers was the moment for European fans. The physical distance between the NBA and here really can make all but the absolute most beastly performances fly under the radar at times. Ingles, in his third season and first playoff series, was owning the show. The Joe Ingles is objectively lovely aspect only increased with his work to help a visually impaired boy who adored the Jazz watch the team. On a smaller scale, the way he alerts the world that he is awake by posting a coffee emoji is just a case of here is regular nice guy who happens to be really good at sports.
That Clippers series would have been enough but not at all. This is Joe Ingles, he’s got to go again. A dominant display in the series turning win over the Oklahoma City Thunder was followed up with what he did against Houston in Game 2 of the current series.
Joe Ingles is a bona fide factor on a team that is relevant in the NBA playoffs. In 2014 that statement would have seemed ludicrous to me. It’s lovely to be wrong.
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