Gabe Vincent has become the first Nigeria men’s senior basketball (D’Tigers) player to advance to the next round of the 2021/22 NBA Playoffs after the Miami Heat’s 97-94 game 5 win against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
Without All-Star players Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler – Gabe Vincent and his Miami Heat teammates ensured they got the job done to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Gabe Vincent had nine points, two steals, four assists, and four rebounds in 30 minutes as he and his teammates’ defensive effort won them the contest.
While his point seemed low, Gabe Vincent two way plays especially with the defense on Trae Young impacted the success of the series.
Two other players of Nigerian heritage in his team, Victor Oladipo and Bam Adebayo scored 23 points and 20 points respectively as the Heat chalked a place in the semis.
While all three Nigerian-born players booked their places with Miami Heat in the semis, another D’Tigers eligible Onyeka Okongwu crashed out with Atalanta Hawks.
Okongwu had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals from the bench in 26 minutes he spent on the court.
Gabe Vincent did a great job restricting Hawks All-Star point guard Trae Young to 11 points.
“I mean for sure. The numbers would say that. Honestly, I didn’t shoot the ball well, I couldn’t get into certain places I could normally get into,” said Young when asked if this is the best he’s ever been defended.
“He’s just a smart player,” said Young when asked about Gabe Vincent.
De’Andre Hunter scored 35 for Atlanta, while Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari gave them 12 apiece.
Gabe Vincent and his Miami Heat teammates will now play the winner of the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia Sixers tie – The Sixers lead the series 3-2.