At last, Oladipo finally gets his chance to play with Heat

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Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo (4) dunks in front of Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

MIAMI – Victor Oladipo got swept out of the first round of the playoffs last season by Miami, and when that series concluded he had no doubt the Heat would end up in the NBA Finals.

He was right.

And now, he’s got a chance to help them make this season’s playoff push.

Oladipo has been an offseason Miami resident, and now, he’s finally an in-season one as well. He started in his Heat debut Thursday night, helping Miami get over the .500 mark with a 116-109 win over the Golden State Warriors.

“He’s a veteran guy, he’s played in good programs on good teams, so he knows how to fit in,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think defensively, it’s extremely natural, the fit. And offensively, he gives us that downhill attack, another guy that can make plays, another guy that can put pressure on opposing defenses in the paint.”

It’s a fit that has been a long time coming.

Oladipo is close with Miami legend Dwayne Wade — Oladipo played at Indiana for Tom Crean, Wade’s coach at Marquette — and that’s just one of many hints that this pairing was inevitable. Oladipo trains in Miami, his name somehow always seems to get linked to the Heat in trade or free-agent talks, and above all else he sees himself as a fit for the Heat.

The buzzword they use in Miami is “culture.” Spoelstra often says it’s not for everybody. Oladipo has craved being a part of it.