Aussie Joe a big favourite with Utah Jazz fans
AUSTRALIANS have made regular impacts on the NBA playoffs over the past few years -from Patty Mills' Game Five outburst in the 2014 finals to Matthew Dellavedova's villainous run with the Cavs.
This season it appears to be Joe Ingles turn for an unheralded rise to the spotlight as he becomes a crucial member of a Utah Jazz team hoping to go on a run.
Ingles is averaging 35 minutes per game for the Jazz in their series against the Clippers entering today's crucial game five and is coming off one of the best outings of his career in game four.
The swingman put up eight points, 11 assists and six rebounds in an all-round performance that had observers glowing - and historians remembering the Clippers' decision to cut Ingles in favour of now China-based guard Jared Cunningham in 2014.
"Even though Ingles insists there's no hard feelings, you know what they say about payback," wrote Sports Illustrated's Zachary Pereles.
"And the Clippers are experiencing it right now."
"His playing style earned him the nickname 'Slow-Mo Joe' but he fits in perfectly with Utah's plodding pace," Pereles added.
"And while Ingles will never blow by you with speed, his mental acuity is a step ahead of the competition.
"He sees the floor very well and has become one of the Jazz's best facilitators. Ingles might be one of the league's most unconventional playmakers, but he's a vital cog in the Jazz's scheme, leading the team with 5.3 assists per game during the playoffs."
SB Nation described Ingles as a "willing passer, deft decision-maker and dead-eye shooter" in the wake of his game four heroics.
"The Jazz have a promising young group mixed with proven veterans and two stars in Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert.
"And thanks to Clippers' blunder years ago, it looks like the Australian forward will carve out a lengthy career with the Jazz," wrote Kristian Winfield.
"That has to sting for (Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc) Rivers."
USA Today poked fun at Ingles' appearance while hailing his influence.
"Joe Ingles looks like the former Division II offensive lineman who slimmed down by playing pickup basketball at your YMCA after work. But Joe Ingles is a starter for one of the best teams in the NBA, the Utah Jazz. Really ... " wrote Adi Joseph.
"He's in the NBA because he does everything anyone asks of him well. And now everyone knows it."