The Mavericks being up 2-0 over the Clippers is one such post-season development that sounds shocking, but in fact, it’s not completely surprising when you really think about it. Doncic is the reason. He is the best player in a series that includes Kawhi Leonard.
Honestly, what is it?
One 25-foot three-legged side step? It would be crazy if it was a buzzer, but it wasn’t. It was a simple 2-for-1 shot. A steady flow of possession. I just threw him up there like he was playing in the garden. Dude is completely crazy. The strong points are poetry.
In two first-round games, Doncic recorded 70 points, 18 assists and 17 rebounds on 51% shots, including 42% of 3. In eight career playoff games, all against the Clippers, the guy has an average of 35.0. points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists. Want to know how many other players in history upped that number in their first eight playoff games? Zero.
Even if you take out the assists and rebounds and just watch the score, please watch the company that Doncic is keeping.
Doncic has the Clippers in a torture chamber. You play him as a goalscorer, he’s arguably the best kick-out passer in the league; No one else gets so deep into the lane as steadily as Doncic, to the point where sometimes you’re sure he’s buried, only to whip a ridiculous swoon at an open shooter.
He’s so strong and faster than you might think. The game takes place in slow motion for him. It is never accelerated. He sees and operates from all angles before anyone else. It’s too much for Paul George. Ty Lue has to put Kawhi Leonard on Doncic more in Game 3, but even that isn’t a consistent response. Luka, already, is one of the few truly indefensible players in the world, and if the Clippers don’t somehow rally to win four of the next five games in this series, they’ll see him in their nightmares. for a really good time. Long time.
The Lakers were fortunate enough to come out of Phoenix with a 1-1 split. Chris Paul, who we’ll get back to shortly, is essentially playing with one arm, and that was all the Lakers could do to escape in Game 2. LeBron finished with 23 points and nine assists, but a game of this landmark production came late. . He was, for much of both games, oddly deferential in the half court, allowing Dennis Schroder to take control of the offense.
LeBron only took 16 shots in Game 2. In Game 1, he took only 13, finishing with 18 points. These are not LeBron numbers. Having said that, he hit three absolutely dirty fadeaways that need to be highlighted.
First fall out of bounds in the corner:
Then from the top of the circle:
Then in a one-point game with less than three minutes to go:
For good measure, LeBron froze the game with a 3 point:
You would think LeBron will eventually have to be better than he was in the first two games of this series if the Lakers are going to progress, especially if Paul’s shoulder situation improves, but these shots are a reminder that when it comes, he can always be the best player in the world when he needs it.
Young became Madison Square Garden’s latest villain and that’s awesome. In Game 1, Young torched the Knicks for 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, joining LeBron James, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose as the only players in history to record at least 30 points and 10 assists in the game. of his playoff debut.
Oh by the way.
Entering a more select company, Young joined Dwyane Wade as only players over the past 20+ years to achieve a winning shot with less than two seconds left in their playoff debut. You can see him silencing the 15,000 spectators at the Garden. He’s a natural villain. Small. Arrogant. Flashy. And absolutely dominant – not just as a goalscorer but as a surgical playmaker – when he rolls it.
“When you are in an area and everyone is singing FU … it got very quiet at the end” Young said in his post-match interview with the team at studio TNT. “For me, I wanted to hear those FU chants again. “
Oh, he heard the chants again.
From our Colin Ward-Henninger:
As you might expect, Knicks fans came back strong Wednesday night for Game 2, showering Young with boos and chants from start to finish. At the end of the fourth quarter, with the game firmly in New York’s favor, MSG fans resumed their ‘F – Trae Young’ chorus, and even Young couldn’t help but smile before attacking the ball. .
As Young walked back to the locker room after the final bell sounded, he turned to the enraged fans and appeared to say, “I’ll see you in the A,” referring to Friday’s Game 3 in Atlanta.
Derrick Rose, for his part, enjoys the back and forth between Young and the crowd. See it as part of the territory. They the way it should be. The way that used to be.
If you think the crowd got to Young in Game 2, think again. The Hawks may have lost, but Young certainly did his part with 30 points and seven of 4 of 7 assists from 3 points, becoming just the sixth player in league history to reach the 30-point mark in his first two playoff games.
The third game will take place on Friday. Buckle up your belt.
When I said at the top that being included in the Star Power Index isn’t necessarily a good thing, I was talking about Paul, who is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. We should be talking about a questionable top five MVP candidate giving James and the Lakers all they can handle, but instead we’re talking about Paul’s shoulder and how the playoff injury virus l almost unbelievably bit again.
From my post-match recap of Game 2:
They call it a bruise, but whatever you call it. What matters is that Paul is essentially playing with one arm. He looked like a smidge more capable with the right hand in Game 2 than he did after the injury in Game 1, when he could barely keep control of the ball, but not by much. He only took five hits. Scored six points. Played only 23 minutes. Paul is one of the best clutch players in the world, and Monty Williams couldn’t even afford to have him in the game to close the fourth quarter.
It stinks. There is no other way to tell. Paul’s chance of playoff injury, or lack thereof, has ventured into the realm of cruelty. Over the course of his career, Paul suffered a playoff injury that either severely limited his abilities or wiped him out four times. The worst was in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, when he tore his hamstrings at the end of Game 5 and was forced to miss Games 6 and 7. The Rockets lost those games, wasting their 3-2 lead and Paul’s best shot at a Title.
This season Paul and the Suns had an extraordinarily healthy campaign, but the virus bit Paul again. It’s brutal, but it’s the card he and the Suns got. We’ll all be hopeful that Paul’s condition improves before the show goes out, but right now that doesn’t look good. Unless you are a Lakers fan.
Simmons is perhaps the most polarizing player in the NBA. He doesn’t shoot. Sometimes he barely scores. Although the Sixers have a 2-0 lead over the Wizards and Simmons dominated as a defenseman, rebounder and playmaker, critics hung on to a six-point effort – with a 0 for 6 from the line. free throws – after Game 1 casually ignoring the fact that he has racked up 15 assists and 15 rebounds. Doc Rivers, as he has been doing all season, has come to Simmons’ defense.
“If you don’t know what treasure you have now then shame everyone because it has been fantastic for us,” Rivers said of Simmons. “He creates points every night for us. When Ben was on the ground we were really good… I’m amazed people can’t see what he’s doing. ”
Simmons also spoke on his own behalf.
It’s pretty hard to argue with Simmons’ point. It’s not only difficult to score 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a playoff game, it’s historic: since 1968, only five players made it, and the other four are LeBron, Fat Lever, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson. Also, as Simmons said, isn’t the point to win? To promote a positive impact that goes beyond the rating? In Game 1, Philly was over-18 in Simmons’ minutes and under-11 when seated. He must be doing something right.
In Game 2, Simmons apparently gave people what they wanted with 22 points, nine rebounds and eight of 11 of 15 assists on the field while making defensive plays like this:
None of this is to suggest that Simmons doesn’t need to remember to be aggressive as a goalscorer. Some nights he does, others he doesn’t. There will be more difficult clashes than Washington on the road for the Sixers, and non-threat from the offensive end can become crippling as playoff defenses crumble. But all in all, Simmons is playing fantastic right now, and I say that as someone who has often wondered if he is limiting Philly’s ultimate championship potential because of the same points critics tried to make after. the first game.
Morant, to me, feels like the closest thing we’ve seen to prime Derrick Rose.
The Grizzlies did their job in Utah, coming out with a Division 1-1 as the No. 8 seed. They’re going to take that all day. In Game 2, despite the loss, Morant scored 47 points (a Memphis franchise playoff record), becoming the youngest player in history to score more than 45 points in a playoff game and the second younger to score at least 45, behind only LeBron James. If you want to reduce the criteria to 40 points, look at this list that Morant has joined.
After scoring 26 points in Game 1, Morant has now scored 73 points overall in his first two playoff games. It is the second of all time.
Morant doing this as a mostly indoor goalscorer against a top level defense led the best paint / rim protector in the business to Rudy Gobert is amazing. Memphis feels right now. Donovan Mitchell is back for Utah, but the Grizzlies are feeling pretty good about where they’re heading into Game 3 on Saturday.