Chris Paul vs. Dallas
Below is a breakdown of the matchup data for Chris Paul on offense against all Dallas defenders through the first two games of the conference semifinals. Look at the difference in Paul’s scoring against the two players that defend him for the most time (Reggie Bullock and Spencer Dinwiddie) compared to the Mavericks’ bigs (Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber) that are forced to defend Paul with switches.
|Who guarded Chris Paul in Game 2?|
|MATCH UP||TIME||PTS||TEAM PTS||AST||TOV||FGM||FGA||FG%|
- Paul vs. Bullock and Dinwiddie: 11:26 matchup time, 13 points, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 4-6 FG, 1-2 3P, 4-4 FT
- Paul vs. Powell and Kleber: 2:34 matchup time, 18 points, 3 assists, 0 turnovers, 8-9 FG, 1-1 3P, 1-1 FT
In addition to his success against the Dallas bigs in pick-and-roll, Paul also looked to score when matched up with Luka Doncic on the perimeter. In just 2:47 of matchup time with Doncic through the first two games, Paul has 10 field goal attempts; compare that to the six total field goal attempts in 11:26 of combined matchup time against either Bullock or Dinwiddie.
“There’s no secret, they’re going to put him in every pick-and-roll,” Jason Kidd said on Phoenix targeting Doncic defensively.
"He's got to play defense. There's no secret. They're going to put him in every pick-and-roll."
Jason Kidd on Luka Dončić getting hunted on defense.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 6, 2022
Paul finished with 28 points in Phoenix’s Game 2 on Wednesday. It was his fourth time scoring at least 28 points in eight games this postseason after never scoring more than 27 points in 65 games during the regular season. Paul shot 11-for-16 from the field, 1-for-2 from 3-point range and 5-for-5 on free throws and scored those 11 field goals against six different defenders. As the play breakdown below illustrates, Doncic was a frequent target for Paul and the Suns in the second half.
|Chris Paul’s shooting in Game 2|
|17′ Pullup Jump shot||Dwight Powell (Doncic screened)||2||5:48|
|5′ Driving Floating Jump Shot||Spencer Dinwiddie||2||0:27|
|7′ Fadeaway Jump Shot||Dwight Powell (Brunson screened)||3||9:27|
|9′ Fadeaway Jump Shot||Spencer Dinwiddie||3||3:56|
|19′ Step Back Jump shot||Luka Doncic||3||2:46|
|25′ 3-Point Jump Shot||Jalen Brunson||4||10:58|
|2′ Driving Layup Shot||Luka Doncic (Kleber help)||4||9:42|
|15′ Pullup Jump shot||Maxi Kleber||4||9:10|
|17′ Driving Floating Jump Shot||Reggie Bullock||4||8:05|
|11′ Pullup Jump shot||Luka Doncic||4||7:27|
|2′ Driving Layup Shot||Luka Doncic||4||7:04|
Facing a 2-0 deficit as the series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Friday (9:30 ET, ESPN), the Mavericks have to come up with a solution to prevent Paul from getting the matchups he wants and dissecting their defense. Can Dallas force him away from his favorite spots and into more difficult shots, or try to force the ball out of his hands by blitzing the pick-and-roll?
Ja Morant vs. Golden State
Which Golden State Warriors defender has Ja Morant scored the most points against through the first two games of the conference semifinals? If you selected Draymond Green allowing 18 points in 2:27 of matchup time, you are correct. Here’s the full breakdown.
|Who guarded Ja Morant in Game 2?|
|MATCH UP||TIME||PTS||TEAM PTS||AST||TOV||BLK||FGM||FGA||FG%|
|Gary Payton II||4:21||5||22||1||1||1||2||6||33.3|
|Otto Porter Jr.||1:27||5||8||1||0||0||2||5||40|
Look at the difference in shot attempts and shooting percentage against Andrew Wiggins, Gary Payton II, Stephen Curry and Otto Porter compared to Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole. Morant is shooting 10-for-31 (32.3%) in 19:03 of total matchup time against the former group and 19-for-28 (67.9%) in 9:03 of total matchup time against the latter group. That’s nine more shots made in 10 fewer minutes.
In fairness to Green, we have to look at when his matchup time with Morant comes into play. As we take a closer look at Morant’s 15 made field goals from Game 2 — when he scored a playoff-high 47 points, including 15 in the clutch, to lead the Grizzlies to a 106-101 win — Green was often engaging Morant as a help defender once Morant had already beaten his primary perimeter defender off the dribble. Trying to slow down Morant once he gets into the paint — he led the NBA with 16.6 points in the paint per game this season — is extremely difficult, especially when your defense begins when he has a full head of steam going to the rim.
|Ja Morant’s shooting in Game 2|
|24′ Step Back 3-Point Jump Shot||Draymond Green (transition)||1||11:15|
|24′ 3-Point Jump Shot||Andrew Wiggins||1||5:54|
|12′ Driving Floating Jump Shot||Damion Lee||1||4:57|
|1′ Driving Finger Roll Layup Shot||Jordan Poole||1||0:59|
|15′ Pullup Jump shot||Draymond Green||2||2:59|
|3′ Running Dunk Shot||Klay Thompson (transition)||2||1:25|
|4′ Driving Floating Bank Jump Shot||Klay Thompson (Green help)||2||0:11|
|26′ Step Back 3-Point Jump shot||Andrew Wiggins||3||11:18|
|26′ Pullup 3-Point Jump shot||Jonathan Kuminga||3||1:51|
|1′ Driving Layup Shot||Stephen Curry (Green help)||4||6:11|
|1′ Driving Finger Roll Layup Shot||Klay Thompson (Wiggins screened)||4||4:16|
|2′ Driving Layup Shot||Klay Thompson (Green help)||4||3:34|
|26′ Step Back 3-Point Jump shot||Klay Thompson||4||2:28|
|7′ Driving Floating Jump Shot||Jordan Poole||4||1:42|
|9′ Driving Floating Jump Shot||Andrew Wiggins||4||0:30|
As the series shifts to Golden State for Game 3 on Saturday (8:30 ET, ABC), the Warriors face an additional challenge with Payton out for the remainder of the series with a fractured elbow suffered in the first quarter of Game 2. Payton was inserted into the starting lineup for this series to be one of the primary defenders on Morant. After guarding him for 3:44 in Game 1 – splitting the task almost evenly with Wiggins (3:55 matchup time with Morant), Payton defended him for just 37 seconds in his 2:52 on court before leaving Game 2.
Bam Adebayo vs. Philadelphia
Bam Adebayo has been dominant in Miami’s first two games of the conference semifinals against the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers. Adebayo leads the Heat in points (23.5 ppg) and rebounds (10.5 rpg), while shooting 71.4% (15-21) from the field — the highest field goal percentage among the 50 players that have attempted more than 10 shots in the conference semis.
When we look at Adebayo’s offensive matchup data, we see impressive efficiency against both DeAndre Jordan (15 points on 6-for-7 FG, 3-for-3 FT in 13:16 of matchup time) and Tobias Harris (13 points 6-for-7 FG, 1-for-2 FT in just 5:17 of matchup time).
Paul Reed has forced Bam into three of his six missed field goal attempts in this series so far, but has also committed four shooting fouls against Adebayo, which has led to seven of his nine points in the matchup.
|Who guarded Bam Adebayo in Games 1 and 2?
|MATCH UP||TIME||PTS||TEAM PTS||FGM||FGA||FG%||FTM||FTA||SFL|
Again, let’s look at the numbers and spot the mismatches as Game 3 of the series on Friday nears (7 ET, ESPN). In 25:16 of combined matchup time against Philly’s bigs — Jordan and Reed — Adebayo has attempted 11 shots and scored 24 points. In just 9:46 of matchup time against either Harris or James Harden, Adebayo has attempted 12 shots and scored 20 points.
Jaylen Brown vs. Milwaukee
After being held to 12 points in Boston’s Game 1 loss, Jaylen Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter of Game 2, had 25 at the half on 9-10 shooting and finished with 30 points for the game as the Celtics evened the series with a 109-86 win.
Not only was there a significant difference in Brown’s scoring between Games 1 and 2, but there were also some key differences in which Bucks defenders he was matched up against.
|Who guarded Jaylen Brown in Game 1?|
In Game 1, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the primary defender on Brown, guarding him for a team-high 3:48 of matchup time (just over a quarter of Brown’s offensive matchup time). Antetokounmpo allowed only two points on 1-4 shooting, including 0-2 from 3-point range.
|Who guarded Jaylen Brown in Game 2?|
In Game 2, Jrue Holiday was Brown’s primary defender for nearly half of Brown’s offensive matchup time, defending him for a team-high 7:58. Holiday allowed seven points on 3-6 shooting as well as three assists. Meanwhile, in under a minute of matchup time with Lopez, Brown made three 3-pointers in four attempts for 11 points of his 30 points. As the table below shows, the Bucks had no answer for Brown in Game 2 as he went a perfect 6-6 when being defended by Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen, Wesley Matthews or Pat Connaughton.
When the series resumes on Saturday in Milwaukee (3:30 ET, ABC), how will the Bucks account for Brown’s offense, while also having to deal with Jayson Tatum on the other wing, who leads the Celtics in scoring through the first two games at 25 points per game?