Tune-In Tidbits: ABC/TNT Sunday, June 13, 2021
Get ready for a pair of Game 4s on Sunday with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• Looking to avoid a 3-0 deficit and the history that comes with it (no team has won a series down 3-0 in 141 tries in league history), the Bucks earned an 86-83 win in the lowest-scoring game of the 2021 NBA Playoffs – ironically coming from the two teams that led the NBA in scoring during the regular season (Milwaukee 120.1 ppg, Brooklyn 118.6 ppg).
• Giannis Antetokounmpo (33) and Khris Middleton (35) combined for 68 of Milwaukee’s 86 points in the win; they set the mark for the highest percentage of team points scored by a pair of teammates (79.1%) in playoff history. Giannis (14-for-31) and Middleton (12-for-25) accounted for 26 of Milwaukee’s 34 made field goals in Game 3; they scored all 30 of Milwaukee’s points in the first quarter, 17 of 22 in the third and 15 of 19 in the fourth quarter.
• Even with James Harden only playing 43 seconds in the series (he is out for Game 4 as well), the Nets’ offense was still able to put up plenty of points in the first two games of the series (averaging 120 ppg). However, in Game 3, the Nets were held to 83 points – their lowest-scoring playoff game since May 8, 2014 (82 points at Miami). The Nets got 52 points on a combined 20-for-50 (40%) shooting from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but just 31 points on 14-for-44 (31.8%) shooting from the rest of the team. Joe Harris struggled with his shot (1-11 FG, 1-7 3P) and the Nets got a total of seven points from their bench on a combined 3-for-11 FG.
• In Game 3, Giannis Antetokounmpo shot 13-for-23 on 2-point shots and 1-for-8 on 3-point shots. He is shooting just 3-for-16 (18.8%) from beyond the arc in the series, but his 3-point woes go back to the first round against Miami (1-for-16 over four games) and even his final six games of the regular season (2-for-14). Over his past 13 games since May 5, Giannis has shot just 6-for-46 (13.0%) from 3-point range with Game 3’s eight 3-point attempts being his highest mark since the slump began. During this stretch (final six of regular season and all playoffs combined), Giannis has shot 0-for-11 on open 3s (closest defender within 4-6 feet) and 6-for-34 on wide open 3s (closest defender 6+ feet away); he has attempted only one 3-pointer with a defender within four feet.
• Kevin Durant finished Game 3 with a team-high 30 points, but shot just 11-for-28 (39.3%) from the field, marking the first time he been held below 40% shooting in a playoff game since May 31, 2018, snapping a streak of 22 straight games shooting 40% or better. Since the 1984 playoffs, Durant has three of the longest streaks of shooting 40% or better: 22 games (tied-10th), 27 games (tied-5th) and 29 games (3rd). All that is to say, don’t expect another subpar shooting night from Durant in Game 4.
• Kia MVP Nikola Jokic put up a historical statline in Game 3, finishing with 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in Denver’s 116-102 loss. The only other players in NBA history to post a 30-20-10 playoff game are Kareem-Abdul Jabbar (39-23-11) in 1970 and Wilt Chamberlain (37-27-11) in 1967. Wilt was the only player to win when posting those incredible numbers.
• Through the first three games of the series, Chris Paul is shooting 12-for-19 (63.2%) from mid-range, 6-for-8 (75%) from 3-point range and just 5-for-13 (38.5%) from inside the paint. Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant (15-for-29, 51.7%) is the only other player in this round to make more mid-range shots than Paul’s dozen.
• The Nuggets will need to defy the odd and make postseason history for the second straight year if they hope to rally and advance to the Conference finals. Last year, the Nuggets became the first team in playoff history to overcome multiple 3-1 deficits in the same postseason as they recorded just the 12th and 13th comebacks ever. Including this postseason, teams leading 3-1 have gone on to win the series 95.1% of the time (251-13). The Nuggets face even steeper odds now as no team has ever come back after being down 3-0 (0-141).
• The Suns enter Game 4 having won six straight games — tied for the longest playoff win streak in team history (April 26-May 9, 2010). During the winning streak, the Suns have averaged 114.8 points and won by an average of 17.8 points. They have been led by Devin Booker’s 26.8 points on 53.7% shooting, Chris Paul’s 16.7 points and 10.2 assists and Deandre Ayton’s 12.5 points and 10.3 rebounds.
• Through the first three games of the series there have been only five ties and seven lead changes combined as the Suns have won eight of the 12 quarters played; there have been two ties and two quarters won by Denver by a combined seven points. The Suns have dominated the third quarters, winning by a combined 29 points over the first three games; the are plus-14 in both the first and fourth quarters, while Denver is plus-one in the second.