2021 NBA Playoffs
Tune-In Tidbits: ABC/TNT Sunday, June 20, 2021
Get ready for Sunday's playoff action - Game 1 of the West Finals on ABC and Game 7 of the East Semifinals on TNT - with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• With their dramatic win over Utah in Game 6 on Friday, the Clippers advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in the franchise’s 50-year history, while also becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome multiple 0-2 deficits in the same postseason. On the other end of the spectrum, this is Phoenix’s 10th appearance in the West Finals, albeit the Suns’ first appearance since 2010. The Suns are tied with OKC/Seattle for the third-most West Finals appearances in history behind only the Lakers and Spurs.
• The Suns enter the Western Conference Finals riding a franchise-record seven-game playoff win streak. The last time any team won more than seven straight games in a single postseason was the 2017 Warriors, who own 15 in a row en route to capturing the NBA title. During this current Suns’ win streak, Devin Booker is averaging 27.9 points while posting 51.9%-40.4%-90.5% shooting splits.
• Both the Suns and Clippers will be missing an All-Star for at least Game 1 in this series. Phoenix’s Chris Paul (health and safety protocols) has averaged 15.7 points and 8.7 assists in this playoffs and averaged 18.7 ppg and 6.3 apg in three games against LA this season. LA’s Kawhi Leonard (knee) ranks sixth in this year’s playoffs in scoring (30.4 ppg) and ninth in field goal percentage (57.3%), but averaged just 21 ppg on 34.1% shooting in two games against Phoenix this season.
• The Clippers won season series 2-1 (wins on Jan. 3 in PHX and April 8 in LA, loss on April 28 in PHX). LA was one of only three teams to win season series with the Suns (Brooklyn 0-2, Denver 1-2 being the other two) this season as Phoenix finished with the second-best record in the NBA (51-21).
• Paul George averaged a team-high 32.3 ppg in three games against the Suns during the regular season. He shot 56.3% (36-64) from the field, 60.7% (17-28) from 3-point range, while adding 6.7 boards and 3.7 assists. The 32.3 ppg was George’s highest scoring average against any team he faced more than once this season and third highest overall behind Cleveland and Houston.
• This will be the 14th Game 7 in Hawks history (and seventh since moving to Atlanta in 1968). The Hawks are 4-9 in Game 7s all-time, but have never won a Game 7 on the road in nine tries; they will need to buck that trend and get a win in Philadelphia to advance to the East Finals. Atlanta’s last Game 7 was on May 3, 2014 (loss to Indiana in first round); Atlanta’s last Game 7 win came on May 2, 2010 (vs. Milwaukee in first round).
• The Sixers have much more recent Game 7 history as their last Game 7 came in the 2019 Conference Semifinals against the eventual champion Toronto Raptors as Kawhi Leonard hit the game-winning buzzer-beater to end Philadelphia’s season. The Sixers are 6-10 overall in Game 7 (which includes a 1-2 mark as the Syracuse Nationals in the 1950s; they are 5-8 since moving to Philly). The Sixers’ last Game 7 win came on June 3, 2001 as the Sixers beat the Bucks in the East Finals to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1983.
• Joel Embiid and Trae Young have not only led their teams throughout this series, they are tied for fourth in scoring during the Conference Semifinals at 30.3 points per game each. Both are averaging double-doubles as Embiid has collected 13.0 rpg (2nd in round) and Young has dished out 11.0 apg (1st in round). They also rank 1-2 in both free throws made and attempted, with Embiid leading both categories. Young has led (or tied) the Hawks in scoring and assists in each of Atlanta’s 11 playoff games, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is tied with LeBron James (2018) for the longest such streak in a single postseason sine the debut of the shot clock in 1954-55.
• Bogdan Bogdanovic left Friday’s Game 6 loss in the fourth quarter with right knee soreness and did not return and his status for Game 7 remains unknown. Bogdanovic is Atlanta’s second-leading scorer in the playoffs (14.6 ppg) and leads the Hawks in on-court/off-court differential. During the playoffs, the Hawks have outscored their opponents by 54 points in Bogdanovic’s 387 minutes on the court and been outscored by 46 points in his 141 minutes off the court.
• Seth Curry continued his hot shooting in Game 6 as he finished tied for the team-high with 24 points on 8-14 (57.1%) shooting from the field and 6-9 (66.7%) from 3-point range. For the series, Curry is shooting 61.5% from the field and 59.6% from beyond the arc. How good are those numbers? Curry ranks second in FG% in the Conference Semifinals among the 39 players with at least 40 field goal attempts in this round. Curry ranks first in 3P% among the 43 players with at 15 3-point attempts in the Conference Semifinals.