2021 NBA Playoffs
Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Friday, June 18, 2021
Get ready for a pair of Game 6s on ESPN Friday with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• The Hawks have overcome deficits of 18 points and 26 points to win Games 4 and 5, respectively. Over those two games, Atlanta has outscored Philadelphia 123-82 in the second half. In the time, the Hawks have been led by Trae Young with 42 points, 15 assists and just two turnovers; while he hasn’t shot well from the field (12-29 FG, 3-12 3P), he’s been a perfect 15-15 at the free throw line. Lou Williams has added 20 points on 9-13 FG.
• For the Sixers, Seth Curry has scored 29 of their 82 points in the second halves of the past two games, shooting 11-15 (73.3%) from the field and 4-7 (57.1%) from 3-point range. The rest of the team has combined to shoot just 13-54 (24.1%) from the field and 5-22 (22.7%) from beyond the arc. Joel Embiid has scored 17 points, with 10 coming at the free throw line as he’s shot just 3-21 from the field.
• Through five games in this series, every Hawks starter has a negative plus/minus: -54 for Clint Capela, -31 for Trae Young, -24 for Bogdan Bogdanovic, -23 for Kevin Huerter (2 starts), -20 for Solomon Hill (3 starts) and -18 for John Collins. The only three Hawks with a positive plus/minus have all come off the bench: +33 for Lou Williams, +27 for Danilo Gallinari and +17 for Onyeka Okongwu. Atlanta’s bench players have scored 174 points through five games (most of any team in this round), compared to 135 for the Sixers’ reserves.
• The Sixers have been 35.3 points per 100 possessions better with Joel Embiid on the court (+14.7 net rating in 182 minutes) than when he’s off the court (-20.6 net rating in 58 minutes). Over the past two games that mark has been even higher (43.2 differential) as the Sixers outscored the Hawks by 11 in Embiid’s 76 minutes on court to being outscored by 17 in just 20 minutes with Embiid off court.
• All three Hawks wins have featured clutch time – score inside five points in the final five minutes. Trae Young is tied with Kevin Durant for the most clutch points in the conference semifinals with 13 points in nine minutes. Young has shot 2-5 from the field, but done most of his damage at the line, making all nine of his free throws. Joel Embiid has been Philly’s top target in the clutch; he has seven points, but has shot just 1-6 from the field as he’s also scored most of his points at the free throw line (5-7).
• With the series tied 2-2, the Clippers entered Game 5 on the road against the league’s best home team (Utah was 35-6 at home in the regular season and playoffs combined) without All-Star Kawhi Leonard (knee) and still came away with a 119-111 victory thanks to a superb game from Paul George (37 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists). This was George’s second career playoff game with at least 35-15-5, but the first time any player from the Clippers had reached those marks in the postseason.
• In addition to George, the Clippers got key contributions from starters Marcus Morris Sr. (25 points, 10-16 FG, 3-4 3P) and Reggie Jackson (22 points. 8-15 FG, 3-8 3P). After matching his playoff career-high in Game 4, Morris topped it in Game 5; over the past two games he has shot 8-10 from 3-point range after going just 1-16 in the first three games of the series combined.
• Donovan Mitchell saw his six-game streak of 30-point games snapped on Wednesday as he finished with 21 points on 6-19 shooting. With Kawhi Leonard out, Terance Mann was the primary defender on Mitchell for a team-high 4:14 (35.6% of Mitchell’s offensive time) and held Mitchell to three points on 1-3 shooting (all 3-point attempts), four assists and one turnover. Prior to Game 5, Mann had defended Mitchell for only 2:21 in the series and allowed six points on 1-5 FG, 1-3 3P and 3-3 FT, with zero assists and one turnover.
• The Jazz shot 17-30 (56.7%) from 3-point range during the first half of Game 5 – one shy of the NBA Playoff record for most 3-pointers in a single half. But after being on fire from beyond the arc in the first 24 minutes, the second half was a different story as they shot just 3-24 (12.5%) from 3-point range. This was Utah’s fourth loss in 19 games this season when they finished with at least 20 3-pointers made; no other team has more than 11 such games.
• After winning the first two games of this series, the Jazz have lost three straight and will look to avoid their first four-game losing streak since February of last year (Feb. 21-26, 2020). The Jazz have not lost four straight games in a single postseason since being swept by the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals.