Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Thursday, June 10, 2021
Get ready for Thursday's ESPN playoff doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• Brooklyn has won six of the eight quarters played in this series, with Milwaukee winning only the first (2) and the fourth (6) quarter of Game 1. Overall, the Nets are +15 in first quarters, +11 in second quarters, +18 in third quarters and +3 in fourth quarters.
• Entering the series, all eyes were on Brooklyn’s Big 3. But then James Harden exited after 43 seconds in Game 1 and has yet to return (he’s been ruled out for Game 3). While Kevin Durant (30.5 ppg, 55.8 FG%) and Kyrie Irving (23.5 ppg, 7.0 apg) have led the way, the non-Big 3 Nets have all stepped up. After combining for 38.2 ppg on 44% shooting and 7.6 apg in the first round against Boston, they have averaged 66 points on 48.1% shooting and 14.5 apg in two games against Milwaukee.
• Milwaukee has struggled with the 3-point shot in each of the first two games of this series (6-30 in Game 1, 8-27 in Game 2). After finishing fifth in the regular season in 3-point percentage (38.9%), Milwaukee’s percentage has steadily declined in the first round (32.7%) to the conference semifinals (24.6%). Brooklyn has done just the opposite. After finishing the regular season second at 39.2%, they improved to 42.6% in the first round and 44.4% through the first two games against the Bucks.
• The Bucks will play at home for the first time in 17 days – their last home game was Game 2 vs. Miami in the first round on May 24. Between the regular season and playoffs, the Bucks are 28-10 at home this season, averaging 120.8 points per game and shooting 49% from the field and 39.8% from beyond the arc. Can the home nets at Fiserv Forum help the Bucks turn around their 3-point shooting woes throughout the first two games of the series?
• Through the first two games of this series, the Nets have averaged 21.5 wide-open shots and have a 73.3 effective field goal percentage on those attempts. The Bucks have averaged only 12 wide-open shots and a 39.6 eFG%. During the regular season, the Bucks ranked fifth in wide-open shots (22.2 per game) and seventh in eFG% (61.4%), while the Nets ranked 26th in attempts (17.4) but second in eFG% (64.1%).
• After scoring 13 points on 5-14 shooting in the first half, Donovan Mitchell exploded for 32 points on 11-16 shooting in the second half to finish with a game-high 45 points in Utah’s Game 1 win over LA. It was Mitchell’s third straight game with at least 30 points in these playoffs – the longest active streak among players still alive in the postseason. This was Mitchell’s third game with at least 45 points in 28 career playoff games; he trails only Michael Jordan (23), LeBron James (11), Allen Iverson (7), Kobe Bryant (5) and Russell Westbrook (4) in career 45-point playoff games since 1984.
• Mitchell’s 45-point performance boosted his average to 33.8 points per game in five career playoff Game 1s. However, that scoring average has dipped to 22.2 ppg in five career Game 2s. Other than Game 1s, Mitchell has been at his beset in Game 4s (34.0 ppg in five games) and Game 6s (41.0 ppg in two games) during his playoff career.
• The Clippers bench outscored their Jazz counterparts 42-23 in Game 1, led by 18 points on 7-9 FG, 4-6 3P shooting from Luke Kennard in 29 minutes. Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson accounted for 18 of Utah’s 23 bench points as the Jazz only used a total of nine players in the series opener. LA’s bench production resembled their regular season numbers when they ranked fourth in the league at 39.4 ppg compared to 22.1 ppg in the first round against Dallas.
• On Wednesday, Rudy Gobert became the fourth player in NBA history to earn at least three Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Dwight Howard (three), Ben Wallace (four) and Dikembe Mutombo. During the regular seaosn, he defended the most field goal attempts at the rim in the NBA (549) and held opponents to 50.1 percent shooting on those shots. He’s been even better when playing against the Clippers. In four games against LA between the regular season and playoffs, Gobert has seven blocked shots and allowed only 43.5% shooting at the rim.
• In LA’s four wins in this year’s playoffs, Marcus Morris Sr. has averaged 12.8 ppg and shot 11-19 (57.9%) from 3-point range. In LA’s four losses, he’s averaged 9.5 ppg and shot 7-28 (25%) from 3-point range.