2021 NBA Playoffs
Tune-In Tidbits: TNT/ESPN Saturday, May 29, 2021
Get ready for a full day of playoff action with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• The Bucks look to complete the sweep on Saturday after winning the first three games by an average of 21.7 points. Milwaukee has the top-ranked defense in the playoffs, allowing only 93.2 points per 100 possessions in this series.
• Milwaukee has outscored Miami by 88 points in 107 minutes with Jrue Holiday on the court through the first three games; that is 34 points higher than second-ranked Khris Middleton at plus-54.
• After averaging 23.4 points on 53.2-45.5-85.2 shooting splits in Miami’s five-game series win over Milwaukee in 2020, Jimmy Butler has been held to 15.2 ppg on 30.6-30.8-66.7 shooting splits through three games in 2021.
• Giannis Antetokounmpo (16:38) and P.J. Tucker (10:08) have been the primary defenders on Butler in this series. Butler has five points on 2-for-9 shooting against Giannis and seven points on 1-for-11 shooting (4-for-5 free throws) against Tucker.
• This matchup features two of the top four scorers in the playoffs in Damian Lillard (37.7 ppg, 2nd) and Nikola Jokic (36.0, 4th). Neither Lillard (34, 42, 37) nor Jokic (34, 38, 36) has scored fewer than 34 points in a game this series.
• Through the first three games of the series, the team that has won the first quarter has gone on to win each game: Portland up 35-30 after first quarter in Game 1, won the game 123-09; Denver up 31-25 after first in Game 2, won the game 128-109; Denver up 39-30 after first in Game 3, won the game 120-115. While Portland’s Game 1 win featured three lead changes and 10 ties, Denver’s wins in Games 2 and 3 had a combined three lead changes on three ties.
• Both the Nuggets and Blazers are averaging 15.0 wide-open shots per game, where the closest defender is at least six feet away from the shooter. Denver has an effective field goal percentage of 73.3% on its wide-open looks (second highest among playoff teams), while the Blazers are shooting 62.2% (eighth among playoff teams).
• The Blazers continue to limit Nikola Jokic’s playmaking opportunities. Through three games, he is averaging only 3.7 assists on 9.7 assist opportunities and creating 10 points per game off his assists. During the regular season, Jokic averaged 8.3 assists on 13.8 opportunities for 20.7 points per game. Jokic’s usage rate has jumped from 29.3 in the regular season to 35.6 in the playoffs.
• Damian Lillard is already the second-leading scorer in Portland’s franchise history in the regular season behind Clyde Drexler. Lillard needs 52 points to pass Terry Porter (1,527) and become Portland’s second-leading playoff scorer as well, once again behind only Drexler (2,015).
• Joel Embiid leads the Sixers in plus/minus in this seres — Philadelphia has outscored Washington by 39 points with Embiid on the court — but does not lead the Sixers in any of the five traditional box score categories: points (Tobias Harris, 28.0 ppg), rebounds (Simmons, 12.0 rpg), assists (Simmons, 11.5 apg), steals (Matisse Thybulle, 3.0 spg) and blocks (Thybulle, 3.5 bpg).
• Between the final nine games of the regular season and two games in the Play-In Tournament, the Wizards entered the playoffs averaging 126.6 points in the month of May. However, in two playoff games against Philadelphia, they have averaged just 106.5 points.
• The Sixers have won seven straight games over the Wizards, dating back to December 2019. Philadelphia won the final two games of the 2019-20 regular season series, swept all three games of the 2020-21 regular season series, and now leads 2-0 in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. The seven-game winning streak is tied for Philadelphia fourth-longest against any opponent, trailing only winning streaks against New York (15), Charlotte (14) and Minnesota (8).
• The Sixers have averaged 20.5 deflections through the first two games of the seres (4.2 more deflections per game than any other playoff team). Those deflections have helped the Sixers average a playoff-high 10 steals and 15.0 points off turnovers.
• After missing Game 1, Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 25 points for the Jazz on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and 5-for-10 from 3-point range. In 3:20 of matchup time against Dillon Brooks, Mitchell scored 13 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting — all from 3-point range — including a four-point play.
• Ja Morant’s 47-point performance in Game 2 was not only a playoff career-high for the second-year guard, but the most points he’s scored in any NBA game. Morant shot 15-for-26 from the field and 15-for-20 from the free throw line; the last player to make at least 15 field goals and 15 free throws in a playoff game was Donovan Mitchell on Aug. 23, 2020 against Denver. Since 1984, only four other players have such a playoff game: Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan (twice).
• The Grizzlies ranked seventh in the league in assists percentage during the regular season, assisting on 62.8% of their made baskets. Through the first two games of this series, their assist percentage has dropped to 41.8%, which is the lowest of any team in the playoffs.
• The Grizzlies are tied with the Clippers for the fewest turnovers per game in the playoffs (10.0), with Utah averaging just 8.5 points off turnovers (15th out of 16 playoff teams) through the first two games of the series. The Grizzlies rank third in points off turnovers (18.0) as the Jazz have averaged 14.5 turnovers per game (5th highest out of 16 playoff teams).
• Mike Conley finished with 20 points, 15 assists and only two turnovers in Utah’s Game 2 win. The last player to put together such a game in the playoffs was Russell Westbrook on April 23, 2016 in OKC’s win over Dallas. Since 1984, nine players have had a playoff game with at least 20 points and 15 assists while committing less than three turnovers; Magic Johnson (5), Chris Paul (2) and Isiah Thomas (2) are the only players with multiple games.