Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Get ready for a pair of Game 5s Wednesday on TNT with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
• The amount of time Ben Simmons has defended Trae Young has increased with each game of the series (1:28 in Game 1, 5:11 in Game 2, 6:50 in Game 3 and 7:07 in Game 4). Simmons got the better of the matchup in the first three games, holding Young to 14 points on 5-11 FG, 0-3 3P, 4-4 FT with eight assists and one turnover in 13:39 of combined matchup time. Young had his best game against Simmons in Game 4, finishing with 14 points (matching his previous three games combined) on 6-12 shooting, eight assists and zero turnovers in 7:07 of matchup time.
• Trae Young finished with 25 points, a playoff career-high 18 assists and just two turnovers in Atlanta’s Game 4 win. The last player with at least 18 assists and two turnovers or less in a playoff game was Tony Parker (May 21, 2013); the last player to do it while also scoring at least 25 points was Tim Hardaway (May 14, 1991). As a team, the Hawks committed just four turnovers in the game – their lowest total in a playoff game since the NBA began tracking turnovers in 1970-71.
• Despite spending some time in the locker room during the second quarter due to his injured knee, Joel Embiid finished the first half with a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), while shooting 4-8 from the field, making his only 3-point attempt and all four of his free throws as the Sixers led by 13 points. The second half was a different story as Embiid shot 0-12 from the field, including three 3-point attempts and scored just four points, all from the free-throw line. After having two days off between Games 2 and 3 and Games 3 and 4, there is only one day off before Game 5. In two games on one day of rest in the playoffs, Embiid has averaged 24 points on 48.4% shooting while playing only 23 minutes per game.
• The Sixers blew an 18-point lead in Game 4, which is uncharacteristic for Philly this season. During the regular season, the Sixers were 37-2 when leading by 16-20 points; in the playoffs they were 5-0 before Game 4.
• The Hawks finished Game 4 with a 21-9 advantage in second-chance points thanks to a 12-8 edge in offensive rebounds. Over the past two games, Atlanta has scored 41 second-chance points to Philadelphia’s 23. These two teams were evenly matched in the regular season as Atlanta finished fourth in the league (14.3 second chance ppg) and Philadelphia finished fifth (13.9).
• Kawhi Leonard and Paul George each scored at least 30 points in Games 3 and 4 to help the Clippers get back into the series. Leonard and George became just the fifth duo since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77 to accomplish that feat – the most recent instance was LeBron James and Kyrie Irving during the 2017 NBA Finals (also Games 3 and 4). Leonard and George had only one other game this season (regular season and playoffs combined) where they each scored 30 or more (Feb. 23 vs. Washington). Leonard and George have each scored at least 20 points in all 11 games so far this postseason; the only other duos to accomplish that are Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant (2003) and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor (1962).
• That streak could end on Wednesday as Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 due to a knee injury. While Kawhi has played in each of LA’s first 11 playoff games, he missed 20 games during the regular season with the Clippers going 11-9 in those games. Of the 20 games that Kawhi missed, Paul George played in 11 of those games and averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists over 33.8 minutes, while shooting 44.4% from the field and 32.6% from 3-point range. George had six 30-point games and four double-doubles over those 11 games as the Clippers went 6-5 with George and without Kawhi.
• With 37 points in Utah’s Game 4 loss to LA, Donovan Mitchell extended his streak of 30-point playoff games to six in a row, tying Karl Malone for the longest streak in Jazz history (May 3, 1995 – April 29, 1996). While Mitchell has a ways to go to challenge Elgin Baylor’s all-time mark of 11 straight 30-point games, if he gets 30 or more in Game 5 and pushes the streak to seven, he puts himself in some elite company.
Most consecutive games, 30 or more points
- 11*: Elgin Baylor, L.A. Lakers, March 27, 1962 — April 18, 1962
- 9*: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee, March 25, 1970 — April 19, 1970
- 9: Bob McAdoo, Buffalo, April 12, 1974 — April 15, 1976
- 8*: Elgin Baylor, L.A. Lakers, April 7, 1963 — April 21, 1963
- 8: Michael Jordan, Chicago, April 23, 1987 — May 8, 1988
- 8: Michael Jordan, Chicago, June 9, 1993 — April 30, 1995
- 8*: LeBron James, Cleveland, April 20 — May 19, 2017
- 7*: Jerry West, L.A. Lakers, April 3, 1966 — April 17, 1966
- 7*: Rick Barry, San Francisco, April 12, 1967 — April 24, 1967
- 7: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston, May 30, 1995 — April 25, 1996
- 7: Shaquille O’Neal, L.A. Lakers, May 31, 2002 — April 20, 2003
- 7*: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, March 22, 1962 — April 3, 1962
*all games of streak in a single postseason
• After shooting 1-16 from 3-point range in the first three games of the series, Marcus Morris Sr. found his long-range shot in Game 4 as he made five out of six attempts on his way to matching his playoff career-high of 24 points. Morris’ 3-point shot has been a barometer for LA’s success throughout the postseason. In LA’s six wins he is shooting 16-27 (59.3%) from beyond the arc; in LA’s five losses, he’s shooting just 7-33 (21.2%).
• The second quarter has been Donovan Mitchell time in this series as he is averaging 13.3 points on 58.1% (18-31) shooting from the field and 61.1% (11-18) from 3-point range, while averaging just 8.5 minutes in the period. Mitchell leads all players in scoring in the conference semifinals (37.3 ppg) with 35.6% of those points coming in the second quarter alone.