With the Conference Finals kicking off for both the East and the West, we’re here to break down the top news and notes that we have from the NBA’s recent stretch.
The End of The Process?
With a disappointing Philadelphia 76ers Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the #1 seed 76ers are out of the playoffs, and many fans, players, and even coaches are demoralized by the failure to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Joel Embiid played well all series, pouring his heart out on the court while playing with a meniscus tear, while Seth Curry stepped up in huge ways to deliver for the struggling 76ers offensively. However, the biggest story remains to be how the other two members of the 76ers Big Three had played.
Tobias Harris, while putting up a fair effort, was extremely inefficient from the field and even had a 4 points game in their Game 5 loss. Harris did not play to standards, but it is Ben Simmons who takes the cake for the biggest disappointment. While we know that Ben Simmons doesn’t like to shoot jump shots, most of the public was unaware that he is even scared to take a lay-up. In the last three games of the series, Ben Simmons attempted 0 field goals in the 4th quarter. For a guy who is getting paid 38 million a year, that is absolutely criminal and not going to work if this team wants to eventually win a championship. The 76ers have a lot to figure out right now and not a lot of time.
Playoff P Chokes at the Line
Paul George has been sensational in these playoffs after the departure of Kawhi Leonard from the line-up due to a knee injury. Unfortunately, that sensation did not carry far into Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, as George had an all-time choke in the final minutes.
With 22 seconds left in the game, George nailed a huge shot to give the team a one-point lead and, following a miss by Phoenix, was fouled and went to the line with 8 seconds left. Instead of giving his team a more comfortable 3 point lead, he misses both free throws, and the Suns are able to get down the court and shoot the ball. Unfortunately, it missed, but the ball went out of bounds off the Clippers with 0.9 seconds left, and the Suns had little time to win this contest. Jae Crowder lobs it up to Deandre Ayton, who finishes on Ivica Zubac’s head to win the game for Phoenix. The Clippers tried arguing that it was a goaltend, but with it being a live ball, Ayton is allowed to touch it at any point and complete the dunk.
This is another brutal blow to Paul George’s reputation as an elite NBA star and another reminder of why this Suns team is truly something special. Hopefully, the Clippers can recover in this series, but with Chris Paul likely to return as soon as the next game, time is running out for George and his Clippers to make a statement.