Playoff Assist: Tweet out your shot chart and change the game
NBA writer Zach Harper breaks down players who are assisting their teams on their playoff run. He looks at the Clippers, Pacers, and Nets.
1) Darren Collison's game-closing run keeps the Clippers in the hunt
While Chris Paul was defending the best scorer in the world, who happens to be a foot taller than him, the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers were looking to pounce with double teams and deflections. Nobody took advantage like Darren Collison, who became an opportunistic scorer when the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder players were trying to account for the stars on the court. Collison scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and 10 of those points came in the last six minutes.
Two of his three buckets came on the fast break with him sprinting ahead of a bewildered Thunder lineup. When Collison is engaged scoring wise, the Clippers are in a good place. In the 23 games this season (including playoffs) in which Collison has scored at least 15 points, LA is 20-3. If he can be opportunistic and leak out off turnovers, the Clippers may have yet another weapon the Thunder have to account for.
2) Paul George played like a superstar and the Pacers look fine because of it
The Indiana Pacers are starting to look a lot more competent than we’ve seen recently and Paul George is the one leading that charge. Roy Hibbert’s reemergence as a competent scorer and defender inside has been a big part of that, but it goes nowhere without George being the first part of that attack. In the two games the Pacers won this weekend to take control of the series, George was spectacular and the Wizards didn’t have an answer for him.
He had 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals in a dominant Game 3 Pacers performance. Then in Game 4, he went off in the second half. 28 of his 39 points came in the second half and he went 6-of-8 from 3-point range in the process. He did a brilliant job of running off screens and spotting up off of post-ups to stretch the floor for Indiana. Overall, he made 7-of-10 from downtown and had 12 rebounds to go with it. For all their struggles in the playoffs, the Pacers look alright and it’s because of George.
3) Mirza Teletovic and the 3-point shooting of the Nets keeping them alive
Just when the Brooklyn Nets looked like they weren’t going to be a formidable opponent for the Miami Heat, they found a way to bomb away from outside in Game 3 and make this series a lot more interesting. Granted, they’re not going to make 60 percent of their 3-pointers every game, but they did seem to enjoy the sight lines of their home arena a lot more than the American Airlines Arena in Miami. They hit 15-of-25 from downtown and were led by Mirza Teletovic’s 4-of-7 shooting display. and Joe Johnson going 5-of-7.
Teletovic is the catalyst though. He comes off the bench gunning and the majority of his shots in his career come from downtown. He’s such a confident shooter that after Game 2, he tweeted out his shot chart from the loss in which he hit six 3-pointers off the bench and told his fans the series isn’t over. Brooklyn shot 4-of-7 from the corners but went off above the break, making 11-of-18. Can they keep up this home shooting to even up the series? They may have to.
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