In a post-season featuring six distinct 40-10 games by Giannis Antitocompo, all-timers against Jim Morant’s three-time champions and Jimmy Butler reaching terrific new heights, the real best game of the playoffs could be Chris Paul’s game. 6 gems against New Orleans. Due to Devin Booker’s hamstring injury, the Pelicans had eight more seeds than most basketball geniuses expected, and the Sun probably had to dig deeper than planned to send them. Paul made a perfect game in Closeout Game 6 of New Orleans, shooting a perfect 14-for-14, and ending the Pelicans’ season with the biggest perfect shooting game since Wilt Chamberlain. With the exception of Booker, the Sun needed this kind of production from their other Star Guards, and once Booker’s injury healed, he and Paul showed how great they could be together as they led the Sun to two wins against the Mavericks. Then Paul turned 37 and everything changed.
Since winning that Game 2, Paul has had four terrible performances since the Mavs out-adjusted the Phoenix and pushed the series to a Game 7. After averaging 14.8 shots per game through the first eight games of the playoffs, Paul has picked up only seven per game. Since then. How much this depends on a related statistic, the Suns Midrange-Heavy Crime Booker and Paul Generate and Nail Shot. If Paul scoring is not a threat, the opponent is given the initiative to blitz or double or trap the Phoenix ballhandlers. Another ominous numerical sign that something is not right is Paul’s strange inability to get to the free-throw line. He is the most infamous producer of free throws singles in the entire NBA and is preparing to make a smart flop in every single possession. This makes it difficult to protect him. But Paul made two free throw shots last night, and this is his only freebie attempt since Game 2. He turned the ball 18 times, made 17 fouls and made just 14 shots.
Paul could occasionally suffer from a strange odor, as he had four-point, three-foul, four-turnover games against New Orleans before his perfect outing, although four-game catastrophic form runs need to be taken more seriously. . Paul’s five turnovers last night tell a clear story. Within a minute of the game, he threw a straight kick into the face of a stationary Jalen Brunson. Brunson sprinted with his gift for a free layup. In the second quarter, Paul dribbled off his leg to give Dallas another quick break. At the end of the first half, he gave it directly to Reggie Bullock’s arm and Bullock ran down and hit three nails into a wide open. In the third, he tried to overtake Frank Antilicina but only threw it out of bounds from his feet. Eventually, a few minutes later, he was caught in a traffic jam and basically handed it over to Luka Donsik. What are the common factors here? Length. The Mavericks are putting a significantly bigger defender on Paul in every single possession. Dallas has been blessed with several rock-solid wing defenders and Antilicina, whose lineup has changed everything for Dallas. Favorite Frenchman has never been a worthy attacking player, but his on-ball defense has always been great.
Originally not playing until Game 3, Antilicina has created a small, but influential role as a speed-changing defender against both Paul and Booker. He had a perfect Frank Ntilikina line last night, including four steals and one field goal attempt. It seems strange that a Knicks castoff who fell on the edge of the Knicks rotation last year and averaged less than 12 minutes per game this season before losing his place in the spring, is turning the tide in this series, but it is impossible to argue otherwise Dallas only five-out. Playing crime, Luka Donsick and Jalen Brunson have started and everyone else has been given the responsibility of screening or spreading the floor for one of them, so Antilicina can stand there for the crime and shoot if he thinks, without really hurting things for the Mavericks. In defense, he can use all his power to make life hell for the sun’s ball handlers. Antilicina’s game is being watched on-ball defense Fun. He puts his arm out, but does not foul. He plays physically, but with his chest. He reads the incoming screens, but without the need to turn his head. He falls then gets stuck in the alleys, but does so before they open. There’s Devin Booker -6 shots for 1 in 29 overs Against Antilicina, and the French have done a much better job of neutralizing Paul. Mavericks reduced the pressure by matching Phoenix’s impressive wins in the 1st and 2nd games and trapping the Sans ballhandlers. Paul and Booker are such great shooters from the seemingly unwanted stains on the floor that you almost have to push them to get to their stains. Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock were vital to the Mavs (Doncic also emerged as a defender), and Ntilikina gave them another ace for the game. The sun was very disappointed by him, They had resorted to destroying him. I would be too if he did this.
Paul is also fighting on the other end of the ball. Jalen Brunson and Donsik Paul have been separated and attacked him on the switches several times in the last four games, making a tremendous impact. Paul committed fouls in Game 4, and five more fouls in Game 6. With Paul, Mikal Bridges and Jay Crowder, the Mavericks know he has a weak point in the Sun defense at the moment, and they are following him very intelligently when the opportunity presents itself. Paul is a genius on both sides of the court, but when he has to read three actions to close out someone as big as Maxi Kleber, his brain power is dulled. Dallas looks increasingly comfortable as Ceres progresses, as the sun sets. It feels weird that a Jason Kid team is doing this against the Monty Williams team, even though that’s what’s happening. Dallas has the luxury of simplicity here, as their staff is ready to make the most of Donsick and play a very specific, tough-to-guard style. Dallas is relying, perhaps on an alarming level, on a three-pointer conversion. But their generating open looks quite comfortable (78 more than the Phoenix) and they are performing more than three percentage points above their regular season average, despite how Davis Bartons replaced Josh Green in rotation, actually graded out to hit their average or What? It is underperforming.
There are also hidden factors. Mikal Bridges has protected him better than any other player in the NBA, although Donsick is cooking him up here and Mavus is trying his best to replace him with someone else. Donsick is not bothered by even the defense of any other player, and as he recovers, he becomes more comfortable destroying people in one situation after another. Mavericks plays five-outs specifically to punish the team for trying to trap Donsic, although if you don’t trap him, he’s just hiding his way from a kind of fake, spin, dribble and fence until he’s a normal Seven-feet above you, or he’ll just step back and make a jumper. He, most importantly, has dedicated himself to being a Little Fucker.
The series has been fun all along, and although the home team has won every game, a number of trends have come to mind before Game 7. Donsick is not only the best player in the series, he’s gotten better as he progresses. , Where Paul has faded dramatically There is a relative history of the game here, and although the sun is playing at home, there is serious pressure on them. To his credit, Booker is openly enjoying the challenge of playing the first Game 7 of his career. Paul needs to get up to his level, and thanks to him, both teams have two days off before Sunday’s game in Phoenix.