2021 NBA Playoffs Gamethread

Just a bit outside

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Simmons talks a lot about how the Bucks screw up with Giannis because they treat him like LeBron instead of Shaq. Run the offense with Jrue and Middleton and out Giannis in the block.
 

djbayko

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What is Harden's status? I haven't been paying attention. Is it possible he can play but they've been giving him extra rehab because they figured they could survive without him?
 

PedroKsBambino

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I think this is underselling Giannis quite a bit. He's worse in the playoffs than in the regular season for reasons mentioned above, but since becoming a superstar (not counting his second season) Giannis has averaged 25.7/12.0/5.3 in the playoffs while shooting .524 from the field. Those are excellent numbers, he's just not one of the best scorers in the league like he is in the regular season, and his lack of range and poor shooting from the line really hurt him in the closing minutes.

Kyrie out for the game, the Bucks absolutely need to win today.

*edit - Shaq was definitely more unstoppable when he wanted a bucket, but his FT shooting was bad enough that the way to stop him was to foul him. Giannis is bad at the line but not that bad (yet...bad trend line)
That's fair in that I don't think either of us wants to imply he stinks. But the point that good playoff defenses can solve him in a way they never could for true superstars is not at all inconsistent with having pretty good numbers overall. He has a TON of possessions, remember....
 

PedroKsBambino

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Simmons talks a lot about how the Bucks screw up with Giannis because they treat him like LeBron instead of Shaq. Run the offense with Jrue and Middleton and out Giannis in the block.
I agree in theory, but Giannis has yet to show the post game that would make that really impactful. You can imagine he might develop it---he's reasonably quick and long, and has some strength. But right now it really isn't in his toolkit. You do wonder if that became his game if big guys would push him around a bit, but he might look more like AD down there, winning on quicks rather than power.
 

ElUno20

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I hate when coaches do this. The game is over steve. Pull these dudes and rest for game 5
 

DeadlySplitter

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The adage "a playoff series doesn't start until a home team loses" is in full effect here. Nets could have ended it on Thursday but had a horrible game. Now can they win game 5 with only Durant at 100%?
 

Euclis20

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That's fair in that I don't think either of us wants to imply he stinks. But the point that good playoff defenses can solve him in a way they never could for true superstars is not at all inconsistent with having pretty good numbers overall. He has a TON of possessions, remember....
The bar is higher for him because of his regular season accolades and there are players better suited to end of game scoring in the playoffs, but it's pretty rich to say that the guy who just won back to back MVPs isn't a true superstar. He's not Durant, Lebron, Curry or Kawhi, but but outside of that group there aren't a lot of players clearly better offensively in the playoffs.

One of the reasons for comparing him to Shaq (another superstar whose weaknesses kept him from being the same offensive player in the playoffs) was to point out that he doesn't have a supporting character like Kobe. If Milwaukee finds a way past Brooklyn and wins the title (not at all an unreasonable outcome at the moment), where would Middleton rank in recent history as the #2 on a title winner? It's pretty far down the list.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I hate when coaches do this. The game is over steve. Pull these dudes and rest for game 5
Thought the exact opposite. Nash pulled the starters down 15 points with 4:28 left — more than enough time to close that deficit under normal circumstances. But KD is fragile, and he had just seen Kyrie go down, so he Brave Sir Robin’d it (or decided discretion was the better part of valor, take your pick).
 

Cellar-Door

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Incredible luck this series for MIL, they should have been swept. It's amazing how bad they are at running a competent offense in the playoffs.
 

Euclis20

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Thought the exact opposite. Nash pulled the starters down 15 points with 4:28 left — more than enough time to close that deficit under normal circumstances. But KD is fragile, and he had just seen Kyrie go down, so he Brave Sir Robin’d it (or decided discretion was the better part of valor, take your pick).
I agree that he pulled them at least a minute early, the problem was that up to that point, Durant had played the entire game minus the first 1:38 of the second quarter. Fragile or not, how could he be expected to play the entire 1st quarter and the last 34+ minutes of regulation (which would've been the plan if the game had been closer down the stretch). Nash needs to find time to rest him. Durant didn't score in the 4th quarter and part of that is that the Bucks could key in on him (he had a few assists), but this much time is a problem.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The bar is higher for him because of his regular season accolades and there are players better suited to end of game scoring in the playoffs, but it's pretty rich to say that the guy who just won back to back MVPs isn't a true superstar. He's not Durant, Lebron, Curry or Kawhi, but but outside of that group there aren't a lot of players clearly better offensively in the playoffs.

One of the reasons for comparing him to Shaq (another superstar whose weaknesses kept him from being the same offensive player in the playoffs) was to point out that he doesn't have a supporting character like Kobe. If Milwaukee finds a way past Brooklyn and wins the title (not at all an unreasonable outcome at the moment), where would Middleton rank in recent history as the #2 on a title winner? It's pretty far down the list.
That’s simply untrue of Shaq in the playoffs, though—he was generally dominant. I don’t think you’ve worked this comparison through at all.
 

Euclis20

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That’s simply untrue of Shaq in the playoffs, though—he was generally dominant. I don’t think you’ve worked this comparison through at all.
Shaq in the playoffs, age 22-26 (the year before his first title):

27/11/3.3, .576 TS%

Giannis in the playoffs, age 22-26 (this year):

25.7/12/5.3, .575 TS%

It's a different era so being statistically similar gives the edge to Shaq, but am I the only one who remembers people saying that Shaq couldn't win a title because he couldn't be trusted to score with the game on the line? Let Giannis play next to a legit star like Kobe or Wade and his game will look different, too.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think this is underselling Giannis quite a bit. He's worse in the playoffs than in the regular season for reasons mentioned above, but since becoming a superstar (not counting his second season) Giannis has averaged 25.7/12.0/5.3 in the playoffs while shooting .524 from the field. Those are excellent numbers, he's just not one of the best scorers in the league like he is in the regular season, and his lack of range and poor shooting from the line really hurt him in the closing minutes.

Kyrie out for the game, the Bucks absolutely need to win today.

*edit - Shaq was definitely more unstoppable when he wanted a bucket, but his FT shooting was bad enough that the way to stop him was to foul him. Giannis is bad at the line but not that bad (yet...bad trend line)
I’m not sure scoring 25.7 ppg in the playoffs as your teams superstar and how the offense is affected in him reaching these numbers is a feather in his cap. Raw individual numbers are good but the offense simply doesn’t allow for others to thrive when Giannis is at the top of the key in iso and the teams offensive performance shows this.

I’m not saying Giannis is MaMo or Crowder all I’m saying is that I’m reconsidering his position among the leagues best players and he’s dropping several notches in my ranking.
 

Euclis20

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I’m not sure scoring 25.7 ppg in the playoffs as your teams superstar and how the offense is affected in him reaching these numbers is a feather in his cap. Raw individual numbers are good but the offense simply doesn’t allow for others to thrive when Giannis is at the top of the key in iso and the teams offensive performance shows this.

I’m not saying Giannis is MaMo or Crowder all I’m saying is that I’m reconsidering his position among the leagues best players and he’s dropping several notches in my ranking.
This is all fair, but I think this changes if he plays with a legit [offensive] star next to him. Just as it did for Shaq when Kobe became a legit all star capable of taking over in crunch time. I just don't think Middleton is quite that guy.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This is all fair, but I think this changes if he plays with a legit [offensive] star next to him. Just as it did for Shaq when Kobe became a legit all star capable of taking over in crunch time. I just don't think Middleton is quite that guy.
I don’t agree with this Shaq comp as he didn’t need the ball on the perimeter to dominate a game. He could be a dominant second option which I don’t see happening with Giannis as he needs to be the dominant offensive player to be effective.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Shaq in the playoffs, age 22-26 (the year before his first title):

27/11/3.3, .576 TS%

Giannis in the playoffs, age 22-26 (this year):

25.7/12/5.3, .575 TS%

It's a different era so being statistically similar gives the edge to Shaq, but am I the only one who remembers people saying that Shaq couldn't win a title because he couldn't be trusted to score with the game on the line? Let Giannis play next to a legit star like Kobe or Wade and his game will look different, too.
I agree people said it---they were proven wrong, though. I just don't buy the comparison, Shaq was better and had more gravity than Giannis does.
 

Euclis20

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In a really childish way, I enjoy the saltiness of many of the '08 Celtics.

I agree people said it---they were proven wrong, though. I just don't buy the comparison, Shaq was better and had more gravity than Giannis does.
They were proven wrong when he teamed up with and won titles playing alongside two of the top five scoring guards of all time, both of whom won multiple times later on without him. It was too early for people to say that about Shaq and it's way too early to say that about Giannis. One giant difference between Giannis and Shaq is that the former plays in Milwaukee - it will be a real bummer if his decision to stay there for the rest of his prime keeps him from winning a title.

I don’t agree with this Shaq comp as he didn’t need the ball on the perimeter to dominate a game. He could be a dominant second option which I don’t see happening with Giannis as he needs to be the dominant offensive player to be effective.
It's not an exact comp because the game is different, but why does Giannis need to be the dominant offensive player to be effective? He's got the talent to be an absolutely devastating screen and roll guy (only Zion is maybe, maybe a better finisher and Giannis has a longer reach) and I don't think he's too proud to give up the ball late (Middleton is already the guy taking shots down the stretch). Or is it that no player with a poor outside shot can be a dominant scorer if they aren't the main option?

If the latter you may absolutely be right, but there are so few high volume scorers that can't shoot from outside (really it's just Giannis and Zion, then a few wings that have outside shots but not 3 point range, like Butler/Siakam/Derozen/Westbrook) that the sample isn't big enough to say one way or the other (or the fact that there are so few is the answer all on its own).
 

Kliq

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Happy I skipped the game today and avoided the "Giannis isn't that good" conversation.
 

128

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In a really childish way, I enjoy the saltiness of many of the '08 Celtics.
Especially given how chummy the current group of players, with the exception of Smart (and maybe Fournier), seems to be with opponents who kick the C's ass.
 
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Ale Xander

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I'm starting to not hate Ae Crowder anymore.

He needs to do that in the next 2 rounds though, v. Mitchell and Middleton/Harris/Durant
 
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Ale Xander

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Yikes.
The Lyft has just been ordered for the fat lady

that’s an extreme move but objectively warranted

(rooting for the Suns but Joker is my favorite NBA player. Booker is probably 2nd)
 

radsoxfan

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Obvious frustration foul, but Jokic took it to another level.

As someone who thinks they overcall the flagrants sometimes, that one was a legit Flagrant 2.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I was a fan of Celts going after Aaron Gordon and I still think there's some fit there--but his Denver performance definitely made the doubters look good thus far
 

Mooch

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Even if it’s only a flagrant one, he gets the second T for trying to provoke a fight with Booker. He deserves to be gone.