Basketball On The Internet.

Sponsored by:

AllStar Photos

Specialising in Action, Team and Portrait Photography.


Advertising opportunities available.
Please contact me.

Bob's Corner: Now Suns cop a little clip

BOB'S CORNER: Our man in the USA, Bob Craven, is all over the NBA Conference Finals in this week's visit Stateside, and the Ben Simmons backlash in Philadelphia where the 76ers were booed off court. He's also got the latest on USA Basketball's men's team for the Tokyo Olympics and its 3x3 women's team for the Games.

THE Los Angeles Clippers beat the Suns in Game 3 of their Western Conference Final, 106-92 but after a very close first half, the Clips put the game away with a strong third quarter.

Phoenix shot poorly most of the game. LA's effort included a 21-3 run, capped by a banked 3-pointer by Paul George from just inside the halfcourt line, giving it a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

George led the Clips with 27 points, 15 boards and 8 assists.  Reggie Jackson added 23 points, and big man Ivica Zubac added 15 points and 16 rebounds.  He had a double-double by halftime.

The Suns welcomed back Chris Paul, and he had 15 points and 12 assists, but was only 5-of-19 from the floor. Cameron Payne, who filled in for Paul so well in the first two games while he was out due to Covid-19 protocol issues, suffered a left ankle injury after only 4 minutes and did not return.

The Suns' Devin Booker, playing with a face mask to protect the nose he broke in the previous game, had a decent line of 15-5-5, but he also shot poorly at 5-of-21.  Both he and Paul started the game by missing their first six shots and both were 2-of-10 from the floor in the first half, with both ending up scoring only 7 points each.

IN Milwaukee, the homestanding Bucks lost Game 1 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals to the Atlanta Hawks, 116-113.  It was a very tight game and wasn't decided until inside the final minute.

The young (no pun intended) Hawks' PG, Trae Young, was huge, collecting 48 points, 7 boards and 11 assists.  He was ably assisted by John Collins who scored 23 points and had 15 rebounds, and by Clint Capela with 12 points and 19 boards. 

Capela's rebound put-back with under 30 seconds left gave Atlanta the lead for good, with the teams swapping missed shots and made free throws after that.

For the Bucks, as usual, they were led by the "Greek Freak", Giannis Antetokounmpo with a line of 34-12-9.  Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists.  Normally a reliable scorer, forward Khris Middleton had 15 points but had an ugly night shooting, hitting only 6-of-23 from the field, including going 0-of-9 from 3-point range.

The Hawks are now 6-2 on the road in this year's playoffs, and this was the Bucks' first postseason loss at home this year.

USA Basketball has announced the US team for the Tokyo Olympics. The team will be led by Kevin Durant of the Nets and Draymond Green of the Warriors, the only two players selected who were on the Gold Medal-winning team at the 2016 Games in Rio.

The other members of the team are Kevin Love of the Cavaliers, who played for the Gold Medal winners at the London Games in 2012, Zach LaVine of the Bulls (a local boy from here in Seattle), Jeremi Grant of the Pistons, Damian Lillard of the Blazers, Bam Adebayo of the Heat, Jason Tatum of the Celtics, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday of the Bucks, and Devin Booker of the Suns.  James Harden of the Nets was to be selected, but he had to pull out with an injury. 

This year's team has emphasised players who can play multiple positions and who are shooting specialists.

The women's 3 X 3 team is the same 4 WNBA players who qualified the US in first place in the qualifying rounds.  They are Stephanie Dolson, a centre from the Chicago Sky, guards Allisha Gray of the Dallas Wings and Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces, and forward Katie Lou Samuelson of the Seattle Storm.

The NBA also announced the order of selection for this year's draft on July 29.  The first 10 teams to draft in order will be Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Toronto, Oklahoma City, Golden State (obtained from Minnesota), Orlando (obtained from Chicago), Sacramento and New Orleans.

WOW, what a Game 2 we had in Phoenix as the Suns took a 2-0 Western Conference Finals series lead, defeating the LA Clippers 104-103.

Each team was without a superstar, Phoenix missing Chris Paul due to Covid-19 protocol issues, and the Clips without Kawhi Leonard due to injury.

It was a classic, tight game all the way, although not particularly well-played at all times.  And the finish was a miracle win for the Suns. 

Paul George gave the Clips one point leads twice in the last 30 seconds with clutch buckets to set up an amazing finish. George was fouled with 8.2 seconds left and the Clips up by one.

Two free throws would have pretty much put the game away, but George, an 85 per cent free throw shooter, missed both free throws.  The Suns got the rebound and called time out, but on the ensuing in-bounds play, missed a 3-pointer. 

The Clips deflected the ball out of bounds, giving the Suns one last chance with 0.9 seconds left.

In-bounding from the baseline, a screen was set to free up post man Deandre Ayton to go to the rim. Jae Crowder lofted an alley-oop pass that Ayton tip-jammed in with 0.7 seconds left and, after a minute or so to review it, Phoenix wins it by one. 

That finish will, I'm sure, live a very long time in Phoenix hoops history.

With Paul out, his replacement Cameron Payne was huge for Phoenix and led them with 29 points, a career high, and 9 assists.  Ayton had 24 and grabbed 14 boards.  George led the Clips with 26 points, 6 boards and 6 assists.

IN Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix between the Suns and the LA Clippers, both teams were missing an All-Star: the Clippers minus Kawhi Leonard, still hampered by a bad knee, and Phoenix without Chris Paul, unavailable due to Covid-19 protocol issues.

It was a tight game all the way with the homestanding Suns coming out on top, 120-114.  They were led by Devin Booker with a line of 40-13-11, his first career triple-double.  Big man Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 9 rebounds in support. 

For the Clippers, Paul George scored 34 points and had 4 rebounds and 5 assists, while Reggie Jackson added 24 points, 6 boards and 4 assists.

Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinal in Philadelphia saw the Atlanta Hawks take down the #1 seed Sixers, 103-96.  It was the third win for the Hawks on the 76ers home floor in the series.  Since the #1 seed in the West, the Utah Jazz lost their series to the Clippers earlier, this season marked the first time since 1973 (when seeding teams began) that both #1 seeds failed to make it to their Conference finals.

Offensively, it was not a scintillating game overall.  Atlanta was led by Kevin Huerter with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, while star PG, Trae Young scored 21 points and added 10 assists.  However, he was a non-factor in the first half, going 1-of-12 from the floor.  He ended up shooting 5-of-23 for the game, including 2-of-11 from behind the arc.

Joel Embiid again was very strong for the Sixers with 31 points and 11 boards, but he also had 8 turnovers.  Toby Harris added 24 with 14 boards and 4 assists.

Ben Simmons was again very quiet offensively, other than dishing out 13 assists.  He was 2-of-4 from the field and 1-of-2 from the line, but at one point late in the game, he had an open dunk available but did not take it.  Talk was rampant after the game in the local and national media that this might have been Simmons' last game for Philadelphia.

The AP noted a couple of additional stats regarding Simmons and his offensive struggles. I knew that he rarely shot 3-pointers, and that he didn't do well when he did. I didn't realize that his shooting was as poor as it was from beyond the arc:  For the his entire career, he is only 5-of-34 (14.7 per cent).

The Philly fans, as is typical of them, were not impressed by the Sixers' efforts, booed them off the floor, and threw trash everywhere.  

Jun 26

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.