Destiny Clips — Trae Young! — Playoff’s high scorers

Friday, June 25th, 2021

  The Opening Tip

  • You can’t kill the Clippers
  • Individual playoff scoring is way up from a decade ago.
  • The slippery slope of a call from Clips-Suns Game 2.

Tonight's playoff game

1. The 0-2 Clippers are the new 1-3 Nuggets

The scariest thing in these playoffs isn’t Giannis backing you down or Kevin Durant in the clutch, it’s the Clippers when they’ve lost the first two games of a series.

Last night, despite no Kawhi for L.A. and Chris Paul returning for Phoenix, the all-for-one, one-for-all Clippers pulled out a Game 3 win to get back into the Western Conference Finals.

They have now … 

  • Beat the Mavericks after losing the first two games at home. 
  • Beat the one-seed Jazz after losing the first two games on the road despite having no Kawhi for Games 5 and 6. 
  • Beat the Suns in Game 3 to make the series 2-1 despite a back-breaking loss in Game 2 in Phoenix. 

Who are these Clippers and what have they done with the 50-year dead weight of Donald Sterling?

The question now: Can Kawhi come back? Adrian Wojnarowski said before Game 2 that the “confidence of Kawhi Leonard being back is not there right now in L.A.," which probably means no, which is too bad, because this team is a Kawhi away from improbably winning it all.

[READ: The Clippers resurface to rattle the Suns]

2. Daily GIFJason Kidd walked so Trae Young could fly

NBA players used to do the backboard alley-oop as a sideshow on a fastbreak. (Example.)

On Wednesday, Trae Young did it in the halfcourt in the third quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals surrounded by three collapsing defenders.

He passes like Jason Kidd, he scores like Steph Curry and he shows people up like James Harden. In the Game 1 win over Milwaukee, he had 48 points and 11 assists and he accounted for 72 points, most ever in a conference finals game.

3. Trivia time

Three NBA players have scored 57 or more points in an NBA playoff game. Who are they?

Hint: One recent.

Answers at the bottom.

4. Highest scoring games of the postseason, 2020-21 vs. 2010-11

If it feels to you like emphasis on defense has fallen while elite shot making has risen, you might just be an astute watcher of playoff basketball. 

  • Between the 2019 playoffs, the 2020 playoffs and these playoffs, there have been 11 individual games of 48-plus points, including five this season led by Damian Lillard's 55 and Jayson Tatum's 50. 
  • From 2010-12, there was one

And we still have most of the conference finals and Finals left.

5. This call is a plague on the NBA

One current universal truth: If you’re playing pickup basketball, and someone comes and whacks the ball out of your hand, it is your ball. 

One former NBA truth: If you’re playing in an NBA game, and someone comes and whacks the ball out of your hand, it is your ball.

Context to our outrage: In Clips-Suns Game 2 on Tuesday, Patrick Beverley came and whacked the ball out of Devin Booker’s hand. Because it happened with less than a minute left and everything must be reviewed, the refs went back to the monitor, slowed the play down and determined that, technically, it touched Booker last. So it was Clips ball.

Pandora doesn’t go back in the box. Nothing is safe.

6.  Quick hits

  • ICY missed Paul George’s bankshot 3-pointer to end last night’s third quarter, here you go.
  • COACHING ROUNDUP: Rick Carlisle is headed back to Indiana | Jason Kidd is headed to Dallas | Brooklyn assistant Ime Udoka (e-may oo-do-ka) is headed to Boston 
  • ESPN personality Jay Williams tweeted that Udoka was the Celtics' first coach of color then claimed he got hacked. Jalen Rose made fun of him on TV. 
  • Who has a better goatee: Monty Williams or Nate McMillan?
  • From Reddit user @housem66: Ben Simmons missed more free-throws this postseason than Steve Nash did in his entire playoff career

7.  Reads

  • David Fizdale seeks a deeper purpose as he prepares to return to NBA coaching [The Undefeated]
  • Kevin Durant spends all day feuding with own burner account [The Onion]
  • Scottie Pippen has something to say [GQ]

Trivia answer: Michael Jordan (63), Elgin Baylor (61), Donovan Mitchell (57).


That's the buzzer.
Thanks for reading the 286th edition of The Grip.

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