Freeman Cebu Sports

Game 7s are supposed to be tight games

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

As what people usually say, the NBA Playoffs are unpredictable, and this happens every year.  Title favorites crash out and new, but otherwise familiar contenders battle for the trophy.

The Western and Eastern Conference Finals cast are now in place and a new league champion will be crowned come June.  Last year’s finalists, eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks and runner-up Phoenix Suns were badly mangled by the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks respectively.

With 22 3-pointers made, Boston outscored Milwaukee by a huge 54 points from long range and it was the biggest factor for the Celtic win.  Jayson Tatum and unlikely scorer Grant Williams combined for a 12-of-27 3-point shooting.

The Celtics made the record books with their 22 made 3-pointers as the most ever in a Game 7 in league history.  Likewise, that feat was the most in Celtic playoff history.  Williams, with 7 3-pointers made, joined the elite cast of Stephen Curry and Marcus Morris in a Game 7 shooting spree.

Because the Bucks are paying more attention to Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Williams took advantage of the disregard and let it rain.  With his 27 points, it was the first time in his career that he led a team in scoring, and he picked the right time to shine.

The Phoenix Suns, who won a league-best 64 regular season games, were the top seed when the Playoffs began, and I was expecting them to move up to the Conference Finals.  But expectations became reality when the visiting Dallas Mavericks, behind the combined 65 points of Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie, blanketed the daylights on The Valley in an uncharacteristic Game 7 demolition job.

I personally favored Phoenix for their stronger frontcourt with three legit centers in DeAndre Ayton, JaVale McGee and Bismack Biyombo compared to Dallas who alternate natural forwards Dwight Powell, Davis Bertans and Maxi Kleber at the five.

The Mavs were firing on all cylinders, the Suns were having a solar eclipse.  The All-Star pair of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, unlike Williams of the Celtics, picked a crucial game to misfire and only had 21 points between them.

Paul, probably among the NBA’s top 5 point guards, made an undesirable NBA record in futility.  He had lost his last four Game 7s and wasted his fifth 2-0 series lead in his career.  Recalling last year’s Finals, the Suns led 2-0 but the Bucks won the last four games.  He’s a clutch player but sad to say, he choked at games that mattered most.  The window for CP3’s title shot is closing fast, and he could be among the game’s greatest never to win a championship.

Boston will battle Miami for the Eastern Conference crown, Golden State and Dallas fight for Western supremacy.  Between these four teams, they have 21 NBA titles.

The Warriors last had their championship in 2018, the Mavs in 2011, the Celtics in 2008, the Heat in 2013.   Jason Kidd will now have the rare chance to win league titles both as a player and coach for the same team.

I would like to see a Mavs-Celtic finale but things could go otherwise.


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