Mendoza: NBA Conference playoffs heating up

·2 min read

TRAE “Tear Drop” Young must be stopped or the Atlanta Hawks will post a stunning 2-0 lead Saturday, June 26, 2021 over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Young, 22, scored 48 playoff career points in Atlanta’s 116-113 Game 1 victory on Thursday, June 24, issuing 11 assists for a double-double performance from someone least expected to do it.

Know why?

Because Young is only 6-foot-1—grabbing six boards in the opener. Amazing.

Who said height is might in basketball?

Young is suddenly telling us that doesn’t apply to him at all.

After the Finals opener, the Bucks themselves are having serious doubts about the efficacy of that dictum.

Their No. 1 player, the two-time regular season MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, had himself outgunned by Young on Thursday, June 24 (PH time).

The 6-foot-11 Greek Freak had 34 points. Huge, I tell you. But if the effort couldn’t shove the No. 3 Milwaukee past the No. 5 Atlanta, who needs that?

Khris Middleton made matters worse for the Bucks.

The 6-foot-8 Middleton, who has just been named to the 12-man roster of the US Team to the Tokyo Olympics together with “old man” Kevin Love, had only 15 Game 1 points, shooting a lethargic 6-for-23 and a dismal 0-for-9 from three-point country.

He doesn’t step up today and Middleton’s Tokyo trip deserves instant review.

Now, how describe that 106-92 Game 3 win by the Los Angeles Clippers over the Phoenix Suns Friday, June 25, in the Western Finals?

Paul George redeemed himself, bucking the stigma of missing two game-winning free throws on Wednesday by recording a team-high 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in 43 game-high minutes.

With vengeance in his eyes, George was 6-of-7 from the line this time to drown the three flubbed charities in Game 2, including two with 8.2 seconds left in the game that could have won it and forged a 1-1 tie.

The win reduced Phoenix’s lead to 2-1, but it was doubly sweeter as the Clippers snapped the Suns’ nine-game winning streak in the playoffs.

And, if we go by history, the Clippers will tie the series at 2-all tomorrow since they had previously rallied from 0-2 deficits twice in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

George the Playoff P (Paul) has come alive.

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