If you're looking for some great basketball games to watch today, look no further. There are three games on TNT: the Miami Heat versus the Boston Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks against the Phoenix Suns, and Inside the NBA, which stars Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, and Charles Barkley. Each game has something to offer and is sure to be a great watch.
If you're a fan of the Boston Celtics, then you're probably wondering if Al Horford will empty his tank in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Celtics have won 14 of their last 16 games, and Horford has been one of the main reasons for their success. In addition to his solid defense, Horford has proven to be a great shot and a good rebounder. He'll also have the opportunity to show his versatility as he fills up his tank and scores big points in clutch situations.
Horford will also have a big role in today's series against the Boston Celtics, as he has proven to be crucial when the other stars aren't on their game. Game one against the Bucks saw Jayson Tatum struggle, but Al Horford made up for the deficiency in scoring with a career-high 13 assists. And as a star, Horford has been a constant in the playoffs, with an average of 13.6 points per game in the first two rounds and 9.8 in the Eastern Conference Finals. And, in each round, he has had one spectacular game.
The Atlanta Hawks picked Horford third overall in the 2007 NBA Draft and he has played in the NBA Playoffs thirteen times. He was eliminated by the eventual champion Celtics in seven games in his rookie year. But after three trips to the conference finals with Atlanta, he has yet to break through the Finals. But this season, he will be the first Dominican player to play in The Finals.
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The Miami Heat's set defense against the Boston Celtics has been a constant in their playoff run, and it's something that needs to continue in Game 7. Against the Celtics, they've made it a goal to keep their opponents from shooting over 46% from three-point range, and they've been getting better at it. Boston has made the postseason look easy, and that's something the Heat must emulate today.
The Boston Celtics have been dominating the Miami Heat's offense in the playoffs this year. Their defense is nearly as good as it was in the regular season. And in Game 2 against the Heat, that defense was back in full force. The Celtics' switch-heavy defense is the most complete in the league, and it forced Miami to settle for sluggish shots from three-point range.
As the Heat's starting guard, Jimmy Butler was a constant source of stability, rising over his defenders for three-pointers and daring to cross traffic for layups. He drew fouls, whipped passes to his teammates, and left Boston's fans feeling hopeless. It's a team effort, and they deserve it. But, as the season continues to unfold, it won't be easy.
The series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics is now tied at two games apiece. After Game 5 in Miami, the Heat are looking to take Game 7 to Miami, and a win would send the Heat to the NBA Finals. Jimmy Butler's 47 points gave them the edge, but the Celtics' offense needs more help from their young players to advance to the next round.
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The Dallas Mavericks' defense has been a bright spot in two of their three postseason games. The Mavericks have been on the offensive end and have had success scoring off of defensive mismatches against the Suns, but they have also been stumbling on the defensive end. Despite Luka Doncic's 45 points and 12 rebounds, the Mavericks still lack the interior size to match the Suns. With Luka Doncic leading the way, they will have to rely on their defense to keep the series close.
The Suns had a hard time on the road in Game 6, losing to the Mavericks 110-80. Suns' star Devin Booker led all scorers with 28 points, but Chris Paul was limited to 13 points on seven field goals. The Suns are favored to win the series after Game 5. The Suns are a perfect 17-5 in Game 5s, but they're just as dangerous when they play at home. Their 74% win rate is higher than the NBA's all-time average.
The Suns had a strong defense in the regular season, but the Mavericks have been a different story. The Suns had an elite defense against them during the regular season, but they have been a Jekyll and Hyde team in the playoffs. They've forced Luka Doncic to work hard to score, and they've also beaten him up with body blows. While Paul was in foul trouble in Game 2, the Mavericks' defense helped keep him from scoring as much. They have also been able to keep the Suns' 3s to a minimum.
The Suns' defense has been particularly stout this postseason. The Suns are an elite team in shooting and ball-control, so it's essential to disrupt either of those traits to beat them. This is precisely what the Mavericks did in Game 6 against Phoenix. The Suns had only attempted 18 3's in the game. In spite of the stout defense, the Suns' offense struggled to score points.
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While the Boston Celtics are carrying the No. 1 defensive rating into the playoffs, the Miami Heat is on a much higher level. Their defense is ranked fourth overall. The Heat have consistently outplayed them all spring. Trae Young, who had a poor regular season, was pushed to a below-average shooting percentage by the Heat. They also forced Embiid to shoot just 18 percent from three-point range. In Game 5 and 6, the Heat's defense prevented Embiid and Harden from scoring.
Marcus Smart was named the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year, but Adebayo placed fourth. He felt he was deserving of more recognition and was upset by the lack of consideration. While he finished fourth in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year, Adebayo told ESPN that the NBA didn't recognize his hard work and was using this series as a "prove it" moment.
The Miami Heat's defense is still being criticized, but Max Strus knows the defensive criticism. He has a solid start against the 76ers. In the season-opener against the Atlanta Hawks, Max Strus was tested repeatedly. Despite a lack of offensive help, he held his own. The Miami Heat's defensive system has several bodies surrounding the on-ball defender.
The Boston Celtics have beaten the Heat twice during the regular season, but by averaging 23.5 points per game. Overall, the Celtics finished second in defensive rating and allowed 104.5 points per game. In the postseason, the Heat have shot only 43 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from three-point range. As a result, the Heat have been able to score more than one point per possession at home.
LeBron James just scored a triple-double in a 103-100 win over the Golden State Warriors in an NBA Play-in Tournament game. That's because the NBA does not count play-in games in the regular season or playoffs. If you were wondering if his triple-double should count, you should know that the NBA has no official rule on how to count postseason games.
Not only did James get more rebounds, but he also shot better and had more assists. But while the stats aren't as impressive today, they were in the past. He was 38 years old when the playoffs started, and needed 42 wins to qualify. But his lack of aggression was one of the deciding factors in his team's loss in the finals.
During the 2011 finals, he shot 47.8% from the field, but he failed to take over for his teammates, and his teammates needed him to be effective. And in the 2011 finals, LeBron didn't even try to win the title. LeBron's team needed him to be the leader, but instead, he struggled to lead the way.
In the playoffs, the Warriors have a better record than LeBron, but that doesn't mean that James should be considered a shoo-in. His teams have a better record and more ring winners. It's not that LeBron has more playoff games, but he's never faced teams as good as the Warriors and Pistons. So, we can't compare his statistics to those of Jordan. It's simply not a fair comparison.