Luka’s Magical Sunday

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The story of the day from the Bubble was undoubtedly Luka Doncic.  He was a game-time decision after spraining his ankle near the end of Game 3 Friday night but it was his teammate, Kristaps Porzingis, who ended up sitting this one out with a sore right knee.  Doncic put on an almost unprecedented show scoring 43 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and dishing out 13 assists but it was the buzzer beating three-pointer that was most important.  The Mavericks tied the series with the Clippers who now look like they’re in real trouble. 

Kawhi Leonard has been his consistent robotic self but Paul George has disappeared since game one.  Yesterday, George was just 3-14 for 9 points and late in the game, the Clippers relied more on Lou Williams and Marcus Morris for reliable scoring.  If the Clippers continue to be Kawhi plus a guest appearance by 1 or 2 of his non-Paul George teammates, they become significantly more beatable.  George was a +13 in game 1 but since then has been a combined -13.  Literally a zero this series.

Elsewhere, the Jazz took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Nuggets.  The Nuggets needed overtime in their one win and that was against the Jazz minus Mike Conley.  I said in their bubble preview that the wild card for their future would be Bol Bol or Michael Porter Jr.  Porter Jr has filled that role up until this series.  It would appear he and Jamal Murray are figuring out how they’re going to work together offensively.  Right now, Murray has the ball more and he’s doing more with it, huge games in Games 1 and 4.  But as a result, the Porter Jr train has stalled out with one big game 2 but Jamal Murray had his worst game then. The Nuggets are talented but they may need more time for the threesome of Jokic, Porter Jr and Murray to figure out how to play together.

Finally, not surprisingly, the Celtics and Raptors swept their first round series and are set to start the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday.  The story is really what the Philadelphia 76ers do in the off season.  It would seem almost certain Brett Brown will be fired then there’s a decision to be made on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.  Undoubtedly both great players, but still some uncertainty on if they’re the best teammates for each other.  The Sixers are more or less locked into this roster with two contracts they can’t trade in Al Horford and Tobias Harris.  So, if there’s a move to be made beyond the head coach, it will be Embiid or Simmons.  And either one would bring back a package that would include 1 or 2 immediately serviceable players as well as future draft picks.