The NBA Playoffs heated up for our two remaining Aussies, Matisse Thybulle and Josh Green this week with both them and their teams falling behind before evening things up by the end of the week.
4 Games, 2 Wins, 2.8pts, 1.3reb, 0.5ast
After missing games during the Philadelphia 76ers first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors due to vaccination issues, Matisse Thybulle took part in all four of the Sixers games this week.
Game One of the series saw the Sixers without Allstar Joel Embiid who was sidelined with an orbital fracture and concussion. Without the big man the Sixers struggled to rebound the ball, being outrebounded 47 to 37.
They also struggled shooting the ball from behind the arc making just six of their 34 attempts to go down 106 to 92.
Matisse Thybulle came off the bench, playing 15 minutes where he was able to disrupt the Heat defensively to finish with a stat line of two points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and a single block.
Game Two was not much better for the Sixers, going down again 119 to 103, again without Embiid. The three-point shooting of Miami proved the difference going at 48.3% from deep, compared to the Sixers who only made 26.7% of the shots they took from range.
Thybulle was unable to have much of an offensive impact in the game, playing 21 minutes off the bench to finish with two rebounds, one steal and one block.
Game Three proved to be a turning point in the series for the Sixers, returning home which coincided with the return of Embiid. Embiid’s return made an immediate impact for Philadelphia, with his presence alone making life more difficult for Miami on both ends of the floor.
The Sixers put on a defensive masterclass, keeping the Heat to just 79 points, on route to a 99 to 79 victory.
Thybulle played a part in slowing down the Heat’s offense in the 20 minutes he played, able to make both shots he took to finish with four points, a steal and a block.
The final game of the week for the Sixers was Game Four, where they looked like a much better team with Embiid suiting up again. The 76ers were able to win the game 116 to 108 to level the series at two games each.
James Harden led the way for the Sixers scoring a team-high 31 points with 16 coming in the fourth quarter. Thybulle scored the most points he has this series in the game with five points along with a single rebound and assist.
The series now moves back to Miami for Game Five, set to take place on Wednesday here in Australia.
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3 Games, 1 Win, 0.0pts, 1.0reb, 0.0ast
While Aussie Josh Green has seen his minutes drop throughout the Mavericks second-round series against the Phoenix Suns which started this week, the guard has remained ready when he has been called upon.
Game One was an example of this with Green getting 10 minutes of playing time off the bench to only record two rebounds. He was however a positive for the team during this time with the Mavericks outscoring the Suns by 11 points in the short time he was on the floor.
All in all, the Mavericks were unable to get the job done going down by seven points, 121 to 114. The Suns collective scoring power proved too much, having six players score in double-digits, combined with much better ball movement and rebounding.
Game Two followed a similar path with again the Suns proving too strong in the second half, outscoring Dallas 71 to 49 to comfortably win 129 to 109. Chris Paul led the way for the Suns, finishing the game with 28 points on 68.8% shooting and only missing one shot in the second half.
Green played 12 minutes off the bench in the encounter, grabbing just the single rebound. He did however finish with a plus/minus of plus four.
Green would not play in Game Three as the series headed to Dallas, with coach Jason Kidd opting to use other guards who offered more defensively to try and limit the impact of Devin Booker and Paul.
The Mavericks were able to get the win behind Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson who combined for 54 points in the 103 to 94 victory.
Game Four saw Dallas level the series with a 111 to 101 win, behind excellent shooting from behind the arc. Dallas made 20 three pointers for the game, going at 45.5% compared to the Suns who scored just nine.
The Mavericks were also able to get Paul who had been excellent all series long in foul trouble. The Suns guard played just 23 minutes before fouling out during to fourth quarter to finish with five points.
Green saw very minimal time in the game, playing just one minute at the end of regulation, unable to record any stats.
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