Enter the Dragan [8-2] Wizards pull away late in Phoenix

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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - Late drama in game 2

Postby Phil89 on Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:37 pm

Andrew wrote:Damn, unlucky. I can relate to things going awry on the final possession like that. It's even worse when it feels like the AI does it to you on purpose.

Yep. I can live with it if I miss a shot at the buzzer. But it sucks when they win the game with a flukey shot.

I'm not really sure how this OKC team beat the Warriors. They definitely don't seem to be on the same level as them. Not complaining though (Y)
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - Game 3 win puts Suns back in control

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:30 pm

Maybe we can say they're tired out from that series? They got the job done, but there's nothing left in the tank.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - Game 3 win puts Suns back in control

Postby Phil89 on Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:24 pm

25/5/19

Oklahoma City Thunder [9-5] vs Phoenix Suns [10-1]

Suns on the brink of NBA Finals after enthralling game four win

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OKC - 32 25 19 37 113
PHX - 28 27 30 35 120

Player of the Game: Jonathan Jeanne
(28pts, 13reb, 3ast, 4blk)

(10-12 FG, 8-11 FT)


Top Scorers
Devin Booker - 32
Russell Westbrook - 30
Jonathan Jeanne - 28
Steven Adams - 22
Marquese Chriss - 19
Alex Abrines - 14
Marcus Smart - 13
Derrick Favors - 12
Jae Crowder - 11
Alex Len - 10
Jayson Tatum - 9

Rebounds
Jonathan Jeanne - 13
Steven Adams - 10
Derrick Favors - 8
Alexis Ajinca - 7
Russell Westbrook - 6
Amir Johnson - 6
Dragan Bender - 5
Kevin Knox - 5

Assists
Alex Abrines - 10
Michael Carter-Williams - 10
Marcus Smart - 7
Andre Roberson - 5

Steals
Steven Adams - 4
Alex Len - 2
Marcus Smart - 2
Andre Roberson - 2
Alex Abrines - 2

Blocks
Steven Adams - 5
Jonathan Jeanne - 4
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - Game 3 win puts Suns back in control

Postby Andrew on Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:26 pm

One step closer. If you go all the way, Jeanne might end up being the Finals MVP.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - One win away from the NBA Finals

Postby cavs4872 on Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:29 pm

Nice; did you win a chip last season? I've only been following this in passing.

I would like to pick up Smart in one of my stories; it kind of seems like you could turn him into a jack of all trades player.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - Game 3 win puts Suns back in control

Postby Phil89 on Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:24 pm

Andrew wrote:One step closer. If you go all the way, Jeanne might end up being the Finals MVP.

He certainly is having a breakout playoff campaign. I may have to start him over Len if he keeps playing like this.

cavs4872 wrote:Nice; did you win a chip last season? I've only been following this in passing.

I would like to pick up Smart in one of my stories; it kind of seems like you could turn him into a jack of all trades player.

Nah, the Warriors beat us in 5 games in the second round. But the Thunder beat the Sixers in the finals.

Smart is an interesting player. Not a typical point guard in that he isn't a great shooter, but his height and defensive attributes make him a good player to have against all the top level point guards in the league. You defintely need good shooters around him though.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - Game 3 win puts Suns back in control

Postby cavs4872 on Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:39 am

Phil89 wrote:Smart is an interesting player. Not a typical point guard in that he isn't a great shooter, but his height and defensive attributes make him a good player to have against all the top level point guards in the league. You defintely need good shooters around him though.

Right; it seems like he has no trouble distributing.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - One win away from the NBA Finals

Postby Phil89 on Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:52 pm

27/5/19

Phoenix Suns [11-1] vs Oklahoma City Thunder [9-6]

Phoenix secure first trip to NBA Finals since 1993 after closing out Thunder

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PHX - 23 27 31 32 113
OKC - 24 27 22 17 190

Player of the Game: Alex Len
(21pts, 14reb, 6ast, 1blk)

(9-11 FG, 3-3 FT)


Top Scorers
Russell Westbrook - 21
Alex Len - 21
Devin Booker - 19
Jonathan Jeanne - 17
Kevin Knox - 15
Alex Abrines - 13
Andre Iguodala - 11
Dragan Bender - 10
Jayson Tatum - 10
Derrick Favors - 10
Andre Roberson - 9
Marcus Smart - 9
Steven Adams - 8
Jae Crowder - 8

Rebounds
Alex Len - 14
Steven Adams - 9
Alexis Ajinca - 8
Jonathan Jeanne - 8
Kevin Knox - 7
Derrick Favors - 7
Dragan Bender - 5
Marquese Chriss - 5

Assists
Marcus Smart - 10
Michael Carter-Williams - 8
Alex Abrines - 6
Alex Len - 6

Steals
Russell Westbrook - 5
Michael Carter-Williams - 3
Kevin Knox - 3
Amir Johnson - 3
Marquese Chriss - 2

Blocks
Kevin Knox - 4
Marquese Chriss - 2
Marcus Smart - 2




The 2019 Western conference champions!
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Westbrook picked up his fifth fouled thirty seconds into the second half. That's when we pulled out to a double-digit lead.

They put him back in midway trough the third quarter and he single-handedly cut the margin in half, but in the end they just couldn't stop us from scoring in the second half.


To be honest, I would have been absolutely fine with a conference finals exit and to continue the step-by-step progress of the last couple of years.

But I am really happy to reach the NBA Finals, because winning trophies is the reason why I play this game ultimately.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals - One win away from the NBA Finals

Postby Phil89 on Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:53 pm

30/5/19

Underdogs set up re-match of 1993 NBA Finals

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Western Conference


2. Phoenix Suns [56-26] vs 4. Oklahoma City Thunder [51-31]

Results
OKC @ PHX - 99-106
Jonathan Jeanne (28pts, 10reb, 2ast, 1blk)

OKC @ PHX - 99-98
Russell Westbrook (28pts, 8ast, 3stl)

PHX @ OKC - 101-91
Russell Westbrook (20pts, 2reb, 12ast, 3stl)

PHX @ OKC - 120-113
Jonathan Jeanne (28pts, 13reb, 3ast, 4blk)

OKC @ PHX - 90-113
Alex Len (21pts, 14reb, 6ast, 1blk)


Phoenix won the series 4-1




------------------------------------------------------------------



Eastern Conference


1. Philadelphia 76ers [55-27] vs 2. Chicago Bulls [50-32]

Results
CHI @ PHI - 110-121
Joel Embiid (23pts, 12reb, 2ast, 3blk)

CHI @ PHI - 129-119 (OT)
Ben Simmons (26pts, 13reb, 5ast, 4stl, 5blk)

PHI @ CHI - 101-82
John Wall (33pts, 7reb, 5ast, 3stl)

PHI @ CHI - 86-113
Mohamed Bamba (14pts, 16reb, 2blk)

CHI @ PHI - 104-115
John Wall (44pts, 6reb, 9ast, 4stl, 4blk)

PHI @ CHI - 109-113
John Wall (27pts, 3reb, 7ast, 2stl, 3blk)

CHI @ PHI - 113-112
Ben Simmons (18pts, 20reb, 6ast, 2blk)


Chicago won the series 4-3
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals Review

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:22 pm

It's going to be tough to see you beat the Bulls, but I can be happy for you all the same. ;)
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals Review

Postby cavs4872 on Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:12 am

Pretty decent series between Philly and Chicago (would've been cool to see how that Game 7 ended); hopefully the 6ers wore them out for you. :wink:

It's odd to see how well the Bulls have done; Bamba must be beasting. Even that Cavs team they took in six looked pretty lethal.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals Review

Postby Breems on Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:25 pm

cavs4872 wrote:Pretty decent series between Philly and Chicago (would've been cool to see how that Game 7 ended); hopefully the 6ers wore them out for you. :wink:

It's odd to see how well the Bulls have done; Bamba must be beasting. Even that Cavs team they took in six looked pretty lethal.


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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals Review

Postby Phil89 on Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:43 pm

30/5/19

2019 NBA Finals Preview

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THIS ISN'T HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO

It's doubtful that anyone could have predicted this NBA Finals match-up. Phoenix and Chicago were supposed to just be young teams gaining valuable playoff experience this year, aiming to compete for a championship in a couple of years.

But both have produced their own Cinderella stories in these playoffs, and now find themselves in a re-match of the highly-entertaining 1993 NBA Finals series which featured legends Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley.

You could argue that it's more of a shock for who isn't here, than for who is. The NBA was apparently supposed to be over as a competition, with Cleveland and San Francisco set to face each other in the Finals for the next half-decade, at least. They had already met three times in a row between 2015 and 2017.

Then something happened last year which was not supposed to happen.

MVP Russell Westbrook and his Oklahoma City Thunder team toppled the unbeatable Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. That came after the Cavaliers had already been dumped out by the Washington Wizards in the Conference Semifinals, ending LeBron James' incredible run of seven-straight Finals appearances.

Oklahoma City eventually beat the Philadelphia 76ers in six games to claim the Larry O'Brien trophy.


Things seemed to return to the status quo this season, with the sixty-one win Warriors topping the western conference once again and looking well positioned to regain their title. But they were again eliminated by Westbrook and his Thunder team, this time in a thrilling seven-game Conference Semifinals series.

Cleveland on the other hand struggled even more, crashing out in the first round at the hands of this exciting young Bulls team. That result has thrown the future of LeBron James up in the air, with the superstar expected to explore his free agency options this off-season. But that is another story.

Heading into the two Conference Finals series, most people expected Oklahoma City and Philadelphia to advance and meet again in the NBA Finals for round two of their blossoming rivalry. Phoenix and Chicago had other ideas though.

Other than a last second game-winner by Alex Abrines in game two of their series, the Suns really controlled all five games against the Thunder. It was an impressive showing by a team led by twenty-two year old Devin Booker.

Chicago had a much tougher time getting past the Sixers. Their series went right down to the wire, with a last-minute Zach LaVine three pointer helping them win game seven in Philadelphia, 113-112, and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1998.

There is some added pressure on this current Bulls team to win because the franchise has a six-from-six record in the Finals, thanks to the legendary team of the 1990's.

Phoenix on the other hand are chasing their first ever championship, having lost on both of their previous trips to the NBA Finals. Firstly in 1976 against the Celtics and then again in 1993, ironically against the Bulls.






WHAT HAPPENED THIS SEASON

These two teams have followed a similar path this season. Both were expected to compete for a playoff spot, but neither was seen as serious threat to the top teams in their conference.

Chicago made the controversial move on draft day to trade all-star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and pick 13, which they then used to draft Kentucky forward Jarred Vanderbilt. Butler was their best player and a fan favourite.

It's hard to argue that they would regret doing it though, given what has transpired since. Dunn made the first all-star appearance of his career this season as a reserve. He formed a surprisingly potent partnership with LaVine in Chicago after the pair had previously struggled to shine in Minnesota.

Butler did also make the all-star game as a reserve on the western team.


The Bulls used the seventh pick in the 2018 draft to select Texas center Mohamed Bamba and he has truly helped transform the franchise since he arrived. Many experts were focussed on Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton, but Bamba quietly put in one of the more impressive rookie seasons as a starter in Chicago.

Phoenix also made a draft day trade which is paying off nicely. They traded picks 17 (De'Anthony Melton), 25 (Troy Brown Jr) and 56 (Darren Copeland) to the New York Knicks in exchange for picks 12 (Kevin Knox) and 43 (Kerwin Roach). Knox started his rookie campaign slowly, but has established himself as a key part of the Suns' bench unit in these playoffs.

Bamba was selected on the All-Rookie First Team after averaging thirteen points, nine rebounds and two blocks per game. Knox made it onto the All-Rookie Second Team by averaging nine points and four rebounds per game.


The Suns also made a trade in mid-December which landed them point guard Marcus Smart. The three-team deal saw Malcolm Brogdon head to Boston and Eric Bledsoe go to Milwaukee. Smart adjusted to life in Phoenix quickly and formed an understanding with Devin Booker. The mixture of Booker's offense and Smart's defense has meshed really well in their system.


Interestingly, both of these teams were also involved in the three-team trade which sent Dwyane Wade from Chicago to Philadelphia in the off-season. The Bulls acquired Terrence Ross, Tyson Chandler, Anthony Morrow and picks. Whilst the Suns landed Michael Carter-Williams, Robin Lopez and Jerryd Bayless, who would all become solid bench pieces for them.

It was a deal that seemed to signal that both teams planned on sticking with their youth orientated builds, whilst also maximising cap room for the 2019 off-season. There was nothing to suggest that either team had any ambitions of making a deep playoff run.

But then they both went on to finish second in their conferences after winning fifty-plus games. Suns coach Earl Watson was named Coach of the Year for guiding his team to that impressive finish in the ultra-competitive western conference.






REGULAR SEASON MEETINGS

The teams met twice over the course of the regular season, with the Bulls surprisingly winning both encounters.

The Bulls came into Phoenix on February 3rd and totally controlled the game. Behind a combined forty-two points, eight rebounds and twenty-three assists from Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne they ran out 129-102 winners. Devin Booker was the only positive for Phoenix in the game, finishing with thirty-two points, five rebounds and four assists.

The return game occurred in Chicago on March 8th. This time it was a much closer contest. Phoenix looked set to even the ledger, taking a five point lead into the fourth quarter. But a last quarter push by the Bulls saw them take it, 111-108. Zach LaVine starred with twenty-nine points and seven assists.

Jonathan Jeanne led the Suns with fourteen points, ten rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

It's hard to say whether or not those two games will mean anything going into this series though. The Suns have looked a much stronger team since the playoffs began and the Bulls have proven to be a little inconsistent. Hopefully both teams are at their best and make it an interesting contest for the neutral viewers.






HOW THE BULLS GOT HERE

Chicago finished in second place in the eastern conference behind Philadelphia after winning fifty games, a fifteen-win improvement over last season.


The Bulls faced LeBron James' Cavaliers team that included Marc Gasol, Isaiah Thomas and Chris Bosh in the first round. Things didn't look good after they lost game one at home, 116-99. They quickly bounced back and leveled the series after a 103-94 win in game two.

Game three saw them snatch a 112-103 win in Cleveland, before they demolished the Cavs in game four, 126-83. The young bulls faltered in game five and were crushed, 116-80. But they closed out the series in Cleveland by winning game six, 117-106.


Next up were all-star Bradley Beal's Washington Wizards in the Conference Semifinals. Chicago scraped to a 108-103 win in game one, then took a more comfortable 109-94 victory in game two. Game three was another close encounter, with the Bulls coming out on top 96-90. They completed a sweep by cruising to a 123-106 win in game four.


They came up against the reigning eastern conference champions Philadelphia in the Conference Finals. A team which included all-stars John Wall, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dwyane Wade. Everyone expected the Sixers to have no issues in handling the inexperienced Bulls.

Things started as expected with the Sixers taking game one, 121-110. Chicago responded by winning an epic overtime game two, 129-119, despite big games from Simmons and Embiid. The Sixers regained control by winning game three, 101-82. But the Bulls had an answer once again, easily winning game four 113-86, with Mo Bamba dominating the glass.

A monster night from Wall (44pts, 6reb, 9ast, 4stl, 4blk) guided the Sixers to a 115-104 win in game five that put them one win away from returning to the NBA Finals. Chicago rallied for a third time though and took game six, 113-109. Everything rested on game seven in Philadelphia.

The deciding game lived up to all expectations, with neither team seeming capable of holding the lead for too long. Chicago led after the first quarter, but the Sixers fought back to take a slender lead at the half. Momentum shifted again and the Bulls took control in the third quarter and headed to the fourth up by four points.

Ben Simmons led a last quarter fightback, but a last minute three pointer from Zach LaVine sealed a dramatic 113-112 win for Chicago. The win put them into their first NBA Finals since 1998.






HOW THE SUNS GOT HERE

Phoenix also finished in second place in their conference, behind the once again dominant Warriors. They won fifty-six games, an improvement of nine wins over the previous season.

Some late season drama ensured that the Suns would be facing the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round. They were happy to avoid the playoff specialist Spurs and perennial MVP contender James Harden and his Rockets, who both missed the playoffs thanks to a late-season drop in form.


They started game one in very sloppy fashion and found themselves trailing at half time. However, their trademark defensive pressure restricted the Sonics to just thirty points in the second half and allowed them to win the game, 96-82.

Game two was a much simpler affair for Phoenix. They led from wire-to-wire, with Devin Booker scoring thirty-six points in a 109-90 victory. Anthony Davis found some form in game three, but it wasn't enough to prevent Phoenix from winning, 111-107.

Game four was a tight encounter, apart from a third quarter burst by the Suns. That run helped see them run out 105-96 winners, completing a series sweep and leaving Anthony Davis to wonder if he was wasting the best years of his career on a treadmill team.


Next they faced the Timberwolves with star trio Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins in the Conference Semifinals. Minnesota were on a high after beating a Clippers team that included Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan in the first round.

They had no answers when the Suns ran riot in game one of this series though. Thirty-three points from Devin Booker lifted Phoenix to an easy 111-80 win. Game two was a closer encounter, with some solid lockdown defending in the last quarter proving to be the difference for the Suns, as they won 99-88.

Minnesota looked set to put a win on the board in game three as they headed into half time with a lead. But a pivotal defensive display in the third quarter by Phoenix once again set up victory for them, 118-109.

Devin Booker was the star of game four. He scored a career-high fifty-one points as the Suns won 104-98 and completed a second consecutive series sweep. He joined Charles Barkley as the only Phoenix player in franchise history to score fifty points or more in a playoff game.


Three-time MVP Russell Westbrook and his defending champions from Oklahoma City awaited the Suns in the Conference Finals. It was a good thing for Phoenix that they held home court advantage for the series.

They put it to good use in game one as they rode the energy of their home crowd to a 106-99 win. Young French big man Jonathan Jeanne was the surprise hero with twenty-eight points and ten rebounds.

Game two will go down as an NBA classic. The Thunder dominated the first half and held a 58-48 lead. But a 25-14 third quarter surge by the Suns saw them take a one point lead into the final quarter. Several lead changes occurred in the final minutes, but a last-second Alex Abrines heave proved to be the difference. Oklahoma City won 99-98 and leveled the series at 1-1.

Phoenix quickly picked themselves up off the floor and fought hard for a 101-91 victory in game three. The double act of Devin Booker and Jonathan Jeanne was thriving in this series and the pair combined for sixty points in a 120-113 win for the Suns in game four. They were now one win away from reaching the NBA Finals.

The series headed back to Phoenix for game five. The Thunder fought bravely throughout an even first half, but things unraveled for them when their on-court leader Russell Westbrook picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter.

Phoenix swarmed all over them and outscored them 63-39 in the second half to record a 113-90 win and seal their place in their first NBA Finals since 1993. Some fans in the arena were too overcome with shock to properly celebrate the achievement, such was the surprise nature of it all.






KEY MATCH-UPS

Whilst neither team possesses a legitimate superstar player, there are still plenty of players on both sides who can be quite damaging.

Perhaps the biggest direct match-up will be between shooting guards Devin Booker and Zach LaVine. The two may be young, but both have led their sides like seasoned veterans in these playoffs.

The former has developed into a top tier scorer in the league over the course of the season and playoffs. He averaged just over nineteen points per game during the regular season, but impressively upped that to almost twenty-six per game during the playoffs. That included a career-high fifty-one points against the Timberwolves.

LaVine hasn't shown quite the same scoring ability as Booker, but he has been a better playmaker. He is averaging twenty points and six assists per game during the playoffs. He is also a superior athlete, so Booker will have his work cut out trying to contain him.


The battle of the big men, Alex Len, Dragan Bender and Jonathan Jeanne vs Bobby Portis, Mohamed Bamba and Lauri Markkanen, will be crucial in this series, especially at the defensive end. If either group can get on top in the rebounding stakes, it will go a long way to grabbing control of the contest for their team.

Jonathan Jeanne has been the breakout story of these playoffs. The twentieth overall pick from 2017 has taken time to develop into a solid contributor for Phoenix. He only averaged three points and two rebounds per game in his rookie campaign. But he improved this year, taking his numbers up to eight points and four rebounds per game during the regular season.

No one could have foreseen his emergence during the playoffs though. He has massively improved his output, despite still coming off the bench as a backup for Alex Len. In the thirteen playoff games so far he is putting up nearly twenty points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game. His play has got fans asking questions about Len's future as the starting center on this team.


Suns point guard Marcus Smart will face the toughest test of his career so far, trying to slow down all-star Kris Dunn. Phoenix acquired him primarily to clamp down on opposition playmakers. Despite his limited offensive game, he has formed a productive backcourt partnership with Devin Booker.

Another fascinating battle will be between the second units. Chicago have the Sixth Man of the Year Cameron Payne running things, Lauri Markkanen adding a scoring threat and veterans Tyson Chandler and Anthony Morrow providing stability and guidance for their younger teammates.

Phoenix have the impressive frontcourt duo of Jeanne and Marquese Chriss, who are averaging a combined thirty-three points per game off the bench in the playoffs so far. They also have rookie Kevin Knox, who is showing signs of being a real bright prospect with every game he plays.






WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US

  • Phoenix come into this series with a 12-1 record. They have a chance to join the 2001 Lakers as the only teams to drop only one game in a championship run in the modern era.

  • Both Chicago (108.1 PPG) and Phoenix (107.0 PPG) rank in the top five offensive teams during these playoffs.

  • Phoenix however are the top ranked defensive team. They have allowed just 95.5 PPG, whilst Chicago ranks equal eighth with 104.4 PPG.

  • The Suns also top the scoring differential charts. They score 11.5 more points per game than they concede. Chicago rank fourth with a 3.7 PPG differential.

  • Another advantage for Phoenix is their excellent field goal shooting. They easily top the rankings with an impressive 58%. The Bulls rank sixth with 46%.

  • Chicago has the advantage from the perimeter though, shooting 36% compared to the Suns' 29%.

  • Phoenix like to get to the free throw line. They get there roughly there 33 times per game, the most by any team by a large margin.

  • It's not surprising that they like to attack the basket so often. They lead the free throw shooting percentage with 87%. The Bulls rank seventh at 78%.

  • Both of these teams are amongst the leaders in assists. Phoenix rank first with 31.8 APG and Chicago rank fourth with 28.3 APG.

  • The Suns rank second in blocks per game with 9.5 per game, whilst the Bulls are close behind in fourth with 8.5 per game.

  • Devin Booker is the highest scorer left with 25.9 points per game. Zach LaVine leads the way for Chicago with 20.5 per game.

  • Bobby Portis and Mohamed Bamba both rank in the top twenty for rebounding. Portis is ranked third with 11.1 per game, whilst Bamba is averaging 9.6 per game.

  • For Phoenix Alex Len and Jonathan Jeanne are both averaging around eight rebounds per game.

  • Marcus Smart and Kris Dunn both rank in the top twenty for assists and steals per game.

  • Jonathan Jeanne and Mohamed Bamba also both rank in the top ten for blocks per game.




THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT IN CHICAGO AND PHOENIX

Whatever happens in this series, it surely won't be the end of the story for these two teams or this potentially new long-term rivalry.

The future looks good for Chicago no matter what happens in this series. They have a good young core and will look to add to that further with three first round picks in the 2019 draft. They could probably afford to package up several pieces and try to land a veteran star via trade to really solidify their status back at the top of the eastern conference.

The Bulls could have the most cap room to spend out of anyone this off-season. Perhaps LeBron James will see this group as a good retirement plan or James Harden will head east in search of an easier path to the Finals.

Phoenix will also have a large amount of cap room to work with, although they are expected to use some of it to re-sign rising star Booker to a long term extension.

It's an exciting time to be a fan of the Bulls or Suns.






2. Phoenix Suns [56-26] vs 2. Chicago Bulls [50-32]


Stats Leaders
Suns
Points: Devin Booker - 25.9
Rebounds: Alex Len - 8.0
Assists: Marcus Smart - 6.4

Bulls
Points: Zach LaVine - 20.5
Rebounds: Bobby Portis - 11.1
Assists: Kris Dunn - 8.0


Phoenix
Starters
Alex Len - Dragan Bender - Andre Iguodala - Devin Booker - Marcus Smart
Bench
Michael Carter-Williams, Kevin Knox, Jerryd Bayless, Marquese Chriss, Robin Lopez, Jonathan Jeanne, Josh Huestis, Mirza Teletovic
Inactive
Kerwin Roach, EC Matthews



Chicago
Starters
Mohamed Bamba - Bobby Portis - Denzel Valentine - Zach LaVine - Kris Dunn
Bench
Cameron Payne, Lauri Markkanen, Terrence Ross, Thomas Bryant, Cristiano Felicio, Anthony Morrow, Tyson Chandler, Jarred Vanderbilt
Inactive
Paul Zipser

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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 Conference Finals Review

Postby Phil89 on Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:46 pm

Andrew wrote:It's going to be tough to see you beat the Bulls, but I can be happy for you all the same. ;)

Don't concede too quickly. Anything can happen in this game. For example, the Suns and Bulls are facing off in the NBA Finals :D

Also, Chicago beat me both times we played this season.

Breems wrote:
cavs4872 wrote:Pretty decent series between Philly and Chicago (would've been cool to see how that Game 7 ended); hopefully the 6ers wore them out for you. :wink:

It's odd to see how well the Bulls have done; Bamba must be beasting. Even that Cavs team they took in six looked pretty lethal.


It's all because my man Bobby Portis.

Bamba and Portis are a pretty formidable pairing for the Bulls. But Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine are the ones really carrying them.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals Preview - Suns vs Bulls

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:10 pm

Great recap and preview! Interested to see how it plays out, either way.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals Preview - Suns vs Bulls

Postby Valor on Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:56 pm

Woah, what a run to the finals! Very nearly undefeated :applaud:

As Andrew said, fantastic recaps/previews as usual. Best of luck against my Bulls :wink:
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals Preview - Suns vs Bulls

Postby cavs4872 on Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:15 pm

Really nice writeup. (Y) Cubs vs. Indians 2.0; good luck!
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals Preview - Suns vs Bulls

Postby Phil89 on Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:35 pm

Andrew wrote:Great recap and preview! Interested to see how it plays out, either way.

Valor wrote:Woah, what a run to the finals! Very nearly undefeated :applaud:

As Andrew said, fantastic recaps/previews as usual. Best of luck against my Bulls :wink:

cavs4872 wrote:Really nice writeup. (Y) Cubs vs. Indians 2.0; good luck!

Thanks guys. I figured that I should put some effort into the preview seeing as we reached the finals.

Hopefully it's a good series :)
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals Preview - Suns vs Bulls

Postby Phil89 on Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:17 pm

1/6/19

Phoenix Suns [12-1] vs Chicago Bulls [12-5]

Booker shines as Suns blitz Bulls in the opening game of the 2019 NBA Finals

Image

PHX - 30 29 26 26 111
CHI - 12 28 25 20 185

Full Statistics
Suns - Comparison - Bulls

Player of the Game: Devin Booker
(28pts, 4ast, 1blk)

(8-14 FG, 3-3 3PT, 9-9 FT)


Top Scorers
Devin Booker - 28
Jonathan Jeanne - 19
Kris Dunn - 16
Alex Len - 16
Zach LaVine - 15
Cameron Payne - 14
Denzel Valentine - 14
Dragan Bender - 13
Mohamed Bamba - 11
Marquese Chriss - 10
Kevin Knox - 9
Thomas Bryant - 8

Rebounds
Alex Len - 10
Mohamed Bamba - 9
Bobby Portis - 8
Dragan Bender - 6
Marquese Chriss - 5
Jonathan Jeanne - 5
Kevin Knox - 5

Assists
Marcus Smart - 10
Zach LaVine - 9
Cameron Payne - 8
Michael Carter-Williams - 5
Kris Dunn - 5

Steals
Lauri Markkanen - 3
Mohamed Bamba - 3
Jerryd Bayless - 2

Blocks
Dragan Bender - 5
Kevin Knox - 3
Mohamed Bamba - 2
Kris Dunn - 2
Jonathan Jeanne - 2





Game Highlights

First half
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHAe3EPe1iw
phpBB [video]



Second half
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHeFLuU78Cw
phpBB [video]




LaVine and Bamba picked up their fourth fouls during the second quarter. Both went on to foul out late in the fourth.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals - Suns vs Bulls - Game One

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:31 pm

That first quarter...ouch! Booker takes the first step towards Finals MVP hardware.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals - Suns vs Bulls - Game One

Postby Phil89 on Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:49 pm

3/6/19

Phoenix Suns [13-1] vs Chicago Bulls [12-6]

Booker puts the Suns 2-0 up as series heads to Chicago

Image

PHX - 29 27 25 19 100
CHI - 27 20 20 23 190

Full Statistics
Suns - Comparison - Bulls

Player of the Game: Devin Booker
(28pts, 1reb, 4ast)

(11-20 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-5 FT)


Top Scorers
Devin Booker - 28
Dragan Bender - 17
Lauri Markkanen - 15
Zach LaVine - 14
Alex Len - 14
Marquese Chriss - 13
Kris Dunn - 13
Thomas Bryant - 11
Mohamed Bamba - 10
Terrence Ross - 10
Bobby Portis - 8

Rebounds
Mohamed Bamba - 8
Alex Len - 6
Bobby Portis - 6
Jonathan Jeanne - 5

Assists
Marcus Smart - 7
Cameron Payne - 7

Steals
Lauri Markkanen - 4
Kevin Knox - 3
Mohamed Bamba - 3
Thomas Bryant - 3
Kris Dunn - 2
Zach LaVine - 2

Blocks
Kevin Knox - 3





Game Highlights

First half
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXGK40y8Rw0
phpBB [video]



Second half
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxsDXjCHnrA
phpBB [video]
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals - Suns vs Bulls - Game One

Postby Phil89 on Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:06 pm

Andrew wrote:That first quarter...ouch! Booker takes the first step towards Finals MVP hardware.

Booker certainly is channeling his inner Kobe in these playoffs (Y)

Hopefully he can get his first all-star selection next season.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals - Suns vs Bulls - Game 2

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:23 pm

Closer game this time around, but you're still in the driver's seat. It looks like Booker will pull a Chauncey Billups/Joe Dumars, and win a Finals MVP before an All-Star nod.
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals - Suns vs Bulls - Game 2

Postby cavs4872 on Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:59 pm

Take no prisoners!

I didn't know you got VC as your coach. :lol:
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Re: Enter the Dragan - 2019 NBA Finals - Suns vs Bulls - Game 2

Postby Phil89 on Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:35 pm

Andrew wrote:Closer game this time around, but you're still in the driver's seat. It looks like Booker will pull a Chauncey Billups/Joe Dumars, and win a Finals MVP before an All-Star nod.

Hopefully. Although I will probably be fighting against the inconsistent sim engine to get him there :wink:

cavs4872 wrote:Take no prisoners!

I didn't know you got VC as your coach. :lol:

Yep, signed him up right after he retired. I figured it would be more interesting to use retired players as coaches instead of random generated old guys (Y)
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