From a superstar engineering a Game 1 steal, to an UnderDOG registering a career-high to a point god in full playoff mode, here are your DOGs of the Week!
Top DOG of the Week:
“Coach got the trust in me. Just got to come out and perform.” – Paul George
Oh how we’ve missed you, “playoff” Paul George! It’s safe to say PG-13’s 1st postseason game since 2014 was a huge success. His 7-seeded Indiana Pacers walked away with a pretty convincing 100-90 W at Air Canada Centre this past Saturday, with George leading the charge.
It was an ugly contest throughout but PG was firing on all cylinders, tickling the nets to the tune of 33 points on 12/22 shooting. What made life diffcult for Toronto was the way George mixed in both the long ball (4/5 from deep) with beautiful fadeways and step backs in the midrange area.
Leading by just three heading into the fourth, George made the right reads, chipped in on defense (4 steals, 2 blocks) and hit dagger Js.
It’s obviously just one game but PG will keep Indy in the driver’s seat if he continues to take good shots and stay aggressive.
UnderDOG of the Week:
“We can’t let up for a second.” – Mike Budenholzer
What a time for a career-high. Well, playoff career-high at least.
Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore (23 points) did just that as Atlanta staved off a furious Celtics rally to close out Game 1. In the national spotlight, it’s nice to see Baze get credit for helping ATL secure the #4 seed & providing similar production to the departed DeMarre Carroll.
Bazemore didn’t connect on the three ball all that well (1/5) but forced the issue by attacking the rim and getting to the FT line. 8/10 from the charity stripe isn’t too shabby for a guy who’s the fifth option on most nights.
During his acceptance speech, Baze should give a ton of thanks to Jeff Teague, who tallied 12 assists and was in full control over the pace & offensive flow. If Teague and Baze challenge Boston’s lack of rim protection, it’ll open things up even further.
Salty DOG of the Week
“That’s straight butter, baby.” (or something like that) – Chris Paul
A not-so-hot-take: CP3 gets a LOT of undeserved flack this time of year – his game is (almost) always at a Top DOG level or higher. Paul realized the importance of coming away with a statement win v. the young Trail Blazers.
He controlled action from the jump, dishing out a few dimes and re-establishing foul-line confidence with Blake Griffin. Getting Blake going early is the theme of the series and there’s no better way to do it than constantly running PnRs and getting out in transition like CP3 did in Game 1.
You can normally count on 19-22 points/game from Paul, regardless of the situation. But last night, you could tell he really made a point to stick it to Damian Lillard and douse a bit of water on one of the league’s scorching-hot stars.
28 points on 10-19 shooting, with 11 dimes dropped, is a signature performance and more than worthy of Salty DOG of the Week honors.