Diehlman at Halftime: An NBA Weekly Column

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It’s always nice to see players supporting other players. When the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat battled in Philly on Friday, May 6, for Game 3, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and former 76ers guard Seth Curry showed up to watch on the sideline.

Curry and Andre Drummond were dealt to Brooklyn back in February as part of the Ben Simmons-James Harden swap. Curry is a free agent after next season, and so many fans are wondering if he would come back to the 76ers if things don’t work out with the Nets. His career average from the three-point range is 43.9%, which is the third-highest in NBA history. I think it would be nice to see him in red, white, and blue again– if he wants to come back.

We have a coaching hire to announce. The Golden State Warriors assistant coach, Mike Brown, will be hired as the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings once the season concludes. In 2009, Brown won Coach of the Year with the Cleveland Cavaliers and served as the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Finally, I’ve been seeing this story about an international prospect that you might find intriguing. Victor Wembanyama is already projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2023 draft. I know, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Wembanyama, an 18-year-old from France, is said to have defensive skills like Rudy Gobert, offensive versatility like Kristaps Porziņģis, and passing skills of the now back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokić.

Yeah, this league might get wild in a few years.

So, who’s raising eyebrows at the moment?

Highlight, Lowlight, Random Stat

Highlight

When the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Utah Jazz in the first round, it was their first playoff series victory since 2011. That was when Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks defeated LeBron Jame’s Miami Heat in the Finals.

Dallas, now led by Luka Dončić, is up against the red-hot Phoenix Suns. The series is tied 2-2 after the Mavericks won Games 3 and 4 at home. In my bracket predictions, I had the Suns in six because I knew that Dončić playing like his usual self would result in at least one or two Dallas wins.

Suns guard Chris Paul had himself two games he’d rather forget. In Game 3, Paul, not known to be careless with the ball, committed seven first-half turnovers and finished with just four assists. That fell on his 37th birthday, by the way. Then, he fouled out of Game 4 after only playing 23 minutes.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the final matchups of this series. Even the New Orleans Pelicans took the Suns to six games, despite Suns guard Devin Booker being injured for most of the first round. Game 5 is on Tuesday, May 10 at 10 p.m.

Lowlight

Famous plays in sports history cause mixed reactions from fans.

Sometimes, the end of the game goes in your team’s favor, causing you to jump around in excitement. At other points, your jaw drops when you realize your team just lost in a heartbreaking fashion.

As a 76ers fan, the Kawhi Leonard game-winning, series-clinching buzzer beater in the 2019 Conference Semifinals still lives rent-free in my head. Boston Celtics fans got to experience a soul-crushing moment in Game 3 on Saturday, May 7.

With Milwaukee Bucks leading 103-101, Boston’s Marcus Smart intentionally missed his second free throw. There were multiple layup attempts missed until Al Horford seemed to tip the ball into the basket as the clock hit zero. However, the replay showed that Horford still had the ball in his hand when the buzzer sounded.

The Bucks held on to win their first home game of the series. This is a tough loss for the Celtics.

First, despite Jayson Tatum only scoring tens points, the loss came down to the end. Also, Milwaukee’s largest lead was 14 points. Making a comeback just to fall short is disappointing, but it happens.

Don’t be shocked if Game 4 is intense as well.

Random Stat

See if you can guess which player I’m talking about.

He has started 208 games out of the 224 he’s played in the last three seasons. This person has averaged 12.5 points, as well as 40.9% from beyond the arc, across those three years. Finally, he signed a five-year, $90 million contract last summer, which is the largest contract for an undrafted player in NBA history.

If you guessed Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson, you’re correct! And with that, he has completely fallen out of Miami’s rotation.

Robinson has played a grand total of one minute in the series against the 76ers. That generous amount of time came in Game 2. In Games 1, 3, and 4, Robinson was labeled as DNP-CD, or “Did Not Play- Coach’s Decision.”

Although I understand that Miami has Max Strus and Victor Oladipo playing solid minutes, Robinson being a playoff benchwarmer is mind-boggling. Why is the Heat paying a regular-season starter $18 million per year to sit on the bench in the playoffs?

Even though Robinson playing significant minutes for the rest of the postseason seems unlikely, he can at least go to the Miami beaches and count his money.

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.

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