LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas star and Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Isaiah Joe wrapped up the regular season with his most productive back-to-back performances since January by averaging 14.0 points on a combined 8-of-18 field goal shooting (including 7-of-15 from 3 for 46.7%) and 5-of-6 from the free throw line (83.3%) as the Sixers swept the Orlando Magic in a two-game series over the weekend, earning Joe recognition as the Pro Hoop Hogs Player of the Week.
Joe (6-4 shooting guard, Fort Smith native) first had 11 points (4-of-6 field goals, including 3-of-5 from 3) in 7 minutes off the bench in the Sixers’ Eastern Conference top-seed-clinching, 122-97 win over the Magic on Friday, then he followed that up with 17 points (4-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-10 from 3, and 5-of-6 free throws), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 4 drawn offensive fouls in 33 minutes off the bench in the Sixers’ 128-117 win on Sunday.
In the last 6 games he played in beginning May 5, Joe averaged 7.0 points in 11.8 minutes per game while shooting 47.8% from 3. His heaviest game action and best production of the season came in January when in a consecutive 5-game stretch he started once and scored in double figures four times (including a career-high 18 points against Atlanta) while averaging 12.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 29.0 minutes per game as he shot 40.8% from the field, including 17-of-39 from 3 for 43.6%, and made 5-of-5 free throws.
Joe scored in double figures 6 times and finished the regular season with a Player Efficiency Rating of 9.53. He played in 41 games for Philadelphia (49-23 for the best record in the Eastern Conference) and averaged 3.7 points in 9.3 minutes per game while shooting 36.1% from the field, including 35-of-96 from 3 for 36.8% from 3, and 75.0% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers were 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 steals.
During the NBA all star break in March, Joe excelled in the three-game G-League playoffs in Orlando, Fla., as he averaged 23.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 43.8% field goal shooting (including 39.3% from 3), and 87.5% free throw shooting while leading the Delaware Blue Coats to the G-League title game.
Linked below are highlights of Joe from last week’s games against the Magic …
* Former Arkansas star Bobby Portis (6-10 forward / center, native of Little Rock) helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 3-1 record last week while averaging 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in the 4 outings as Milwaukee ended the regular season as the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference with at 46-26. Portis’ best game was his 12th double-double of the season — 10 points, a season-high 15 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block in 21 minutes off the bench in the Bucks’ 114-102 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, May 11. Portis finished the regular season ranked 40th in the NBA with a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.00. He played in 66 games (with 7 starts) and was the Bucks’ fifth leading scorer and second leading rebounder, averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds (ranks 33rd in the NBA), and 1.1 assists in 20.8 minutes per contest while shooting 52.3% from the field, including 47.1% from 3 (ranked 3rd in the NBA), and 74.0% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 19.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. Portis had 12 double-doubles in ’20-21, he’s scored in double figures in 42 games (including seven games of 20 or more points), and he rebounded in double figures in 13 games. Portis was a 9-time recipient of the PHH POW honor.
Linked below are a few highlights of Portis plays from last week’s games …
* Former Arkanas star Daniel Gafford (6-10 center, native of El Dorado) averaged 10.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.0 block in 4 games last week at the Washington Wizards went 2-2, including winning their final two games of the regular season to lock up the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament this week that will send two teams from the 4-team event to the playoffs. The Wizards will have two chances to advance — by winning at 7-seed Boston on Tuesday for the right to advance to the playoffs as the 7-seed, or if they lose that play-in game they’ll get another shot as they’ll take on the winner of No. 9-seed Indiana and No. 10-seed Charlotte for the right to enter the playoffs as the 8-seed. Since joining the team in a trade from Chicago on the last day of the NBA trade deadline in late March, Gafford helped Washington to a 17-6 record when he was in the lineup. In his 23 games with the Wizards, Gafford averaged 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 17.7 minutes per game while shooting 68.1% from the field and 67.2% from the free throw line. A six-time recipient of the PHH POW honor, Gafford finished the regular season with a Player Efficiency Rating of 22.26 that ranked 20th in the NBA. His per-36-minute numbers with the team were 20.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks. Combining his numbers at Chicago, Gafford played in 54 games in ’20-21 (includes 12 starts) and averaged 7.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 14.6 minutes per game while shooting 68.4% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line. He recorded two double-doubles (both with Washington), scored in double figures 16 times (12 with the Wizards), and rebounded in double figures three times (twice with the Wizards).
Linked below are a few highlights of Gafford plays from last week’s games …
* Former Arkansas star Patrick Beverley (6-1 guard) played in three games for the Los Angeles Clippers last week, including an 11-point, 4-assist, 1-block performance on Sunday in the team’s regular-season-ending, 117-112 loss at Oklahoma City. Beverley played 6 games in May after missing all but 2 games in a two-month span due to a couple of injuries — a hand that required surgery and knee soreness prior to injuring his hand. A two-time winner of the PHH POW honor, Beverley played in 37 games while having missed 35 games for the Clippers (47-25 for the 4-seed in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs). The three-time NBA All Defensive team honoree had a Player Efficiency Rating of 12.00. Beverley had season highs of 20 points (against San Antonio), 9 rebounds (against Phoenix), 8 assists (against San Antonio), 3 steals (against Oklahoma City), and 3 blocks (against Chicago). He averaged 7.5 points. 3.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 22.5 minutes per game while shooting 42.3% from the field, including 39.7% from 3, and 80.0% from the free throw line. Beverley’s per-36-minute numbers were 12.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks.
* Former Arkansas star Mason Jones (6-4 combo guard) was released from his two-way contract by the Philadelphia 76ers in early May, marking the second time in his rookie season that he was waived as the Houston Rockets — the team that originally signed Jones to an undrafted free agent two-way contract — did the same before the Sixers signed him. Jones played in a total of 32 games (26 with Houston and 6 with Philadelphia) in ’20-21, averaging 5.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 10.4 minutes per game while shooting 42.3% from the field, including 36.4% from 3, and 62.5% from the free throw line. Jones’ per-36-minute numbers were 18.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. Jones scored in double figures five times, including a career-high 24 points against San Antonio in January when he played for the Rockets. Jones won the PHH POW honor once this season. Jones signed his UFA two-way contract with Houston in November just after the NBA Draft, then the Rockets waived him in March before signing him to one 10-day contract followed by the Sixers signing him to a two-way deal.