Could it be that the Golden State Warriors, a team many are referring to as one of the best of all-time are all about one thing; making the 3-point shot or not? The last two wins, turning the series upside down, suggest that’s true, and it’s not just about Stephen Curry hitting them or not.
The Warriors have a 3-2 lead in their NBA Finals series against the Cavaliers. One thing that stands out is their 3-point shooting percentage during wins, and what happens when they lose. They won the first game in overtime, by 3 points. They shot 37% from beyond the arc. Good, but not special, which goes to show how close the game was.
The second game, the one the Cavaliers won in overtime 95-93? Only 22.9%, while Stephen Curry (2-of-15) sets a new record for 3-point misses in a Finals game. In game 3, a home win for the Cavaliers (96-91)? Only 35.3%. Curry shot well, 7-of-13, but the rest of the team was way off.
Then comes the change, with two double digit wins. A 103-82 drubbing in game 4; a 104-91 win (slightly misleading, it was a lot closer) in game 5. The Warriors shot 40% from beyond the arc in game 4. They were even better three days later, hitting 46.2% of their shots from downtown, helping create that late separation in another dominant fourth quarter
The fourth quarter is another point. The Warriors have been outscored just once in the five games during the fourth. That’s something that should be discussed as well. Depth, fatigue, and also a coach’s ability to put the right lineups on the floor at the right time. Obviously Kerr has the advantage of a deeper team, a better roster, without injuries getting in the way. But maybe he’s just better than David Blatt.
It’s not Curry’s 3’s that are winning the series. He did have a huge game 5 (37 points) and will win the series MVP if the Warriors take the prize, but it’s the ability of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and especially Andre Iguodala to be dangerous again.
Three pointers don’t come out of thin air. It comes from ball movement, movement without the ball and playing a special kind of small ball that the Cavaliers usually don’t have an answer for. But to live and die by the three, not a new saying, is probably truest of all about these Warriors, who represent the best of what the latest trend in the NBA has become, although no one else does it as well as they do so many times, which is why they’re so close to winning a championship.