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Thursday, June 2, 2016

10 Stats to Know for the NBA Finals





10 Stats to know for the NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers begin the NBA Finals on Thursday, and it's a completely different series than last year. We've looked at what the Warriors and Cavaliers have to do to win, and we've examined some role players to watch. Now, let's get numerical. Here are 10 stats to keep in mind as Game 1 approaches:

1. The Cavs' 3-point shooting has been insane. In the playoffs, they are taking 34.6 3-pointers per game and making 43.4 percent of them. Both of those marks lead the league. This long-distance shooting is absurd, and it is the reason they are scoring 116.2 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs.

2. In the regular season against the Warriors, Cleveland struggled from the 3-point line. The Cavs took 49 3s, and made 24.5 percent of them. Both of those marks were lower against Golden State than any other team.

3. This is the first time that the two top teams in 3-pointers made have met in the NBA Finals, per ESPN Stats and Info. The defending champs set an NBA record with 1,077 made 3s this season -- no team had ever finished with 1,000 before. The Cavaliers made 880 3-pointers.

4. Cleveland is the only team scoring more points on catch-and-shoot opportunities than the Warriors in the playoffs. The Cavs are averaging 34.4 points that way in each game, and making 45.8 percent of their catch-and-shoot jumpers, per NBA.com.

5. Golden State has contested 66.2 percent of its opponents' shots in the postseason, which is third-highest among playoff teams, per NBA.com. It will need to keep that up against Cleveland. The Cavs, meanwhile, have contested only 57.1 percent of their opponents' shots, which is worse than any playoff team other than the Memphis Grizzlies.

6. The pass-happy Warriors are averaging a league-high 25 assists per game and a league-high 7.9 secondary assists per game, per NBA.com. The crazy thing is that both of those marks are lower than their regular-season numbers.

7. Golden State's "death lineup" -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green -- destroyed teams all year long, scoring 142 points per 100 possessions and allowing 95 points per 100 possessions in the regular season. This is the starting lineup that swung last year's NBA Finals, but it did not play against Cleveland in the two regular-season two meetings.

8. The Cavs also have a deadly lineup -- Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, LeBron James and Channing Frye -- but they only discovered it in the playoffs. That group has scored 133.2 points per 100 possessions and allowed 86.6 points per 100 possessions in the postseason, and Cleveland has made an outrageous 54.3 percent of its 3s with those five on the floor.

9. LeBron James has taken 251 shots in the playoffs, and 132 of them have come in the restricted area, where he has shot 72 percent. That's quite a ratio, but it makes sense because he has shot 42-for-119 (35 percent) outside of the restricted area.

10. The Warriors were second in the league in pace in the regular season, while the Cavs were 28th. In the playoffs, that has not changed -- Golden State has been the fastest team, and Cleveland has been slower than everybody but the Grizzlies and Detroit Pistons. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said they would try to push the pace, though. This is probably because they have scored 1.25 points per possession in transition in the postseason.

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