Welcome back to Corner Stats! Game 3 of the NBA Finals is just ended! Let’s analyze some interesting numbers!
With a score of 123-109, Toronto won game 3, thus regaining the home advantage factor in the series. It is clear, however, that this result is influenced by some players’absence for Kerr. The Golden State’s coach has lost two key players for his offensive and defensive phases. Because if Klay Thompson is undoubtedly a heavy loss on both sides of the field, Looney is also a tough absence given what he guaranteed in defense.
Let’s analyze some numbers about him: with Looney on the court, the team’s Net Rating improves by 14.4 points per 100 possessions during the playoffs. The center is third in this ranking, behind only Draymond Green and Curry. A statistic that explains how Kevon is a fundamental resource for Kerr’s plans; in a particular, with Looney in the field the Defensive Rating improves by 6.5 points. Among the players with at least 100 minutes played is the second-best figure, behind only Green (6.7, essentially the same value). If you then go to see the numbers of who should replace him, the comparison is cruel: Jordan Bell worsens the team’s Defensive Rating by 8 points, the worst of all the Warriors. Cousins played just a few minutes so his values are truly reliable. The feeling is that DeMarcus does not give what Kerr request from his centers. Clearly, the GSW’s coach knows this well and still tries to get something positive out of the former Pelicans, but Cousins’defensive problems are quite obvious.
Toronto often attacked Cousins while he was on the court, involving him in both PNR and post-up situations. Same goes for Bell.
Another great absence on the defensive side is obviously Klay Thompson, one of the best Golden State’s perimeter defenders: in the first two games he had guarded Leonard, limiting him in different situations. Thompson’s absence, however, has moved Draymond to guard the Toronto’s star: GS’s big man has, therefore, had to focus on Leonard, who compared to Siakam (the most guarded player by Draymond in the previous two games), starts and leads a much higher number of possessions. This means that the Warriors lost one of the best off-the-ball defenders of the entire league, thus worsening its defensive efficiency.
For Toronto, on the other hand, we saw an incredible Danny Green‘s performance. As I am a Spurs fan, I know how Danny can be important for a coach. Green is probably one of the best all-time 3&D in the League: as Davide Rosa reported in his tweet, Danny in the Finals has a 3P% higher than 50%. I investigated: for Basketball Reference, considering all the Finals played in the entire life of the NBA, Danny Green is first by 3-point percentage (at least 50 attempts) with 51.6%. The first player we meet when we go down the rankings with a higher number of shots than Danny (91 attempted shots, 6 per game) is Ray Allen at the third place with 127 attempts and 43% of 3P%. A remarkable stats for Danny Green.
In conclusion, we are seeing some exciting NBA Finals: it is perhaps the best victory for basketball lovers.