The Golden State Warriors are full measure for their historic 73 win regular season, ignore the preseries hype about the 57 win Cavs, it isn’t going to be easy for LeBron James and company to steal the NBA Finals away from the better team. Cleveland’s best hope is to do what got them here and that’s to empty their three-point clip of every shot they can find.
If the journey to the Finals has proven anything in these playoffs it’s you can’t win without superior three-point performances. The four Conference Finals teams hoisted almost 1900 three-balls before their respective series concluded, the winners taking and making more than anyone else in the postseason.
Stats source: Basketball-Reference.com
Surprisingly, the Cavaliers have been taking and making more three-pointers than even the long bomb happy Warriors in the playoffs. Almost 4-in-10 Cavs shots have been from three and they’ve been hitting them at an incredible 43 percent clip. At least they were until running into the Dubs in Game One of the Finals.
Both the Cavs and Warriors have played excellent three-point defense during the postseason and both teams only shot 33.3 percent from three in Game One. However, the Cavaliers went away from what has been successful for them in the playoffs and only took a quarter of their usual shots from deep and tried to beat Golden State by going inside. That was a mistake.
As dangerous as Golden State is from beyond the arc their midrange game is deadly as well and where the Warriors have shown they can defend the two-point shot effectively, the Cavaliers haven’t. Cleveland has been giving up over 51 percent shooting from two-point range to opponents in the postseason and the Warriors torched them for 56.7 percent from inside the arc in Game One.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has been suggesting his team needs to pick up the pace, but that would be playing into the strength of the fastest paced team in this year’s playoffs. The Cavs have played at the fifth slowed pace in the postseason so far, ramp up to anything resembling the relative light-speed the Dubs are used to and Cleveland will be unleashing an avalanche of turnovers – Cavs turnovers specifically.
Lue needs to get his team back to what works for them. Cleveland has to find more three-point shots. His Big Three of James, Love and Irving took 13 threes in Game One, just 3.2 less than their combined average, but Smith and Frye only hoisted 4 threes between them and they should be north of 10 combined.
Smith and Frye are the Cavs best three-point threats, Lue has to find a way to get these two more shots, a lot more shots if he’s to give his team a chance to upset the Warriors. It’s no time to be shy now, empty that three-point clip Cavaliers and you just might beat the Warriors at their own game.