Through three games of the NBA Finals, the average margin of victory is 26 points.
So, on the one hand, the series, which Golden State leads 2-1, is as close as it can be. On the other hand, the Warriors and Cavs are worlds apart.
Why is that?
“It hasn’t been just this series, and it hasn’t just been the conference finals. It’s been throughout (the playoffs),” Bleacher Report NBA analyst Ric Bucher said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “What’s been surprising is that you get to the conference finals and you get to the Finals and you would expect that at this point, the teams know each other so well and they’re so talented that they’re not going to let games get away from them. But then you look at the way these particular teams play and the way the game is played in general, and I believe that the advent and the popularity of the three-point shot and how prevalent it has become in everybody’s offense (is a big reason there have been so many blowouts).
“It wasn’t that long ago that the only way you got there was having a big man that could post up, and you had to have the ability to score in the paint and around the basket to get this far in any season,” Bucher continued. “Well, now it’s changed. Now you have to have three-point shooting. Why is that? Why would that lead to blowouts? Well, because if that’s what you rely on – especially if you rely on it to get back into games – and you start taking them and missing them and you’re shooting them to try to cover up a deficit and come back, if you’re not hitting them, that leads to long rebounds and run-outs with the other team. It’s almost a do-or-die situation. The threes are either going to get you back in it, or they’re going to put you in a hole you can’t get out of.”
The Warriors shot 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) from three in Game 2 and won by 33 points. In Game 3, they shot 9-of-33 (27.3 percent) and lost by 30.
“They didn’t stop shooting them,” Bucher said. “It seemed like a lot of those missed three-pointers resulted in Cleveland run-outs. And conversely, when Cleveland is hitting threes, now you have to take the ball out of the basket, they’ve added three points and you’ve got to start from scratch to build an opportunity to get your shot. So with that being a big factor in the game these days, I think that’s why these games seem to run hard in one direction or the other.”