Warriors’ mid-range advantage was key in WCF vs. Rockets
The Golden State Warriors managed to hurt the Houston Rockets in a way their own Daryl Morey cult of threes and layups would have least expected — with the lost art of the mid-range jump shot.
In a best-of-seven series, the defending champions were actually even with the Rockets in many crucial statistics, but the latter saw one particular big disadvantage in one area, per Reddit user nowhathappenedwas.
The Rockets had predicated their entire season to shooting only high-efficiency shots — in Morey-speak: threes, free throws, and layups.
That showed, as the Rockets were only 8-of-31 from mid-range throughout the entire series, seen mostly as a bail-out shot within the Houston culture; while the Warriors were 48-of-120 (40 percent) from mid-range, which spelled the difference between the two high-octane offenses.
According to NBA Advanced Stats, these teams had eerily similar numbers in several areas, including 3-pointers: Warriors 86 to the Rockets’ 87, baskets in the restricted area baskets; 118 to 119, and free throws; 110 to 118.
The Rockets’ obsession with hoisting threes ultimately proved their ultimate demise, making only 31.4 percent of their 3-pointers, while the Warriors shot a comfortable 38.2 percent while attempting 52 less shots from distance throughout the series.
This very fact won’t deter Morey and faithful or make them admit the theory has certain holes to it, but the execution is what actually suffers with this team.
The likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant are all-around elite shooters, while Harden is a decent 3-point shooter at best, teeing up 11 shots from distance per game. The three Warriors all shot over 40 percent from deep throughout the season, and while they all slumped at some point in the series — it only proved a matter of time before the law of averages caught up to them.
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