The Cavaliers made 10.7 three-pointers per game this season, but in the playoffs they're hitting 14.4 a night. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the two most prolific three-point shooters ever (for a single season), both made more threes last round than anybody ever had in a playoff series before:
Nothing sums up Warriors better than fact that Steph Curry (32) & Klay Thompson (30) BOTH just broke record for 3s in a playoff series (28)— Mark Van Deusen (@LucidSportsFan) May 31, 2016
On an NBA Finals media conference call Tuesday, I asked ABC/ESPN broadcasters Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson if long range shooting would be the dominant storyline of the Warriors-Cavs series:
The full audio of the conference call is available here from ESPN Audio (my question comes at the 36-minute mark) and the transcript can be found here.
Here's my question and their answers (listen above):
The Cavs made about 10.5 threes per game during the regular season and they are up to 14.5 in the playoffs. Curry and Thompson both hit more threes in a series than anyone ever has. So this finals, is it just going to be all threes? And do you think that’s good for the game or do you think it’s a bad trend?
VAN GUNDY - "Listen, I think the defense dictates often what shots you end up taking. From Cleveland’s standpoint, they are going to try to attack the basket. When Toronto didn’t in Game 1 or 2 choose to protect the paint and they chose to stay at home with the three-point shooters, they took less threes because it was dunks and layups.
When teams attack the basket and help is created, that second defender comes to the ball and the ball is sprayed out to the perimeter, both teams have the shooting to make 20 threes in a game, as we’ve seen.
And so this is why individual defense is so important, to try to keep the ball out of the paint and not have to give too much help. But both teams create those opportunities.
You know, I think a little bit more balance would be actually better for the game, but the rules are now, it’s the appropriate use — when you have this type of shooting on both teams, it’s the appropriate use of the three-point shot.
The one thing that — my pet peeve is when the ball goes in from the three-point line, everyone in the media talks about great ball movement. When the same ball movement creates a three-point shot and they don’t go in, the media then talks about, they are settling.
I think you just have to declare, is it great ball movement; you have to make your decision on the shot when the ball is in flight, not wait to see if the ball goes in or not as to whether it was great ball movement or on a particular possession if that was a settled type of possession."
JACKSON - "I think we are going to see a lot of three-point shooting in the finals, obviously because of the Warriors, that’s their strength and that’s what has gotten them to be the team with a legitimate chance to go back-to-back.
And I think what Jeff pointed out, Cleveland has the ability to read a defense and either attack the paint area or be a three-point shooting team.
I think the consistent thing with both teams, which makes them three-point shooting teams, neither team outside of LeBron James has in my opinion a legitimate guy that you’ve got to worry about on the block.
Kevin Love had success in his past and there’s been times where he’s been successful, but if you’re matching him up with Draymond Green, I think it’s an interesting battle and I think Draymond Green can hold his own defending Kevin Love on the block.
Both teams, neither one of them have a strength outside of James’s ability in posting up, so I expect to see a lot of driving kicks and spot-up shots and play-making alone at the three-point line."