NBA finals Lakers Celtics: Putting Ray Allen's dismal night in context

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Rallen_sad.jpg0-13 from the field, 0-8 from the three point line.

Whew. There’s really no way of getting around that. That’s a pretty terrible performance. It’s so bad, it deserves some cliches. Here are a few for you to use around the office today! “Ray Allen couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat!” “Ray Allen couldn’t hit a barn door with a twelve gauge!” “Ray Allen couldn’t make a bucket welding torch, fifty tons of sheet metal and a class A welding instructor!”

Okay, the last one’s not really a cliche, but if you use it they’ll never know. The point is, Allen’s 0-fer last night was the kind of shooting night that gives pure shooters like Allen nightmares. The rim just not cooperating. The Lakers’ defense also stepped up big times, interrupting passing lanes and forcing Allen further and further into the corner like he was that kid at the end of “The Blair Witch Project.”

But how bad was Allen’s night in comparison to the other NBA Finals players to knock down seven or more threes in a game? Not really all that terrible. Want to know how non-terrible it was?

There were three players to have hit seven threes in a Finals game going into Sunday night. Scottie Pippen with the Bulls against Utah in Game 3 of the ’97 series, Kenny Smith in Game 1 of the ’95 series, and Ray Allen in the deciding Game 6 of the 2008 series. Obviously Allen now leads the pack with 8 in Game 2 which was then followed by last night’s disaster. So I decided to take a look at how those shooters did in the games following those impressive performances. Obviously, Allen closed out the series with 7 3’s in 08, so he didn’t hit any threes in the next game as there was no game. But the other two?

Smith played just 19 minutes in Game 2, going 0-2 from the field and 0-1 from the arc on his way to 2 points. And Pippen? Though he went 7 for 16 from the field, he only went 1 for 4 from the arc in Game 4.

So in four players to hit 7 or more threes in a Finals game, they have a combined 1 three pointer after doing so… between them.

But wait! There’s more! Smith went on to shoot a combined 1 for 9 through the final three games of the Rockets’ sweep. Pippen went on to shoot 2 of 11 in the remainder of the Bulls’ six game win to close out the Jordan era.

So right now, factoring every game for a player after he hit seven or more three pointers from the field in a Finals game, those players are a combined 3 for 28 from the three point line.

3/33. .11% from three point range through seven games. Obviously, Allen’s closing performance in 08 puts a skew on things. But that’s still a stunning number. And while it’s simply a statistical anomaly in the grand scheme of things (don’t get us started on the hot hand debate), it’s something at the very least trivia worthy to track as the series goes on. It’s also worth mentioning that Allen’s 0-8 from downtown was by far the worst performance of any of those players. In the world of downtown, he was the hobo slinging his ’40 all over the sidewalk making people uncomfortable. But at least he’s got company to a certain degree, historically.

Oh, and one more thing. With all that terrible shooting in those subsequent games? The player who hit 7 or more in a game won all three series.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.