There were a lot of storylines out of Game 5. The Warriors had a massive win and a devastating loss all in one game. Kawhi Leonard looked limited until he suddenly didn’t and took over for a stretch of the fourth. There were injuries and huge shots and drama for a full 48 minutes. We finally had a great NBA Finals game.
However, what decided this game was far more straightforward: Three-pointers.
No advanced stats needed for this: One team knocked down their threes, the other did not.
The Warriors hit 20 on 47.6 percent shooting and could not miss on the long threes above the break. The Raptors hit eight on 25 percent shooting.
If you prefer, he are the shooting charts for the Warriors and Raptors.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 12-of-27 from three (44.4 percent) and the rest of the team shot 8-of-15.
“I think the fact that Steph and Klay were able to get off 14 and 13 threes is too many,” Kyle Lowry said. “They got off way too many threes. For guys like them, they’re going to make — you give them that many threes, they’re going to make some. So we let them get too many threes off.”
On the flip side, Danny Green was 0-of-4, Lowry 1-of-6, and even Kawhi Leonard 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. Those core shooters simply have to better next game, or they will have another chance in Game 7. Because we know Curry and Thompson will keep shooting.
How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?
After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.
Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.
But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.
Popovich, via ESPN:
“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.
And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.
Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.
Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.
Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.
But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.
The Milwaukee Bucks keep right on rolling, they won their 18th straight on Saturday night, cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now they’re going to have to keep this winning streak going without point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe will miss at least two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced Saturday. The injury happened Friday night in a win against Memphis.
An avulsion fracture is where a strain to ligament pulls a little bit of bone off where the two connect. It sounds worse than it is medically, and while it hurts rest is usually the only treatment needed.
Bledsoe is averaging 15 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Bucks, shooting 34.4 percent from three, playing solid defense, and providing another ball handler and shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee has been +4.1 points per 100 possessions this season with Bledsoe on the court.
George Hill, who has had a strong season for Milwaukee off the bench, will step into the starting role for now.
The injury comes at a rough time as the Buck hit a tougher part of the schedule this week, facing Dallas (which may be without Luka Doncic) and the Lakers on Thursday.