5 Weird Stats From the First Two Games of the NBA Finals
We're two games into the 2015 NBA Finals, and nothing is going as planned.
The Golden State Warriors were supposed to be heavy favorites going into this series (by 78.76% according to our algorithms), yet a severely depleted Cavaliers team is heading back to Cleveland with a 1-1 split. What's more, the Cavs were really only a couple of rimmed-out Game 1 buzzer-beaters away from taking both games in Oakland, the most difficult away game that the NBA has to offer.
Let's just say LeBron James happened. A lot.
Normally, we'd be able to look at the box scores and draw connections between the numbers and what's happening on the floor, but some of the stats so far are downright incongruous with what we've come to know about these teams and what we think we've seen with our peepers in this series.
Here are five of the weirdest stats to come out of this year's Finals over the first two games.
1. LeBron James' Finals Net Rating: -7.4
Saying that LeBron James is carrying the Cavaliers on his back right now is the most overused, cliché statement about this Finals, and yet somehow also a massive understatement. Through two games, he's averaging 41.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 8.5 assists in 48.1 minutes per game. That's right, he's averaging more than a game per game in terms of playing time (both contests went into overtime, but you get the point).
The funny thing is, despite the fact that the only reason the rag-tag Cavs were in either of these games is because of James, he's got a jarring -7.4 Net Rating (points scored by the Cavs minus point allowed when he's on the floor) over two games. Normally we'd look at that and his 40.3% field goal percentage on 36.0 attempts per game and say that he's hurting the Cavs more than he's helping them, but the deplorable 23.1% Effective Field Goal Percentage (weighted twos and threes) and 63.5 Offensive Rating (points scored per 100 possessions) that the team posted in the 10 minutes that LeBron was on the bench more than illustrate the necessity for his 43.3% usage rate.
2. Stephen Curry's Finals Effective Field Goal Percentage: 39.5%
This season's MVP, Stephen Curry, is shooting 34.9% from the field and 19.0% from deep in the Finals, for an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 39.5%. Just a reminder, Curry shot 48.7% from the field and 44.3% from three-point range this season and his 59.4% Effective Field Goal Percentage ranked him second in the whole NBA.
Within that 19.0% three-point percentage, he of several NBA shooting records added a negative one to his résumé in Game 2 by going 2-for-15 from long range, setting the mark for the most missed triples in a Finals game at 13. Congratulations, John Starks; that is no longer your claim to fame (ok, it still kind of is).
3. Matthew Dellavedova's Finals PER: 3.8
LeBron's wingmen, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, are both out for this series, so it was Matthew Dellavedova who came through and made a huge impact during Cleveland's Game 2 victory. Anyone who watched the game would tell you that, but his numbers don't exactly tell the same story.
For the series, Delly has a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 3.8, which is downright awful. He's also got a lousy 35.0% Effective Field Goal Percentage and a whopping 35.5% turnover rate. But seriously, his tenacity in going for rebounds and loose balls made a big difference, not to mention his two clutch free throws at the end of Game 2 (his only attempts of the series) and the fact that he made Steph Curry do this:
4. Golden State's Finals Three-Point Percentage: 28.6%
The Warriors led the NBA in three-point percentage this season at 39.8%, and the Cavaliers have cut that down to 28.6% over the last two games. People are quick to say that Golden State's shots will start falling eventually, but don't sleep on the fact that the Cavs were holding opponents to 28.1% shooting from long range in the playoffs before reaching the Finals as well.
5. Tristan Thompson's Second Chance Points in the Finals: 0
Tristan Thompson has used these playoffs to earn himself a nice payday in restricted free agency this summer, mostly due to his rebounding prowess. The Finals have been no different, as he's averaged 14.5 boards per game over the first two contests, including a jaw-dropping 6.5 on the offensive glass. The weird thing about that? He hasn't recorded a single second chance bucket from those 13 total offensive rebounds. Against the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, by contrast, he averaged 4.3 second chance points per game over four contests. In this series, through two games, he's only scored four points total.