The Warriors' Big Three Were the Worst Players on the Court in Game 3
You know how they say, "The series hasn't really begun until a team wins on the road"? Well, if that's the case, I guess we haven't watched an NBA Finals game yet.
Like the Warriors did in Games 1 and 2, the Cavaliers held serve in commanding fashion at the Q in last night's 30-point victory.
However, I find a flaw in the above aphorism because, the way I see it, this series is well underway. Sure, past the first quarter or two, it hasn't been the most entertaining start to an NBA Finals, but the first two games were nothing short of a jab-right cross combination to the head of a dominant Cleveland monster.
That then means that Cleveland's performance last night was a metaphorical uppercut to Golden State's jaw -- a warning, saying take a step back because we're not going down without a fight.
In doing so, the Cavaliers dealt a nasty cut to the Warriors all-important chin: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. As a threesome, the three played arguably their worst game of the playoffs and maybe even the last two years.
I mean, not to diminish his resiliency, but Harrison Barnes, with 18 points, 8 boards, and a nERD (a player ranking that measures a player's total contribution throughout the course of a game, based on efficiency) of 4.05, was the best Warrior on the floor last night.
So, what happened?
For starters, I wasn't sure if I was watching Steph or Sebastian Curry on my television.
After a great Game 2, the MVP returned to his struggling ways. He ended the game a respectable 6 of 13 from the floor and 3 of 9 from three for a total of 19 points. But, this is Steph Curry we're talking about.
He definitely didn't have his best shooting night, converting on a mere 2 of 6 open (defender within 4 to 6 feet) to wide open (defender 6 or more feet away) three-point attempts, according to NBA.com. However, it's his six turnovers to three assists that stand out most.
As a result of his off shooting night and inability to take care of the ball, Curry earned a nERD of -26.23, for third-worst on his team and in the entire game.
Here's how Steph's night went down in Vine form.
Due to his usual raw play and value as a defender, Green's middling night didn't quite stand out as much as the Warriors' backcourt. All the same, he didn't play well.
Green finished Game 3 with 6 points (on 2 of 8 shooting), 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in a team-high 35 minutes. Even his usual hard-nose defense seemed pretty soft last night. He finished the game with a Defensive Rating of 127.9, or 27.9 points above his cumulative playoff mark.
It's no wonder he was so mad.
But, hey man, take a look in the mirror. In terms of nERD (-31.34), you were the second-worst player on your team last night.
That brings us to Keen--I mean, Klay Thompson, who was the worst of the Warrior stars in last night's matchup.
With an average of just 13 points, on a True Shooting Percentage of 49.7%, to start the Finals, Thompson hasn't been playing or producing at his usual level.
Last night was maybe his lowest point -- gimpy thigh or not.
In 30 minutes, Thompson scored a measly 10 points on 1 of 7 from beyond the arc and 4 of 13 overall. His Offensive Rating of 67.2 points per 100 possessions was better than only Ian Clark's, and his True Shooting Percentage of 34.9% was worse than all but Green and sharpshooters Andrew Bogut and Anderson Varejao.
Credit the Cavaliers, though, because, according to NBA.com, Thompson was defended either tightly or very tightly on 8 of his 13 shot attempts. On those eight shots, Thompson hit three, but he had to work to get open and get his shots. As any jump shooter will tell you, that makes for a tough night offensively.
And on the defensive end, well...
The trio's poor performance, off night, or whatever you want to call it has caused the Warriors' odds to take the Finals to decline, albeit slightly, as they now stand at 81.15% -- down 8.64% from where they stood prior to Game 3.
Still, they are most likely to end it all in Game 5. Our algorithm gives them a 33.44% chance of closing out at Oracle in 4-1 fashion.