3-Pointers: Heat Bench Needs to Heat Up; Spurs Need to Keep Momentum
An idea of how 3-point shooting will impact the NBA finals for each team.
Two of the Heat’s starting five have been hitting 3-pointers at a steady percentage.
Chris Bosh, the Heat’s power forward, leads the team in 3-point percentages at 48.4 percent beyond the arch. Bosh has done extremely well in the postseason after only shooting 28.4 percent during the regular season. His 3-point percentage was also over 50.0 percent in last year’s postseason.
Also, Lebron James has 72 points in 3-pointers so far, going 38.7 percent beyond the arch in this year’s playoffs, second to Ray Allen’s 81 points.
The bench players have not been shooting as well as they typically do from long range.
Allen, usually the hottest hand off the bench, has been 36.5% from 3-point range in the playoffs, making only 27 of 74 baskets so far. That’s pretty good, but Allen usually does better. If he can heat up, Miami can pull away with big leads and Allen can earn another championship ring.
Mike Miller, another constant threat from outside has gone cold in the playoffs, hitting only 27.8 percent from downtown, much lower than his 41.7 percent during the regular season.
Shane Battier–even though we may not see him getting much game time as he only played 4 minutes in June–has also gone cold, hitting just 23 percent (14 of 61) of his 3 point shots in the playoffs, after hitting 43 percent from 3-point range during the regular season.
Battier and Miller were crucial in last year’s NBA finals against Oklahoma City. All three bench players–especially Allen, who holds the title of most 3-pointers made in the playoffs–need to start feeling it in order to lift some of the burden off the Big 3, while Bosh’s strong shooting should continue.
The starting three outside players for the Spurs have been shooting 3’s well so far this postseason.
Kawhi Leonard, only 21 and starting at shooting guard, has made his mark on the Spurs’ offense this year, and definitely has a knack for playoff shooting. Since his debut, his playoff percentages in both field goals and three-points best his regular season percentages. Currently at 41.7% beyond the arch, he is the Spurs’ second leading perimeter shooter behind Matt Bonner.
Tony Parker, the great point guard who is driving the Spurs, is also shooting at a higher rate beyond the arch compared to his regular season averages. He is at 37.5% on 9 for 24 shooting, one of the greatest 3-point percentages in his career.
Overall, the Spurs have shot 36.2% from 3-point range in this year’s playoffs, the second best in the 2013 playoffs, trailing only the Golden State Warriors.
Danny Green has shot slightly better from behind the 3-point line since the playoffs started, averaging a stellar 43.1% (28 of 65 3-point shots). With Danny Green as a starter, Manu Ginobili becomes the sixth-man of the team, coming off the bench to further strengthen the offense and bring in more long-range firepower. Ginobili is not shooting great at 32.4% from downtown, and will need to be a bigger weapon in the finals.
Meanwhile, Matt Bonner is doing the best he’s ever done in the postseason. Bonner’s 50 percent from 3-point land, up from 44.2% during the regular season, is currently in the top three NBA 3-point field-goal percentage. If Bonner keeps shooting like he has, the Spurs will definitely have a great go-to guy for perimeter shots.
If the Spurs want to win what might be the last ring with the Big 3 together, the 3-point aces will have to be dangerous.