Ever since the 3 point shot came in first in the NBA, then in college and finally in High School in 1987-88 we have the saying listed in the title of this Blog, “IF YOU LIVE BY THE 3, YOU MAY DIE BY THE 3”.
A great example of that comes from this seasons NBA championship series between the 3 point shooting Golden Boys Warriors and the more conventional shooting Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Golden Boys shot 41.6 as a team during the 82 game regular season but dropped to 37.3% for the Playoffs they dropped 4.3 percentage points.
As the pressure grows in each round of the NBA playoffs “the rim seems to get smaller and the ball seems to get bigger”, and the legs get more tired even for the big time players who live and rely on the 3.
During the regular season of 82 games Curry shot 45.4% and Thompson shot 42,5% from 3 point land.
In their final 3 games in the championship series after leading the Cavs, 3 games to 1 in those consecutive Final 3 losses Curry shot 42.9% and Thompson 35.6%……. last game 4-14 for Curry and 2 for 10 for Thompson equals just 6 for 24 and just 25% and team’s totals for the last 3 games 44 for 123 for 36.1%, Game 5 14-43 as a team for 32.6%. Game 6 15-39 as a team, for 38.5% and Game 7 15-41 as a team, for 36.6%
The Warrior Golden Boy’s were 97-253 overall from the floor in those final 3 games for just 38.3%. They also took 123 of their FGA as 3’s for 48.5% of their FGA’s.
3’s may be O.K. if built for the regular season, but not overall for in the playoffs. In the colleges games up to forty games compared up to 22 maximum in high school games in Maine (plus the tournament games are played on 94 feet college size floors which are10 feet longer then the regulation HS length of 84 feet) and in the NBA 82 regular season games plus playoffs a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 28
As the season grows longer. and as the games add up, the legs get more tired.
So at least for this year in the Warriors blowing a 3-1 game lead much could be placed on the saying, “If you Live by the three, you may die by the 3″, especially in pressure games when the rim seems to get smaller, the ball seems to get bigger and shooters lose their legs because of fatigue.
P.S. Hard to evaluate college 3 point shooting ability for the NBA draft as it is 3 feet farther at 25 feet (except for the straight 3 point line to the corner shots (23’6”) and that makes a big difference in shooting skill and percentages from the NBA 3 point range and line and the college 3 point line at 22 feet.