What’s the biggest factor in determining whether a team wins an NBA playoff game? We mean the biggest factor besides accumulating more points than one’s opponents.
Is it being home, an NBA team’s height, or having charge calls reversed during the last minute of the game?
Certainly, those things help, but in the era of heaving up copious amounts of long range shots, one must ask how important is a team’s three-point field goal percentage when it comes to wins and losses?
In the 2018 NBA Playoffs, teams with a higher three-point field goal percentage than their opponents are 55-22-1. The “1” being a postseason tilt in which both teams had the same three-point shooting percentage.
To put it another way, in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, teams with the better three-point field goal percentage have a .666 winning percentage. The most accurate three-point shooting teams were 34-11 in the first round, 12-7 in the second, and 9-4-1 in the conference finals.
Interestingly, the Houston Rockets, known for jacking up threes, won five games in which their opponents shot better from beyond arch.
Golden State won four such contests. That includes an opening round victory over the San Antonio Spurs in which they shot 18.5 percent from three-point land—the lowest single-game percentage of the playoffs.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers each won three games in which their opponents bested them from deep. The Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Utah Jazz tallied two such triumphs and the New Orleans Pelicans notched one.
The Oklahoma City Thunder put up the highest three-point field goal percentage in a losing effort. In game three of the opening round, the Thunder fell to the Utah Jazz, 115-102. Russell Westbrook and company shot 50 percent from triples-ville while the Jazz shot 38.2 percent.
Three-point field goal percentage is not a definitive indicator of who’s going to win or lose. There’s a lot of factors fans need to consider. One of those factors is three-point field goals attempted.
The four teams in the conference finals—Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, and Cavaliers—are respectively 10th, 11th, 13th, and 14th in three-point field goal percentage. Yet, they are the top four teams in the postseason when it comes to most three-point attempts and makes.
In the 2018 NBA Playoffs, the Rockets made the most threes with 228. No other team broke the 200-mark.
In other words, the more games a team plays, the more three-pointers a team takes, the more likely it is for their three-point percentage to wane.
By the way, the Minnesota Timberwolves have the best three-point field goal percentage in the 2018 playoffs, at 41.3 percent (they are the only team above 40 percent), but they played just five games.
The Golden State Warriors had the best three-point field goal percentage in the regular season at 39.1 percent. The Celtics were second with 37.7.
The big take away from all this number crunching is when your team struggles to find their range from way downtown they’ll likely struggle to pick up the “W.” So, root for your teams’ bombs to go in.
Now that all professional athletes have attained much information regarding the significance of three-point percentage, they must consider adopting and using the strategy as soon as possible. Research has shown that doing so would most certainly help in the NBL playoffs of this year.