NBA Finals 2016: Analyzing where the Golden State Warriors lost the plot
The NBA Finals of 2016 witnessed a rematch of last year with Western Conference Champions, the Golden State Warriors facing off against the Eastern Conference Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams were led by their talisman Stephen Curry and LeBron James, respectively. It promised to be a spectacular encounter, with James’ supporting cast of young point guard Kyrie Irving and sharpshooter Kevin Love fit for this year’s series, unlike last year, where they both were out with injuries. The Warriors, like last year, went into the series as clear favourites. However, after opening up to a dominating 3-1 series lead, they squandered the series to the Cavaliers, losing 93-89 in Game 7, thus losing the series 4-3 and becoming the first team in the history of the NBA to let a 3-1 series lead in the Finals slip. It is important to note where they lost the plot, especially considering the fact that they had the most successful season in NBA history, with an unprecedented regular season record of 73 wins and only 9 losses.
Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ point guard, had a phenomenal regular season. He shattered his previous best record (286, in 2015) of 3-point field goals made, by shooting a phenomenal 402 this year. He was unanimously chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the season and was looking in peak form for the post-season Playoffs. A knee injury halted his progress, but he seemed in optimal condition to face the Cavs.
However, just as his team looked to him for support, he faltered miserably. His statistics took a major plunge, as can be witnessed below.
A look at the table is enough to show that Curry lost his edge when it truly mattered. He did not attack the basket as much as he would during regular season games. Known for his ability to catapult a deadly shot from almost anywhere, he became almost overly cautious and was dribbling the ball way too much, almost unlike his usual style of play. He continuously settled for bad jumpers and hence, missed shots that he would normally make easily. Losing his scoring ability and attacking threat was a major factor in the Warriors’ collapse in the Finals.