Rockets set astronomical record for consecutive missed 3-pointers in a playoff game
The Golden State Warriors punched their ticket to a fourth straight NBA Finals with a 101-92 Game 7 road win over the Houston Rockets.
Despite the win, there are still a lot of hypothetical claims left unchecked.
According to what Warriors coach Steve Kerr told ESPN’s The Undefeated, the Warriors would’ve won in 5 games had Andre Iguodala not been hurt.
Both Rockets guard Eric Gordon and general manager Daryl Morey swear that the Rockets should’ve won Game 7, and would’ve had star point guard Chris Paul played.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey: "We should have won tonight. I don't have much else to say."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 29, 2018
“It sucks because you know you could win this series if we just had one more playmaker,” Gordon told reporters, per ESPN. “If we had Chris, if he was out there, we’d have been playing on Thursday. It’s just tough.”
That all being said, injuries are a part of professional sports. They happen, and the best teams learn to overcome them.
The real hypothetical the Rockets need to be asking themselves about is how Game 7 could’ve gone had they not gone historically cold from 3-point range.
The Rockets at one point had missed 27 straight 3-pt FG tonight.@EliasSports tells us that's the most consecutive missed 3s in a playoff game in NBA history.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2018
Now, it’d be one thing if the Rockets were a bad shooting team. But they’re not. The Rockets had been one of the best shooting teams all season long. That made their historically poor shooting in Game 7 all the more unlikely.
According to NBA analyst Eric Sidewater, the odds that the Rockets miss 26 3-pointers in a row (they ultimately missed 27) was 1-in-118,757. That’s a minuscule .00084 percent.
For comparison, the average American has about a 1-in-13,500 chance of being hit by lightning. That means a person is roughly nine times more likely to be struck by lightning than the Rockets missing 26 3-pointers in a row.
Houston eventually finished the game a paltry 7-for-44 from beyond the arc.
This says it all.
— m_glez_ (@MartinG_82) May 29, 2018
From all indications, it seemed like the pressure of a Game 7 got to the Rockets mentally.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and Morey had built this 65-win Rockets team with a strict blueprint — they were going to win exclusively with 3-pointers and lay-ups, the two most efficient shots in all of basketball. The hysteria of Game 7 seems to have made the Rockets forget the “lay-ups” part of their blueprint.
The uncomfortable reality that D’Antoni and Morey will have to come to grips with is that their blueprint works magnificently in the regular season. Come playoff time? The best teams will always try to take away 3-pointers and lay-ups. In exchange, that means mid-range jumpers are usually wide open.
Now because of the Rocket’s obssession with advanced analytics, they simply refuse to take those mid-range jumpers. In fairness, it’s technically the least efficient shot in basketball. But when savvy playoff opponents are daring you to take those shots? You need to oblige. What you don’t need to do is be like D’Antoni, who actually shames his players in video sessions anytime a mid-range jumper is taken.
Instead, the Rockets stuck to their guns until the bitter end. And that’s the exact type of taste that will be in their mouths when the Warriors are hoisting their third NBA championship in four years.
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