FanPost

The 220 Seconds that Lost Game 7

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

INTRODUCTION

While much has been made of the last half of the fourth quarter of game 7 of the Finals, points count the same regardless of when they are scored. At any time in the game, teams have only the current score from which to go forward. In essence, they are giving or receiving points similar to gamblers. So when did GSW handicap themselves with a bad spread such that they eventually lost?

One could argue that GSW lost the game over the 393 seconds between 10:33 and 4:00 of the third quarter when GSW went from +8 to -7 for a -15 swing – the biggest negative swing for GSW. However, after studying the situation, I decided one could legitimately say that GSW lost the game in a shorter interval, the 393 seconds’ last 220 seconds during which a -12 swing occurred with fewer ups and downs. I chose to concentrate on these 220 seconds, and I will briefly share with you what I found.

THE 220 SECONDS

At 7:40 of the third quarter of game 7, GSW had been behind for less than 3 minutes out of 28:20 and never by more than 4 points. GSW’s largest lead had been 8. To this time, GSW appeared the better team. The score was 59-54 with GSW ahead by 5 points. (This is equivalent to a gambler having GSW +5 as the spread for betting on the points scored during remainder of the game. And, in realty for GSW to not lose by NBA rules.)

However, 220 seconds later the score was 61-68 with CLE ahead by 7. (Now the spread is GSW -7, so GSW must score 7 more points than CLE for the gambler to avoid losing.) What happened here to give GSW a handicap at 4:00 od the third period after which they were +3 and did not cover the spread of +7 – and by NBA rules lost the game 89-93?

At 7:40, Curry had made a 26 foot 3-pointer off an assist from Iguodala (0 seconds, +5), and CLE immediately called a timeout. After the timeout the teams remained the same with Iguodala, Green, Varejao, Thompson, and Curry for GSW – Iguodala having been substituted for Barnes and Varejao for Ezeli at 8:33 of the third. For CLE, James, Love, Thompson, Smith, and Irving returned to the court. CLE’s play-after-timeout (PAT) broke down. Under pressure, James had to pass to Irving who passed it back to him in the right corner. Finally, as time ran out James threw an alley oop to Love who had become free on the left side under the basket. He caught it in front of the basket and laid it in just as the clock ran out (26 seconds, +3).

Varejao tried a 3’ foot shot that Irving blocked, and Love rebounded the result. Iguodala then fouled James, a shooting foul, and James made both his free throws (56 seconds, +1). Curry then made one of GSW’s 10 turnovers for the game by throwing a bad pass that Love stole. Love passed to Irving who made a running layup (76 seconds, -1). CLE was now ahead for the first time since the middle of the second quarter when CLE had been up by one for a few seconds.

Iguodala shot a 26-foot 3-pointer late in the shot clock and missed, a type of shot that the game would see several more times. After Curry was called for a kicked ball, James missed his 30-foot 3-point jump shot as the clock ran down, but Irving obtained the offensive rebound only to miss his short 7-foot jump shot.

After Varejao committed GSW’s fourth foul of the quarter (non-shooting), the teams alternated missing long jump shots – Smith from 23’, Curry from 25’, and Thompson from 26’ – none at the end of the shot clock. James captured the offensive rebound of Thompson’s shot and eight seconds later, Varejao fouled Irving who made his two free throws (169 seconds, -3).

Things did not improve for GSW as Curry made another bad pass, and this time Irving caught the ball. The result was a fastbreak with Green fouling Irving on his short, lefthanded shot for an and-one. Irving made his bonus free throw (187 seconds, -6). Kerr called a timeout and substituted Barnes for Varejao. On GSW’s PAT, Barnes cut to the basket, and Green passed him the ball for a dunk (198 seconds, -4). To end our 220-second interval, Irving hit a pullup, 26 foot 3-pointer with not much left on the clock (220 seconds, -7).

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

So, what were GSW’s problems during these 220 seconds? While Curry had made a 3-pointer that gave GSW the +5 lead with which they started the interval, during the interval three of GSW’s five shots were 3-pointers (Thompson, Curry, and Iguodala), and they missed them all. GSW’s only made shot was the PAT dunk by Barnes.

However, GSW’s biggest problem was not shooting percentage – shots do not always go in the basket. Rather, the proximate causes of the -12 point swing and the loss were controllable ones. During the 220 seconds, GSW committed 4 personal fouls (2 by Varejao), obtained 0 (zero) rebounds, and threw two bad passes (Curry) resulting in 2 live-ball turnovers. This occurred while CLE committed no personal fouls, captured 4 rebounds (1 offensive), and did not turn the ball over.

Regarding scoring, the main problem was not that CLE made 4 of 7 shots and GSW 1 of 5. Rather, it was that CLE had 7 shots to GSW’s 5 and 5 free-throw attempts to GSW’s 0. GSW lost this 220 seconds and the game because it committed more fouls and turnovers, and rebounded poorly.

CONCLUSIONS CONSISTENT WITH ENTIRE GAME

The same causes are consistent with statistics for the entire game. GSW committed more personal fouls (23 to 15) and turnovers (11 to 10) as well as having fewer rebounds (39 to 48 and fewer team rebounds 9 to 11) and shots (82 to 83). GSW turnovers included live ball turnovers, part of why GSW trailed in fastbreak points 7 to 18, but GSW actually led in the misleading stat – points after turnovers (16-10). Fewer rebounds contributed to fewer second chance points (6 to 17). Altogether, GSW’s 9 more made 3-pointers (+9 points compared to CLE’s 2-pointers) did not offset CLE’s one more shot (+2 points) and 12 more free throw attempts (+11 points).

ANNEX

Cleveland Cavaliers

Player

MIN

FGM

FGA

FG%

3PM

3PA

3P%

FTM

FTA

FT%

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

TOV

STL

BLK

PF

PTS

+/-

LeBron James - F

3:40

0

1

0.0

0

1

0.0

2

2

100

0

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

12

Kevin Love - F

3:40

1

1

100

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

2

2

1

0

1

0

0

2

12

Tristan Thompson - C

3:40

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

J.R. Smith - G

3:40

0

1

0.0

0

1

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

Kyrie Irving - G

3:40

3

4

75.0

1

1

100

3

3

100

1

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

10

12

Totals:

18:20

4

7

57.1

1

3

33.3

5

5

100

1

3

4

2

0

2

1

0

14

12

Golden State Warriors

Player

MIN

FGM

FGA

FG%

3PM

3PA

3P%

FTM

FTA

FT%

OREB

DREB

REB

AST

TOV

STL

BLK

PF

PTS

+/-

Harrison Barnes - F

0:33

1

1

100

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

-1

Draymond Green - F

3:40

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

-12

Klay Thompson - G

3:40

0

1

0.0

0

1

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

-12

Stephen Curry - G

3:40

0

1

0.0

0

1

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

-12

Andre Iguodala

3:40

0

1

0.0

0

1

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

-12

Anderson Varejao

3:07

0

1

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

-11

Totals:

18:20

1

5

20.0

0

3

0.0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

1

2

0

0

4

2

-12

07:40 Curry 26' 3PT Pullup Jump Shot (Iguodala) 59-54 +5

07:38 TIMEOUT (3) Cleveland

07:14 59-56 +3 Love 3' Alley Oop Layup (James)

06:50 MISS Varejao 3' Jump Shot Irving BLOCK

06:49 Love REBOUND

06:44 Iguodala S.FOUL (P2.T3) (M.Callahan)

06:44 59-57 +2 James Free Throw 1 of 2

06:44 59-58 +1 James Free Throw 2 of 2

06:30 Curry Bad Pass Turnover #8 Love STEAL

06:24 59-60 -1* Irving 2' Running Layup (Love)

05:55 MISS Iguodala 26' 3PT Jump Shot

05:55 Love REBOUND

05:47 Curry Violation:Kicked Ball (M.McCutchen)

05:33 MISS James 30' 3PT Jump Shot

05:32 Irving REBOUND

05:32 MISS Irving 7' Jump Shot

05:32 Varejao L.B.FOUL (P2.T4) (M.McCutchen)

05:21 MISS Smith 23' 3PT Jump Shot

05:05 MISS Curry 25' 3PT Jump Shot

04:59 MISS Thompson 26' 3PT Jump Shot

04:59 James REBOUND

04:51 Varejao P.FOUL (P3.PN) (D.Crawford)

04:51 59-61 -2 Irving Free Throw 1 of 2

04:51 59-62 -3 Irving Free Throw 2 of 2

04:38 Curry Bad Pass Turnover #9 Irving STEAL

04:33 59-64 -5 Irving 5' Running Jump Shot

04:33 Green S.FOUL (P1.PN) (M.McCutchen)

04:33 59-65 -6 Irving Free Throw 1 of 1

04:33 TIMEOUT (4) Golden State

04:33 SUB: Barnes FOR Varejao

04:22 Barnes Cutting Dunk Shot (Green) 61-65 -4

04:00 61-68 -7 Irving 26' 3PT Pullup Jump Shot

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!