Numbers preview: The 2019 NBA Finals

NBA.com Global on May 30, 2019 11:53 AM
Numbers preview: The 2019 NBA Finals
NBAE via Getty Images

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com

The Golden State Warriors are back in The Finals for a fifth straight postseason, looking for a third straight championship. And with LeBron James now in the Western Conference, the champs have a new Eastern Conference opponent in front of them.

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The Toronto Raptors are in The Finals for the first time in franchise history, having escaped a few adverse situations along the way. They were a possession or two away from trailing Philadelphia 3-1 in the conference semifinals, a possession or two away from losing Game 7 in that round, and a possession or two away from trailing Milwaukee 3-0 in the conference finals.

That they're here says a lot about the Raptors' resilience. It also says a lot about their defense, which has played at an elite level for much of their playoff run. The Warriors, of course, are the best offensive team we've ever seen.

The other end of the floor features Kawhi Leonard's efficient scoring against a Golden State defense that has improved from round to round. And even with Kevin Durant out for at least the first game, the Warriors have a few elite defenders with whom to defend the Raptors' star.

Is this the last run of the Warriors' dynasty? Is this the last time we'll see Leonard in a Raptors uniform? Those questions won't be answered in the next two weeks, but as Leonard has said all postseason, for now we can just enjoy the moment.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for The Finals.

Toronto Raptors (58-24, 12-6)

First round: Beat Orlando in five games.
Conf. semis: Beat Philadelphia in seven games.
Conf. finals: Beat Milwaukee in six games.
Pace: 96.1 (12)
OffRtg: 108.1 (9)
DefRtg: 102.4 (2)
NetRtg: +5.7 (3)

Raptors postseason notes - General:

1. Have reached The Finals for the first time in franchise history. Are the fourth of eight franchises that joined the NBA after the 1976 expansion to reach The Finals, joining the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

2. Have played in two of the three slowest-paced games of the postseason. Their Game 6 win vs. Milwaukee (87 possessions per team) was the slowest.

3. Have grabbed only 48 percent of available rebounds, the lowest rate among teams that advanced out of the first round.

4. Have been the second-best home team in the playoffs, having outscored their opponents by 12.4 points per 100 possessions as they've gone 8-2 at Scotiabank Arena.

5. 9-1 after leading by double-digits (the one loss was Game 1 in Milwaukee) and 2-5 after trailing by double-digits.

Raptors postseason notes - Offense:

1. 10-0 when they've scored at least 104 points per 100 possessions and 2-6 otherwise.

2. 18.1 percent of their possessions, the second-highest rate in the postseason, have been in transition, according to Synergy play-type tracking. But 21 percent of their shots, also the second highest rate, have come in the last six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking.

3. Rank fifth in the playoffs in ball movement (327 passes per 24 minutes of possessions) and 12th in player movement (10.8 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession), according to Second Spectrum tracking. Rank third with 3.7 secondary assists per game.

4. Rank fifth in both 3-point percentage (34.5 percent) and the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range (40.6 percent) in the playoffs. If The Finals were to go to at least five games, they're on pace to break the 2016 Warriors' postseason record of 306 total 3-pointers made.

5. Have attempted 29.6 catch-and-shoot jumpers per game, second most in the playoffs. Their effective field goal percentage on those jumpers (50.7 percent) ranks ninth.

6. Rank second in free throw percentage (81.8 percent), right behind the Warriors (81.9 percent), though both teams have been outscored at the free throw line over the course of the postseason.

7. Have scored a postseason-best 1.20 points per possession on hand-offs, though they've averaged only 3.3 hand-off possessions per game (second fewest in the postseason).

Raptors postseason notes - Defense:

1. Have been the most improved defensive team in the playoffs, having allowed 4.4 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did in the regular season. Have held each of their three opponents to at least seven fewer points per 100 possessions than they scored in the regular season.

2. Have seen the biggest drop in opponent effective field goal percentage from the regular season (50.9 percent, fourth in the league) to the playoffs (48.0 percent, second). But they've seen the biggest increase in opponent free throw rate (from 24.9 to 30.0 attempts per 100 shots from the field).

3. Rank second in opponent effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (44.5 percent). Rank third in opponent 3-point percentage (31.3 percent). All three of their opponents ranked in the top 15 in 3-point percentage in the regular season.

4. Held Milwaukee to fewer transition points over six games (162) than the Bucks scored in five games vs. Boston (169).

5. Only 5.5 percent of opponent possessions, the lowest rate among defenses that advanced out of the first round, have been isolations. Have allowed just 0.73 points per possession, the lowest rate in the playoffs, on isolations.

6. Only 15.3 percent of opponent possessions, the lowest rate among defenses that advanced out of the first round, have been pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions. Have allowed just 0.76 points per possession, the second-lowest rate in the playoffs, on isolations.

7. Lead the postseason with 14.4 deflections per game.

Raptors postseason notes - Lineups:

1. Starting lineup - Lowry, Green, Leonard, Siakam and Gasol - leads the postseason in total minutes played (314) and ranks second cumulative plus-minus, having outscored its opponents by 77 points.

2. The Raptors have outscored their opponents by 148 points with both Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard on the floor. That's the best cumulative plus-minus among two-man combinations.

3. Fred VanVleet (plus-39) and Norman Powell (plus-27) had the team's two best plus-minus marks in the conference finals after having the team's two worst marks in the conference semis (minus-14 and minus-19, respectively). The Raptors outscored Milwaukee by 12.3 points per 100 possessions with VanVleet on the floor. That was the best on-court NetRtg among players who averaged at least 15 minutes per game in the conference finals.

4. The Raptors have been 26.6 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Leonard on the floor (scoring 111.7 per 100) than they've been with him off the floor (scoring 85.1). That's the second biggest on-off OffRtg differential among 64 players that have played at least 200 postseason minutes. Kyle Lowry has the second biggest differential (21.6 points per 100 possessions).

5. Best on-court NetRtg among two-man combinations (minimum 100 minutes together): Leonard and Powell. The Raptors have outscored their opponents by 15.3 points per 100 possessions in 143 minutes with the pair on the floor together.

6. Have gotten less than one percent of their minutes (31/4,370) from rookies or second-year players. Only Houston got a lower percentage in the playoffs.

Raptors postseason notes - Individuals:

1. Marc Gasol has an effective field goal percentage of 63.4 percent at home and 38.7 percent on the road. That's the biggest differential among 76 players with at least 25 field goal attempts both at home and on the road in the postseason. Eight of the Raptors' 18 games have been on the road, but 22 of his 28 3-pointers have come at home.

2. Gasol has taken 52.6 percent of his shots from 3-point range, up from 31.4 percent in the regular season. That's the biggest jump among 81 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in the regular season and 50 in the playoffs. He's seen the third biggest drop in free throw rate (from 29.1 to 15.0 attempts per 100 shots from the field) among that same group of players.

3. Gasol has been assisted on 91 percent of his field goals, the highest rate among 37 players with at least 50 total field goals in the playoffs.

4. Danny Green has an effective field goal percentage of 44.3 percent, a mark which ranks 42nd among 49 players with at least 100 field goal attempts and is down from 62.2 percent in the regular season. That's the biggest drop among 81 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in the regular season and 50 in the playoffs.

5. Green has taken 75.4 percent of his shots from 3-point range, the highest rate among 84 players with at least 50 postseason field goal attempts.

6. Serge Ibaka has an effective field goal percentage of just 33.1 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, the worst mark among 56 players who have attempted at least 25. 54 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers (the highest rate among those 56 players by a wide margin) have been 2-point attempts.

7. Kawhi Leonard leads the postseason in total minutes played (696), points scored (561, 124 more than any other player), free throws made (133), and steals (28).

8. Leonard ranks ninth in total assists (69), but his 17 assists on corner 3-pointers are the most from any player in the playoffs. Thirteen of those 17 have gone to Pascal Siakam (8) or Danny Green (5).

9. Leonard has averaged 0.472 points per touch, most among 138 players with at least 100 touches in the playoffs. His rate 0.410 points per touch in the conference finals was down from the first two rounds, but still led all players with at least 100 touches last round.

10. Leonard has scored 1.08 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the fourth-best mark among 25 players that have averaged at least five ball-handler possessions per game.

11. Leonard has shot 49-for-96 (51 percent) from mid-range, the best mark among seven players with at least 50 mid-range attempts in the playoffs.

12. Kyle Lowry ranks second in both loose balls recovered (2.2) and charges drawn (0.72) per game.

13. Lowry has an effective field goal percentage of 63.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the second-best mark among players with at least 25 fourth-quarter field goal attempts.

14. Lowry (65.7 percent) and Fred VanVleet (64.4 percent) ranked second and third in effective field goal percentage in the conference finals. Green (25.0 percent) ranked last.

15. Norman Powell (23) and VanVleet (22) rank first and second in total 3-pointers off the bench in the playoffs. Fourteen of VanVleet's 22 have come (on 17 attempts) in the last three games.

16. Powell scored more points in six conference finals games (74) than he did in 11 games through the first two rounds (65). He had a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 0.246 against Milwaukee after registering a rate of just 0.054 through the first two rounds.

17. Pascal Siakam ranks second in the postseason with 17 corner 3-pointers, though the 30.4 percent he has shot on corner threes ranks eighth among the nine players with at least 20 attempts. Green (11-for-39, 28.2 percent) is the only player who has shot worse. The pair have combined to shoot 10-for-48 (21 percent) from the left corner and 18-for-47 (38 percent) from the right corner.

18. Siakam ranks second in the postseason with 120 field goal attempts in the restricted area, but has shot just 59 percent on those attempts, down from 70.6 percent  in the regular season. That's the biggest drop-off among 18 players with at least 200 restricted-area attempts in the regular season and at least 50 in the playoffs.

19. Leonard (51.1 miles), Siakam (49.6 miles) and Lowry (46.5 miles) rank first, second and fourth, respectively, in total distance traveled in the postseason.

20. Like Powell, VanVleet scored more points in six conference-finals games (58) than he did through the first two rounds (50), with more than twice as many 3-pointers against Milwaukee (16) than he made against Orlando and Philadelphia (6).

Golden State Warriors (57-25, 12-4)

First round: Beat LA Clippers in six games.
Conf. semis: Beat Houston in six games.
Conf. finals: Beat Portland in four games.
Pace: 99.2 (8)
OffRtg: 116.4 (1)
DefRtg: 110.2 (9)
NetRtg: +6.2 (2)

Warriors postseason notes - General:

1. First team to reach The Finals in five straight years since 1966, when the league had just nine teams.

2. They've outscored their playoff opponents by 6.2 points per 100 possessions, their worst mark through the first three rounds over these five years. The previous low was plus-6.4 in 2016.

3. Have been the best road team in the playoffs, having outscored their opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions as they've gone 6-2 on the road.

4. Best first quarter team  in the playoffs, having outscored their opponents by 19.7 points per 100 possessions in the opening period. But that breaks down to plus-31.6 in the first round, plus-21.5 in the conference semis and minus-1.3 in the conference finals.

5. 10 of their 16 games (most in the playoffs) have been within five points in the last five minutes. That's almost as many as they had in the last two postseasons combined (11).

6. 8-1 after leading by double-digits (the one loss was Game 2 vs. the Clippers, which they led by 31 points) and 4-3 after trailing by double-digits (including 3-2 after trailing by at least 15 points).

Warriors postseason notes - Offense:

1. Were the best offensive team in the regular season and have been the most improved offensive team in the playoffs, having scored 1.5 more points per 100 possessions than they did in the regular season.

2. Have taken only 40 percent of their shots in the paint, the lowest rate in the postseason. But they lead the playoffs in both field goal percentage in the paint (63.4 percent) and 3-point percentage (37.0 percent).

3. Average 19.7 minutes of possession per game, 15th in the playoffs. Rank last in both average seconds per touch (2.74), and average dribbles per touch (1.94).

4. Have assisted on 66.7 percent of their field goals, the highest rate in the playoffs. Rank first in the playoffs in ball movement (372 passes per 24 minutes of possessions) and fifth in player movement (11.3 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession), according to Second Spectrum tracking. Have eight games with 30 or more assists. All other teams have nine total. Lead the postseason with 5.3 secondary assists per game.

5. Have scored 1.12 points per possession on pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions, the postseason's best mark.

6. Rank last with just 26.9 drives per game, but have shot a postseason-best 53 percent on drives.

7. Lead the postseason with 15.6 post-ups per game. Have passed out of post-ups 53.6 percent of the time, the highest rate among teams that advanced out of the first round.

Warriors postseason notes - Defense:

1. In regard to the points per 100 possessions they've allowed vs. the opponents' regular-season average, they've improved defensively with each round (see "by round" table above).

2. 11-0 when they've allowed fewer than 115 points per 100 possessions and 1-4 otherwise.

3. Have allowed their opponents to take only 26 percent of their shots in the restricted area. That's the third lowest opponent rate in the playoffs and the lowest among the eight teams that advanced out of the first round (only Indiana and San Antonio had lower opponent rates).

4. Forty-three percent of their opponents' shots have come from 3-point range. That's the second-highest opponent rate in the playoffs. But only 16 percent of their opponents' 3-point attempts have come from the corners. That's the lowest opponent rate in the playoffs.

5. Rank third with 13.3 deflections per game.

Warriors postseason notes - Lineups:

1. Eleven different Warriors have started games in this postseason, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green the only three that have started all 16.

2. Three most-used lineups have outscored their opponents by 3.2 points per 100 possessions in 265 total minutes. All other lineups have outscored their opponents by 7.9 points per 100 possessions in 513 total minutes.

3. Lineup of Curry, Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Green has a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 0.353, the highest mark among 17 lineups that have played at least 50 minutes together. Its opponent free throw rate of 0.405 is also the highest among that same group of lineups.

4. Lineup of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Green and Kevon Looney has an assist/turnover ratio of 3.07, the highest mark among those 17 lineups.

5. Have outscored their opponents by 6.0 points per 100 possessions (scoring 115.4 per 100) in 162 minutes with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the floor without Kevin Durant. Are a plus-4.9 per 100 in 277 minutes with all four on the floor together.

6. Green leads the postseason in cumulative plus-minus, with the Warriors having outscored their opponents by 148 points in his 603 minutes on the floor. The Warriors have scored 119.0 points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor. That's the highest on-court OffRtg mark among 125 players that have averaged at least 15 minutes in four or more playoff games. Four other Warriors make up the rest of the top five.

7. Best on-court NetRtg among two-man combinations (minimum 100 minutes together): Durant and Looney. The Warriors have outscored their opponents by 23.5 points per 100 possessions in 140 minutes with the pair on the floor together.

8. Only 21 percent of their points, the second lowest rate in the postseason, have come from off the bench.

Warriors postseason notes - Individuals:

1. Stephen Curry has seen an increase in usage rate with each round of the playoffs, from 24.4 percent in the first round to 27.4 percent in the conference semis to 32.1 percent in the conference finals. That was the highest mark among all players last round. He averaged 0.409 points per touch against Portland, second most among players with at least 100 conference-final touches and up from 0.316 through the first two rounds.

2. Curry has scored 1.24 points per possession on isolations, the best mark among 19 players who have averaged at least three isolation possessions per game, according to Synergy play-type tracking. He has also scored 1.18 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the second-best mark among 25 players that have averaged at least five ball-handler possessions per game.

3. Curry leads the postseason with 24 secondary assists.

4. Curry (94.0 percent) and Kevin Durant (90.1 percent) are two of three players that have shot 90 percent or better on at least 50 free throw attempts in the playoffs.

5. Durant (65.5 percent) and Curry (63.0 percent) rank first and third, respectively, in true shooting percentage among 49 players with at least 100 postseason field goal attempts.

6. Curry (57.2 percent) and Durant (53.6 percent) rank first and second, respectively, on pull-up effective field goal percentage among players who have attempted at least 50 pull-up jumpers in the playoffs.

7. Durant has drawn 8.6 fouls per game, most in the playoffs.

8. Durant has averaged 8.1 mid-range attempts per game, most in the playoffs. He (50.6 percent) and Leonard (51.0 percent) are the only two players who have shot 50 percent or better on at least 50 mid-range attempts.

9. Durant leads the postseason in scoring at 34.2 points per game, up from 26.0 (eighth in the league) in the regular season. That's the biggest jump among 65 players that played at least 40 games in the regular season and have played at least 10 games in the playoffs.

10. Draymond Green has seen second biggest jump in scoring (from 7.4 to 13.6 points per game) among the same 65 players. He has also see the biggest jump in rebounds per game (from 7.3 to 9.9) and the biggest jump in assists per game (from 6.9 to 8.2).

11. Green ranks third in the postseason with 89.8 touches per game,

12. Green has four triple-doubles, tied for most in a single postseason in the last 35 years (since Magic Johnson had five in 1984). He has at least 20 postseason assists to five different teammates. Lowry (to Ibaka, Leonard and Siakam) is the only other player with at least 20 assists to more than two different teammates in these playoffs.

13. Green has taken 22.5 percent of his shots from 3-point range, down from 39.1 percent in the regular season. That's the second biggest drop among 81 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in the regular season and 50 in the playoffs.

14. Andre Iguodala recorded assists on 39.3 percent of his possessions against Portland. That was the highest assist ratio among players that averaged at least 10 minutes per game in the conference finals.

15. Jonas Jerebko grabbed 14.0 percent of available offensive rebounds when he was on the floor against Portland. That was the highest offensive rebounding percentage among players that averaged at least 10 minutes per game in the conference finals.

16. Kevon Looney has an effective field goal percentage of 72.5 percent, the second-best mark among 84 players with at least 50 field goal attempts in the postseason and up from 62.7 percent in the regular season. That's the fourth biggest jump among 81 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in the regular season and 50 in the playoffs.

17. Looney has taken 72 percent of his shots in the restricted area, the third highest rate among 84 players with at least 50 postseason field goal attempts. Looney (76.0 percent) and Green (75.9 percent) rank first and second in restricted-area field goal percentage among 21 players with at least 50 attempts.

18. Klay Thompson has taken only 21 percent of his postseason shots in the paint. That's the third lowest rate among 79 players with at least 50 total field goal attempts in the playoffs.

19. Thompson leads the postseason with 8.4 catch-and-shoot attempts per game. 31 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers have been 2-point attempts. That's the the fourth highest rate among 56 players with at least 25 total catch-and-shoot attempts.

20. Thompson has a free throw rate of just 8.7 attempts per 100 shots from the field, the lowest rate among 84 players with at least 50 field goal attempts in the playoffs.

Regular season matchup

Raptors won, 2-0
Nov. 29 (Nov. 30, PHL time) @ Toronto - Raptors 131, Warriors 128 (OT)
Dec. 12 (Dec. 13, PHL time) @ Golden State - Raptors 113, Warriors 93

Pace: 98.4 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes
Toronto OffRtg: 117.3 (4th vs. Golden State)
Golden State OffRtg: 107.3 (14th vs. Toronto)

Matchup notes:

1. The Raptors are the only team the Warriors haven't beaten this season.

2. Both meetings took place early in the season, before DeMarcus Cousins or Andrew Bogut played for the Warriors and before the Raptors traded for Marc Gasol. Both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green missed the game in Toronto, while both Kawhi Leonard and Andre Iguodala missed the game at Golden State.

3. The Raptors led the Nov. 29 (Nov. 30, PHL time) game by 18 points in the first quarter and by 10 with 4:30 to go in the fourth. Kevin Durant made two 3-pointers in the final minute to send the game to overtime, where Pascal Siakam scored seven of the Raptors' 12 points.

4. Durant's 51 points in that game were his season high and the most scored in a game against the Raptors this season.

5. The Raptors' effective field goal percentage of 56.9 percent over the two games was the second-highest mark against the Warriors.

6. The Warriors shot 30-for-58 (59 percent) from mid-range, with Durant (11-for-16), Klay Thompson (7-for-12) and Quin Cook (6-for-9) a combined 24-for-37. That was the team's second best mid-range mark against any opponent and the best mark for any team against the Raptors.

7. The 53 percent the Warriors shot in the restricted area was their worst mark against any opponent and the third-worst mark for any team against the Raptors.

8. Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 5-for-22 (23 percent) from 3-point range against the Raptors. The Warriors were outscored by 35 points in 78 total minutes with Thompson the floor. That was the worst plus-minus in the season series and the second worst for Thompson against any opponent.

9. The Warriors did outscore the Raptors, 31-30, in the 15 minutes in which Curry, Thompson, Durant and Draymond Green were all on the floor.

10. Kyle Lowry had the best plus-minus in the series (plus-31 in 79 minutes). He had 24 assists and just three turnovers, with 12 assists in each game. Only three players had more assists in a game against the Warriors this season. Lowry shot 3-for-3 on corner 3s and 1-for-11 on above-the-break 3s over the two games.

11. In the game that Leonard played, Durant was his primary defender. Leonard shot 7-for-14 and the Raptors scored a very efficient 67 points on those 50 possessions (1.34 per).

12. The Warriors sometimes cross-matched in the backcourt, so that Thompson was guarding Lowry. In the game Curry played, he only defended Lowry for four possessions.

13. Fred VanVleet starter in Leonard's place in the Dec. 12 (Dec. 13, PHL time) meeting and was the primary defender on Curry, who scored just four points on 39 possessions with VanVleet on him.

14. Pascal Siakam defended Durant for more total possessions over the two meetings (and Durant shot more than usual on those possessions), but Leonard was Durant's primary defender in the first game (the one in which Leonard played).

John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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