2017 NBA Finals
2017 NBA Finals

Numbers preview: The Finals - Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann NBA.com

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May 27, 2017 1:11 PM ET

Stephen Curry's plus-215 is the best postseason mark since the league started logging play-by-play data in '96.

The path taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors toward their third straight Finals meeting was relatively drama-free. Their combined 24-1 record is the best mark for two teams entering The Finals in NBA history.

So here they are, right where we expected them to be when this season tipped off seven months ago. Both teams are healthy and ready to break the tie after splitting the previous two meetings. The Warriors have been dominant from start to finish, while the Cavs have been able to flip the switch in the playoffs after a mediocre second half to the regular season.

The Cavs have been the best offensive team we've ever seen in the playoffs. The Warriors have held their opponents under a point per possession in a historically good offensive postseason, and have been pretty good offensively themselves.

It's another series that will help determine the legacy of LeBron James. But it will also help define these Warriors, who have had the most wins over any three-year period in NBA history but just one championship to show for it so far.

The Warriors have home-court advantage and have been the better team, even with the Cavs rising to a new level in the playoffs. Golden State has had the better record and the better point differential while playing tougher opponents.

Of course, the Warriors had been the better team last year too, when the Cavs became the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in The Finals. The playoffs are about matchups, James is the ultimate trump card, and sustained success doesn't matter if you can't finish the deal.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for The Finals, with links to let you dive in and explore more.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Golden State Warriors (67-15, 12-0)

First round: Beat Portland in four games.
Conf. semis: Beat Utah in four games.
Conf. finals: Beat San Antonio in four games.
Pace: 102.6 (2)
Off Rtg: 115.8 (2)
Def Rtg: 99.1 (1)
Net Rtg: +16.8 (1)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
vs. Cleveland: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
Playoffs: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
2016 Finals: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups


Warriors playoff notes - General:


Warriors playoff notes - Offense:


Warriors playoff notes - Defense:

Warriors playoff notes - Individuals:

Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31, 12-1)

First round: Beat Indiana in four games.
Conf. semis: Beat Toronto in four games.
Conf. finals: Beat Boston in five games.
Pace: 97.7 (7)
Off Rtg: 120.7 (1)
Def Rtg: 104.6 (3)
Net Rtg: +16.1 (2)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
vs. Golden State: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
Playoffs: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
2016 Finals: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups


Cavs playoff notes - General:


Cavs playoff notes - Offense:


Cavs playoff notes - Defense:

Cavs playoff notes - Individuals:

The matchup

Season series: Tied 1-1 (Home team won both games)
Dec. 25 @ CLE - Cavs 109, Warriors 108
Jan. 16 @ GSW - Warriors 126, Cavs 91

Pace: 105.8
GSW Off Rtg: 110.2 (12th vs. CLE)
CLE Off Rtg: 94.8 (24th vs. GSW)

Matchup notes:

  • Smith missed both games. Korver was with the Cavs for only the second meeting and Deron Williams wasn't with them for either game.
     
  • In the December game, the teams combined to shoot 11-for-18 in the clutch, but the Warriors had three clutch turnovers, while the Cavs had none.
     
  • The 35-point margin of the January game was the Cavs' biggest margin of defeat this season. Since James' return to Cleveland, the Cavs have lost three games in which he's played by 30 or more points. All three losses (two in the regular season and Game 2 of last year's Finals) were to the Warriors. James' minus-32 in the January game was tied (with Game 3 of the 2013 Finals) for the second worst plus-minus of his career. The worst was his minus-34 against the Warriors in January of 2016.
     
  • At about 108 possessions per team, the January game was the second fastest-paced game that the Cavs played this season. In it, they grabbed just 38 percent of available rebounds, their lowest mark in any game this season.
     
  • The Warriors outscored the Cavs 53-16 on fast break points. Durant (20) had more fast break points than the Cavs in the two games and shot 10-for-13 in the first six seconds of the shot clock.
     
  • In the Cavs' win, the Warriors shot 2-for-23 (0-for-8 from 3-point range) in the last 12 seconds of the shot clock. In the Warriors' win, the Cavs shot 7-for-34 (2-for-13 from 3-point range) in the last 12 seconds of the shot clock.
     
  • The Warriors averaged just 2.76 passes per possession, compared to 3.14 in their other 80 games. The Cavs averaged 3.04 passes per possession in their win and just 2.48 in their loss. Both teams made the same number of passes (572) over the two games, but Golden State had twice as many assists (62 to 31) and more than twice as many secondary assists (23 to 9).
     
  • The Warriors' "Death Lineup" - Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant and Green - was minus-5 in four minutes in the Christmas game and didn't play together in the January game.
     
  • Irving's seven steals in the Christmas game were a career high.
     
  • Green recorded one of his five triple-doubles in the January game, which was one of two games in which two Warriors had double-digit assists. Both Green and Curry had 11.
     
  • According to SportVU, Durant was the primary defender on James, guarding him for a little over 10 minutes over the two games. Green was only the fifth most used defender on James, guarding him for just 1:38. But James shot 0-for-5 with Green guarding him.

Notes from the 2016 Finals:

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

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