Game 6: Boston at Milwaukee | 7:30 ET, ESPN (Bucks lead 3-2)
|BOS||0-2 Feet – Very Tight||0.7%||2||3||66.7||83.3|
|BOS||2-4 Feet – Tight||13.4%||14||56||25.0||32.1|
|BOS||4-6 Feet – Open||24.0%||39||100||39.0||51.5|
|BOS||6+ Feet – Wide Open||24.5%||44||102||43.1||61.3|
|MIL||0-2 Feet – Very Tight||0.7%||0||3||0.0||0.0|
|MIL||2-4 Feet – Tight||8.5%||14||38||36.8||42.1|
|MIL||4-6 Feet – Open||22.5%||35||101||34.7||42.6|
|MIL||6+ Feet – Wide Open||19.4%||32||87||36.8||51.7|
Boston has made (+12) and attempted (+15) more wide-open shots through the first five games of this series and has nearly a 10-point advantage in effective field goal percentage. But they still trail 3-2 and are playing to keep their season alive on Friday night in Milwaukee.
Combining Boston’s “open” and “wide-open” attempts, we see that 48.5% of their shots in this series have come from outside 10 feet with the closest defender at least four feet away. That is the second-highest percentage in the conference semifinals, trailing only Dallas at 55.1% entering their Game 6 on Thursday. Boston will look to follow Dallas’ lead as the Mavericks won Game 6 and forced a winner-take-all Game 7. In that Game 6, 59.8 percent of Dallas’ shots were either “open” or “wide open” and they shot 19-46 (41.6%), including all 16 of their 3-pointers made.
But as the game-by-game table below shows, even if Boston knocks down its wide-open shots, it does not guarantee a win. While Games 1, 2 and 4 followed the logical pattern that the team that shoots better on open shots goes on to win the game, Boston was on the losing end of both of the exceptions to that rule in Games 3 and 5. The Bucks won those two games by a total of five points combined, as they overcame Boston’s advantage in generating and converting on open shots.
|1||MIL 101-89||MIL +18.6||8||23||52.2||12||24||70.8|
|2||BOS 109-86||BOS +23.6||12||25||68.0||3||9||44.4|
|3||MIL 103-101||BOS +34.3||8||17||67.6||5||21||33.3|
|4||BOS 116-108||BOS +4.7||9||21||57.1||8||21||52.4|
|5||MIL 110-107||BOS +12.5||7||16||62.5||4||12||50.0|
When we look at which players have made and attempted the most wide-open looks in this series, it is no contest as Al Horford has a commanding lead in both categories. Horford’s 17 wide-open field goals made is more than double any other player in the series – Jrue Holiday and Grant Williams are tied for second with eight makes each. And Horford’s 34 wide-open attempts are 11 more than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is shooting 6-23 on wide-open looks.
Despite leading the series in scoring (33.6 ppg), Giannis leads the Bucks in wide-open looks as the Celtics are willing to give up open perimeter shots rather than having Giannis drive the lane. Boston’s top two scorers – Jayson Tatum (24.8 ppg) and Jaylen Brown (22.6 ppg) – have also failed to take advantage of wide-open looks in this series, combining to shoot just 5-18 (27.8%) in those situations.
Game 6: Memphis at Golden State | 10 ET, ESPN (Warriors lead 3-2)
|MEM||0-2 Feet – Very Tight||0.6%||0||3||0.0||0.0|
|MEM||2-4 Feet – Tight||9.9%||16||47||34.0||42.6|
|MEM||4-6 Feet – Open||25.8%||37||122||30.3||41.0|
|MEM||6+ Feet – Wide Open||22.2%||40||105||38.1||56.7|
|GSW||0-2 Feet – Very Tight||0.7%||1||3||33.3||33.3|
|GSW||2-4 Feet – Tight||10.2%||9||45||20.0||25.6|
|GSW||4-6 Feet – Open||24.9%||37||110||33.6||42.3|
|GSW||6+ Feet – Wide Open||21.7%||43||96||44.8||64.1|
Through the first five games of this series, we have seen one team generate more open looks (Memphis with 227 combined “open” and “wide-open” attempts), and the other team convert at a higher percentage on open looks (Golden State at 38.8% is nearly five points higher than Memphis at 33.9%).
When we look at the series on a game-by-game basis, the only two games that follow the rule of the team that shoots better on open looks wins the game are the two blowouts in Game 3 (Golden State +30) and Game 5 (Memphis +39).
|1||GSW 117-116||MEM +3.6||9||20||67.5||8||18||63.9|
|2||MEM 106-101||GSW +14.3||9||28||48.2||7||16||62.5|
|3||GSW 142-112||GSW+ 36.6||9||24||56.3||14||21||92.9|
|4||GSW 101-98||MEM +5.4||4||14||42.9||5||20||37.5|
|5||MEM 134-95||MEM +6.5||9||19||68.4||9||21||61.9|
The other three games in the series were decided by a combined nine points and offered another pattern – the team that made and attempted the most wide-open looks won Game 2 (Memphis +5) and Game 4 (Golden State +3). The only game that didn’t follow either rule was Game 1, when the teams shot nearly identical on wide-open looks in a game decided by a single point. However, it must be noted that Klay Thompson’s game-winning 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining was an open shot after a great pump fake by Thompson to elude Desmond Bane’s defense.
Despite Ja Morant missing Game 5 – and likely out for the remainder of the postseason due to a bone bruise in his knee – he still leads the Grizzlies in wide-open shot attempts in this series with 25. Jaren Jackson Jr. leads the Grizzlies with 11 wide-open field goals made as he’s shot 11-21 (52.4%), including 10-20 from 3-point range.
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||11||21||52.4||76.2|
Stephen Curry not only leads the Warriors in scoring in this series (25.4 ppg), he leads Golden State in shot attempts that are open (14-31) and wide-open (9-21). Combined, Curry has shot 23-52 (44.2%) from the field and 15-40 (37.5%) from 3-point range with the closest defender at least four feet away. For the Grizzlies to get a win on Friday and send the series back to Memphis for Game 7, they will need to close the distance on Curry.
As the chart below shows, Golden State’s other two sharpshooters – Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole – have combined to shoot 17-29 (58.6%) from the field, including 15-27 (55.6%) from 3-point range, when left wide-open. However, when Memphis has kept a defender close, those percentages have dropped off dramatically. On “open” looks with the closest defender between 4-6 feet away, Thompson is shooting 6-29 from the field and 3-17 from three, while Poole is shooting 2-13 from the field and 1-10 from 3-point range. That’s a combined 8-42 (19.0%) overall and 4-27 (14.8%) from 3-point range.
|Otto Porter Jr.||6||14||42.9||64.3|
Of course, staying with all of Golden State’s shooters and contesting every shot is nearly an impossible task. But so is coming back from a 3-1 deficit without your All-Star point guard.