Scorching Suns Too Hot For Bucks So Far (NBA Finals Shot Analysis)

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Suns Up 2-0 As Series Leaves Phoenix for Milwaukee

If you’ve been following the latest NBA news you’ve heard the main stories. Devin Booker is putting on an All-Star performance in the playoffs. Chris Paul‘s title thirst may be quenched soon. Mikal Bridges has been impressively good. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been fighting by himself. Khris Middleton has been disappointing. Jrue Holiday resembles Eric Bledsoe.

I looked at the shot distribution of each player per quarter to paint a picture. The two graphs below show the total percentage of shots each player took in each quarter. A short description of the key points we noticed, as well as how to read the graphs, follows.

How to read the graph

Let’s take Giannis as an example:

  • The first chart shows that in the regular season:
    • 1st half: he took 47% of his total shots, he took 514 shots, and made 57% of them.
    • 3rd quarter: he took 29% of his total shots, he took 317 shots, and made 58% of them.
    • 4th quarter: he took 24% of his total shots, he took 269 shots, and made 57% of them.

Phoenix is prepared to win – and it shows

Phoenix are two wins away from celebrating their first NBA Championship. Devin Booker and Chris Paul seem to take over from Mikal Bridges in the 2nd half. The plan is working fine so far!

  • Booker has significantly increased his shooting percentage in the 2nd half against the Bucks compared with his season performances.
    • He’s been 7/14 and 5/9 in field goals in the 3rd and 4th quarter respectively.
    • That’s a 10% and 15% improvement in efficiency compared with his playoff performance!
  • CP3 has really been amazing in the playoffs. 62% of his shots in the Finals are made in the 2nd half.
    • He’s been 10/12 in the 3rd quarter and 4/12 in the 4th.
    • His 3rd quarter efficiency has shot up by 31% compared with his 3rd quarter playoff performance!!!
  • Bridges averages 20.5 pts in the Finals so far and he’s made most of his points in the 1st half.
    • He’s shot 8/13 in the 1st half and 4/12 in the 3rd quarter.
    • His 1st half efficiency is 12% higher in the Finals than what it was in the previous Playoff series.
    • His 2nd half shooting percentages have dropped by around 20%.

Giannis wants it bad, but the rest need to step up

The Bucks are down 2-0 and they desperately need to win at Milwaukee to turn this series around. Khris and Jrue really need to improve if they want to help the two-time MVP Giannis bring Milwaukee the title.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo fought through his knee injury and has been amazing in the Finals.
    • He’s 6/8 in field goals in each of the 3rd and 4th quarter.
    • That’s a 21% and 16% improvement in efficiency compared with his playoff performance!
  • Khris Middleton has been taking 55% of his shots in the Finals in the 1st half. He’s been struggling to make them though.
    • He’s been 7/23 in the 1st half – not good at all.
    • His 1st half efficiency of 30% is 17% lower than his regular season shooting percentage.
  • Jrue Holiday is performing far lower than his abilities. 63% of his shots are in the 1st half.
    • Holiday has made just 5 out of 22 shots in the 1st half.
    • His 1st half efficiency has dropped 28% in the Finals than what it was in the regular season.
    • His 3rd quarter shooting percentage has dropped by 22% compared with the regular season.

An exciting NBA season should leave us with an exciting Finals series. For that to happen, the Bucks need to shuffle the cards to avoid losing early.

What are your predictions?

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