DATA DEPENDENT: 12 Takeaways going into the NBA Finals.

After what feels like a long, grind of a season, the NBA Finals are here. The Milwaukee Bucks take on the Phoenix Suns. Here are some key numbers going into tonight’s game. If you want the full data-deep-dive, we suggest heading over to nba.com.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have finally reached the pinnacle most pundits predicted they’d reach last season (and perhaps even the season before). They’ve made the most out of beating up on banged teams. Now it’s their turn as they enter tonight’s game with Giannis Antetokounmpo a game time decision.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 40.0 points during two 1-point losses to Phoenix this season.
  • Have been the best first-quarter team in the playoffs, outscored their opponents by 15.0 points per 100 possessions in the opening 12 minutes.
  • Lead the playoffs in both fast break points differential (+5.2 per game) and points in the paint differential (+12.1 per game). And 15.2% of their points, the playoffs’ highest rate, have been second-chance points.
  • Have seen the biggest drop in points allowed per 100 possessions from the regular season (110.7, ninth) to the playoffs (105.0, first).
  • Rank 14th in free throw percentage (71.3%).
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the playoffs with 12.7 rebounds per game and 13 double-doubles. He’s grabbed 26.8% of available defensive rebounds while he’s been on the floor. Antetokounmpo leads all players with 20.1 points in the paint per game, the highest playoff average for any player since Shaquille O’Neal averaged 21.6 points in the paint in 2000-01. Antetokounmpo also leads the playoffs with 49 dunks.

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The Phoenix Suns

Coming into tonight’s game, the Suns are the healthier team (for now, at least). Devin Booker has blossomed nicely this season and Chris Paul has provided the steadiness, leadership, and general on-court brilliance. If they can stay healthy and play against a compromised Bucks title should be theirs for the taking.

  • Have been the best second-quarter team in the playoffs, outscoring their opponents by 13.5 points per 100 possessions in the second period. They’re +12.0 per 100 in the first half of games and just +1.7 per 100 in the second half (much worse defensively), though they’re still 11-1 after leading at the half.
  • Have scored 1.28 points per possession in transition, the second best mark in the playoffs.
  • Have shot 86.2% from the free throw line, the best mark in NBA history for a team with at least 250 free throw attempts.
  • Defensively, Have seen the biggest drop in opponent effective field goal percentage from the regular season (53.4%, 10th) to the playoffs (49.8%, first).
  • Booker has shot 105-for-115 (91.3%) from the free throw line, the best mark among nine players with at least 75 attempts. Antetokounmpo has the worst mark (53.7%).
  • Booker ranks second in clutch usage rate, having used 44.8% of the Suns’ possessions (via field goal attempts, turnovers and trips to the line) when he’s been on the floor with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. He’s 2-for-5 on clutch field goal attempts and 5-for-5 on clutch free throws, with one assist and all five of the Suns’ clutch turnovers.

SOURCE: nba.com


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