Abacus’ Basketball Algebra – 2021 Finals “tied” after three games
In an average 12-minute quarter during these 2021 NBA Finals, the teams are each attempting a tad over 22 field goals, eight or nine apiece from beyond the three-point arc (par for the course in today’s NBA) … but while Monty Williams’s Suns are taking about the same number of shots “in the paint” as they are three-pointers, the Bam-Bam Bucks attack the rim for 11 FGA’s per quarter within what once was called the – even for a “minute” looked like a – Key. A mere 34 of Milwaukee’s 271 attempts to score from the field, one-out-of-eight, have come from the so-called “Mid-range.”
‘Twould seem Coach Budenholzer is implementing a basic tenet of the analytically-approved path to victory these days – take as many shots as possible at the rim or behind the arc. On top of that, per game they are attempting three more free throws and earning two more trips to the foul line than Phoenix, not to mention notching six more Second Chance points.
Indeed, the Bucks have out-converted Phoenix 155-148 for a 53%-51% advantage in Conversion Percentage (CV%).
But the Suns have missed only eight FT’s while making 40 3FG’s, a boost of 32 points (or 16 two-point conversions); Giannis & Co. have clanked 21 times at the “charity stripe” so their 39 treys show just an 18-point (or nine-possession) up-grade.
And when we credit the teams for this “Striping,” they end up dead even in “Adjusted Conversions” with 164 each …
… and since our “adjustment” confers credit for the “extra” point awarded to Looong shots and penalizes for errant foul (is that redundant?) shooting, each adjusted conversion is worth exactly two points.
So, each team’s statistical footprint through three games computes to an expected point production of 328 points.
In actuality, a little simple arithmetic – or a glance a few lines down – shows that Phoenix is +3 in scoring for the series, 336-333 … not to mention that none of the Q4’s has been particularly competitive.
But mathematically, the missing points are found at the free-throw line, arriving primarily as and-1’s, (technical fouls and fouling someone taking a trey will also result in such ancillary FT’s).
Phoenix shooters (CP3 four different times) have induced six and-1’s (to five for Milwaukee, three via GA). Also (and albeit in Sunday’s losing effort) Devin Booker got fouled on a 3FGA and old friend Jae Crowder provoked Bobby Portis into a Tech.