The Cleveland Cavaliers became one of 13 NBA teams in NBA history to make over 800 three-pointers in a single season. The additions of J.R. Smith and Kevin Love have helped spread out the offense and create more scoring opportunities for Kyrie Irving. The three point shot has thus become a crucial part of Cavaliers offense, due to the fact that it also opens up so much room inside the paint for the big men and the drivers. Mozgov and Thompson can go to work one-on-one because if they’re double-teamed, the chance at an open shooter knocking down the long jumper is very high.
After a 99-94 win over the Bulls late in the season, Lebron talked about the Cavs three-point shot attempts:
“There’s great shots and good shots. For a team like us that moves the ball, we have so many options. We have to understand, ‘Let’s try to get great shots.’ The three-point weapon is a huge portion of our team, and we understand that. During the course of the game sometimes, you have to know the time of possession and what’s the difference between the rhythm shot and an off-rhythm shot.”
Pair the excellent trades with the return of James from his two week absence, and the three-point shooting of the Cavs has been an absolute key to their overall success. On the season, they had 37 games of at least 10 three-pointers made and 12 games of at least 15 three-point field goals made.
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Although he feels like the Cavs settle for threes too often, Blatt said he’s good with the amount of three-point shooting:
“We’ve been a very good three-point shooting team all year, and a lot of it is coming off of action from the post or from drive and kick out, which is a good thing. No complaints.”
The spreading of the floor is a main reason that both Mozgov and Thompson are in the top 10 players with most dunks this season. Kyrie and Love have combined for 301 made three-pointers on the season. With their ability to both knock down threes as well as their aggressiveness getting to the line, makes them one of the most difficult teams to defend.
“If you make 16 threes and you hit 43 percent, you’re going to give yourself a great chance to win.”
“We’re a team that has players who create 3-point opportunities for others. We’re not necessarily drawing up plays on every occasion to shoot the 3. We have players that get downhill. We’ve got drive-and-kick players. We’ve got floor spacers that are recognizable and accessible to guys that will get them the ball. A good 3 is a lot better than a long 2, so we shoot them.”
If the Cavs can continue this outside shooting in the playoffs, they’ll be on their way to delivering a long awaited championship to Cleveland.