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#pounditFriday, December 9, 2022

Crazy stat shows why Celtics hit so many 3-pointers in Game 1

Marcus Smart dribbles the ball

Jan 28, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) dribbles against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics had an incredible shooting night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and the result was a 120-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Many people have pointed out the remarkable 3-point percentage is not sustainable, but one eye-popping statistic shows how much of a better job Steve Kerr’s team needs to do defending the perimeter.

The Celtics shot 21-for-41 — or 51.2 percent — from 3-point range — on Thursday night. Draymond Green and others chalked that up to Boston’s role players getting unusually hot at the right time. One Reddit user pointed out that there was a lot more to it than that.

According to advanced stats from NBA.com, the Celtics were either “open” or “wide open” on 38 of 41 of their 3-point attempts. The metric for “open” is defined as the nearest defender being 4-6 feet away. A shooter is considered “wide open” when the nearest defender is more than six feet away. Of the 41 shots, 23 were “wide open,” which basically means they were totally uncontested.

The Warriors led 92-80 at the end of the third quarter. Boston then outscored them 40-16 in the fourth quarter. Green can laugh off the flukey shooting all he wants, but it sure looked like Golden State was gassed late in the game. The stats all but prove it.

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