In his piece “These days, more than ever, the best teams shoot the three”, NBA.com writer John Schuhmann examined the value of the three-point shot and how it has been a difference-maker in the NBA today:
“The 3-point shot has come a long way in its 35 years in the NBA. And it has changed the game dramatically,” Schuhmann wrote.
“The 3-point shot demoralizes an opponent; there is no question about that. You’re working hard on defense and all of a sudden there is a 3-pointer and you feel so deflated. If the deficit goes from two to five with a minute to go, you’re dead in the water. It’s really a killer.
Twenty-five years later, a guard or small forward who can’t shoot threes is an offensive liability. It’s preferred that even power forwards step out and shoot from the outside.
Just 10 years ago, NBA defenses focused on protecting the paint. Now they know that they have to defend the perimeter as much as they defend the basket. Teams with guards or forwards who can’t shoot make that job easier.
Golden State and Atlanta are no. 1 and no. 2 in three-point percentage, and they are the top teams in their respective conferences. In addition, they are in the top six of three-pointers made and attempted per game.
Rain or Shine torched Meralco on Sunday night with 19 three-pointers (league season-high) made on an impressive 50 percent clip to win 92-82 and move to a 2-0 advantage in their best-of-5 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semi-finals series. This included a 32-14 third quarter scoring advantage where the Elasto Painters made a furious run anchored by their three-point conversions as they nailed shot after shot from deep.
Paul Lee spearheaded the surge with 23 points, four rebounds, three assists in just 25 minutes and five-for-seven from downtown.
“Maganda ang ball movement namin. Yun naman ang goal namin, keep looking for the open guy. Nakakuha lang (ng panalo) dahil nagco-convert,” Lee said.
It was not just luck. It was not totally a fluke. It was a combination of excellent ball movement and moving well without the ball to get open looks from deep.
“Basketball is all about unselfishness and moving the ball from one side to another is key to the offense,” Jonathan Uyloan, who made three triples in Game 2, shared.
People shouldn’t be surprised Rain or Shine is attacking opponents from three-point territory. It has been one of the team’s most effective weapons since Yeng Guiao took over the helm.
The top-seeded Elasto Painters have been in the finals of two of the last four conferences and made the semifinals of each of the last five. They are a win away from entering the finals, and three-point shooting has something to do with it.
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Furthermore, there is something about Rain or Shine’s shot distribution that makes them a contender every time.
By league standards, 26 percent of teams’ total field goal attempts are from three-point land this conference. But for Guiao’s wards, 36 percent of their shots are from beyond the arc. They also take less shots from mid-range at only 12 percent compared to the league average of 18.
Why settle for a long two when you can move just a little farther and make an attempt that will have a chance to result to a point more?
“We were able to connect. In the first half we did not get the movement that we wanted to and got stagnant on offense,” Chris Tiu, who scored 10 points, said. “But when we started moving, and they were doubling on the post, they were making mistakes on the ball screens. Sometimes they go under, sometimes no communication sa switches, and that gave us opportunities.”
Going back to what Schuhmann said, teams nowadays are also concerned about protecting the perimeter and if your forwards can’t shoot, it would be a lot easier for the opposing team’s defense.
Guiao’s team is a floor-spacing team. They have a lot of shooters. Their bigs have an extended range. Anyone has the license to shoot from way out, and it has resulted to team success for the Elasto Painters. On the other hand, Meralco lacks perimeter defenders and it proved to be costly, as Rain or Shine kept hurting them from deep.
Now a loss away from elimination, the Bolts must find a way to stop the Rain or Shine avalanche.