The Finals Stat: Game 5

VIDEO: Stephen Curry talks post-game about the Warriors’ win.

Game 5 basics
Pace 95.1 95.1
OffRtg 96.6 108.4
EFG% 46.9% 56.0%
OREB% 23.8% 28.9%
TO Ratio 14.9 17.7
FTA rate 0.259 0.453

OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors are one win from their first championship in 40 years after outlasting the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of The Finals on Sunday. Stephen Curry caught fire, leading the way with 37 points. Andre Iguodala had another terrific, both-ends-of-the-floor performance and LeBron James put up more ridiculous numbers (40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists) in a losing effort.

One stat stood out from the rest in the Warriors’ 104-91 victory.

The stat

12:31 – Total playing time for centers in Game 5.

The context

It was the small-ball game. Not only did the Warriors stick with their no-center starting lineup (Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in the frontcourt), but the Cavs went small for most of the night as well.

Mozgov was replaced by J.R. Smith less than five minutes into the game and didn’t return until the final minute of the third quarter. The Cavs even went to a super-small lineup – with James playing point-center, surrounded by guards and small forwards – for a few minutes in the first quarter. That lineup was a plus-5.

Mozgov played just 9:19 total. Warriors back-up center Festus Ezeli played 3:12 in the second half (to match up with Mozgov). Andrew Bogut, who has started 83 games this season, did not play.

With extra floor spacing, it was the best offensive game of the series, with the teams combining to score 111 points per 100 possessions. Sixty-one 3-pointers were launched, with James, Curry and Klay Thompson hitting threes of 34, 26 and 29 feet in a 58-second sequence early in the fourth quarter.

“It’s more screen-and-roll heavy,” Curry said of the small-ball action. “That’s how we’ve been effective all year, because we have the versatility and the talent, all 1 through 5 on the floor, to be able to make those plays.”

The Cavs looked like they had that versatility at times, too. They hung around with the Warriors, taking a one-point lead that James’ 34-footer. But the Warriors are obviously the best small-ball team in the league, and they outlasted the Cavs, thanks to Curry’s 17-point fourth quarter. Golden State’s new starters were a plus-14 together in a little less than 21 minutes.

“I felt that the best chance for us to stay in the game and to have a chance to win,” Cavs coach David Blatt said, “was to play it the way we played it.”

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
EFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TO Ratio = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA / FGA


  1. Nick says:

    Mosgov does a good job defending the paint and he can score. How much different can the lineup be for the Cav’s? They’re only playing 7 guys most of the time. Leaving Mosgov on the bench spells more fatigue for someone. He had an awesome game 4. I think it’s ridiculous to take him out just because of what Kerr is doing when there is no depth.
    No matter. As long as Lebron tries to win single-handedly the Cav’s will lose the series. It’s no coincidence that the more Lebron forces shots and the rest of his team stands around watching, their FG percentage suffers. Kinda hard to build an offensive rhythm when everyone is standing around watching one guy play!

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Every time I see a picture of Steph Curry I can’t help but think how much his daughter looks like him. Then I can’t help but remember what his daughter told him in the post game interview: “Daddy, be quiet!’ lol

  3. george says:

    well, with the big line-up the cavs lost by 20 if I remember correctly. so blatt had no other choice to go small. right decision but also did not work. the cavs are exhausted, it is over now.

  4. ChessCarnival says:

    I can only think about that music right now… “Go Big or Go Home” !!

  5. Kal says:

    many don’t like Blatt… i dunno, something about the understated way he handles questions, i like his style… he’s in an almost comically difficult spot right now (ditto Cavs) … i think they should stick with him, see how it goes after another training camp… he’d have more creative options if Irving and/or Love were healthy as expected… he did some good substitutions early in the series… also think this Finals is showing Cavs need to beef up their bench by one key rotation player… J.R. Smith should be Bron’s sub, instead of James Jones (all due respect, Jones has done great, but he should be the team’s Mike Miller and Mike Miller should be the team’s Marion)… anyway, they need another more reliable 2 guard… doesn’t have to be top talent, just good, solid. … or Dwayne Wade that works too…

  6. kilo says:

    Blatt was foolish to go small. Especially because Mozgov was effective. Why take out someone that gives you 28 pts? Just dumb. Oh well. Better. Advantage GSW.

  7. LJ allIncavs says:

    Don’t play small ball, use the same line up and get those extra boards, go deep with bench to give them extra rest…you can’t beat them on their own game…they can’t beat you on your game as well !!! Lebron is hope…