We were so close to avoiding Warriors-Cavs Part IV. Then, the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets forgot how to shoot.
The Celtics were the first to falter, shooting just 17.9 percent from 3-point range Sunday night in a Game 7 loss to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals.
But the Rockets somehow outdid Boston’s futility Monday night. After jumping out to an early lead over Golden State in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, Houston missed 27 consecutive 3-pointers en route to a 101-92 loss.
Despite holding home-court advantage, the Celtics and Rockets were staggeringly ineffective from deep in their final games of the season. The clubs shot a combined 16.9 percent (14 for 83) from three in Game 7 and were especially brutal in the second half: Boston hit on 3 of 20 3-point attempts, while Houston made just 1 of 21 3-pointers. That’s a combined shooting percentage of less than 10 percent (9.8).
Those are truly remarkable stats, considering the Rockets made more 3-pointers at home during the regular season (15.5 per game) than any other NBA team, while the Celtics weren’t far off at 11.4 3-pointers per game, tied for seventh in the NBA.
It’s a make-or-miss league, though, and when it mattered most, each team’s sharpshooters failed to deliver.
Houston’s James Harden and Eric Gordon went a combined 4-for-25 from beyond the arc in Game 7, an awful showing that somehow still was better than Boston’s starting backcourt: Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown knocked down just 3 of their 22 3-point attempts.
The result of all this futility? A record fourth straight meeting between the Warriors and Cavs.
The Rockets and Celtics both had golden opportunities on their own floor to prevent that historic matchup. But the Game 7 spotlight apparently was a bit too bright, while the seasoned Warriors and Cavs stepped up to earn a fourth straight NBA Finals meeting.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images