It was a (non) shooting display unlike anything we have ever seen.
On this day two years ago, May 28, 2018, the Houston Rockets set an NBA playoff record by missing 27 consecutive 3-pointers in their Game 7 loss to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.
The Rockets led by 15 points in the first half, but due to a classic Warriors third-quarter explosion -- and all those Houston missed 3s -- Golden State walked away with a 101-92 victory.
It’s a highlight that has been the bane of the Rockets’ existence for the last two years, and one that Warriors fans love to jeer about at any given moment.
But just how unlikely were those 27 straight misses?
Two years ago, FiveThirtyEight did the math and well, it was highly improbable.
As in, 1-in-72,000 improbable.
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FiveThirtyEight published a story the day after the game that used Quantified Shot Probability (qSP) data in order to “weigh the likelihood of a shot going in depending on who’s taking it, how close the nearest defender is to the shot, and how quickly that player is closing out -- from Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats, which use high-level cameras to track on-court movement.”
With this data in hand, FiveThirtyEight concluded that the “Rockets embarked on an approximately 1-in-72,000 cold streak from deep at the worst possible time, with a trip to the Finals on the line.”
The Rockets’ misses were spread pretty evenly throughout the team, led by James Harden, of course, who went 0-10 during the span (Harden shot 36.7 percent from deep during the 2017-18 regular season). Eric Gordon (35.9 percent) missed seven, and Trevor Ariza (36.8 percent) missed six of his own.
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Happy two-year anniversary to this glorious game, Warriors fans. And next time the odds might seem long, remember that stranger things have happened.
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