Far from perfect from 3-point range against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Boston Celtics nevertheless deployed the deep ball as a weapon which helped them advance to the conference finals.
Compared with their rivals, the Celtics were actually historically good, even with a few shaky performances.
Via ESPN, Boston connected on 53 more 3-pointers than Milwaukee during the seven-game series, the largest gap in NBA postseason history.
Add it all up, the Celtics were plus-159 from 3 over the Bucks in the series. For a series in which Boston outscored Milwaukee by only 55 points in all, its success from 3 played a massive role in the Celtics advancing.
In their four wins, Boston shot just over 41 percent (73 for 178) from beyond the arc, compared with about 32 percent (37 for 114) in their three losses.
The highs included performances like that of Grant Williams in Game 7, when he set a record from 3-point attempts in a seventh game, or that of Al Horford in Game 4, when he was efficient as ever by connecting on 5 of 7 from deep. But there were also performances like Game 1, in which the Celtics set a then-franchise record for the postseason with 50 attempts from 3 -- since broken in Game 7 -- but connected on only 18, or a dreadful 9 for 33 showing in Game 4.
Milwaukee hardly ever got going from distance, however, even in its wins. The Bucks made more than 10 shots from 3 just twice in the series (wins in Games 1 and 5). There was no Batman to the rescue for Milwaukee, especially in Game 7 (4 for 33), Game 6 (7 for 29) or Game 2 (3 for 18).
The Celtics have almost redefined what it means to live and die by the 3, but will face an incredibly tough task from deep against the Miami Heat, who matched the C's and Golden State Warriors -- a Western Conference finalist -- for the best defensive 3-point field goal percentage in the NBA in the regular season at 33.9 percent.