2016 NBA Finals chock full of garbage time
Harrison Barnes shaded to help defend LeBron James as Barnes’ man, Iman Shumpert, darted to the corner. LeBron passed to the open Shumpert. Leaning toward LeBron, Barnes had no chance of shifting his balance quickly enough to recover.
Yet, Barnes scrambled into a frantic rush toward Shumpert, doing his best to contest the shot however he could.
Shumpert hit the 3-pointer anyway to put put the Cavaliers up by 23 early in the fourth quarter, and there wasn’t much hustling after that. Cleveland led by more than 20 the final 10:50 of Game 3.
Combined with the Warriors’ routs in Games 1 and 2, the 2016 NBA Finals has featured a lot of garbage time.
The scoring margin has been greater than 20 points for 23 minutes already – as much as the entire 2014 and 2015 Finals combined. Only the 2008 Finals between the Celtics and Lakers (35 minutes) and 1998 Finals between the Bulls and Jazz (25 minutes) have had more in the last 20 years.
And we’re just three games into this series.
Here are the number of minutes in each of the last 20 Finals (as far back as NBA.com data goes) where the scoring margin was more than 20 points: