GameChangers (06/09/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Game-Changing plays from the NBA Finals.



To highlight the Live ScoreCaster, we took our in-game technology to the next level to review the game-changing plays from NBA Playoffs and what the game would have looked like if the plays had turned out differently.

Click the header below to view the Game Breakdown for Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

LeBron James and the unlikely Matthew Dellavedova combined for 60 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists in Cleveland's 96-91 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

The improbable pair, LeBron and Dellavedova, Kyrie Irving's backup, made one play after another to spark the Cavs. Cleveland entered the fourth up by 17 points but their lead was cut to one following a Curry three pointer with 2:48 to play (CLE 59% likely to win).

Cue the Cavs' amazing duo. On the ensuing possession, Delly drove the lane and completed a circus shot for a three-point play by drawing a foul on Curry. Seconds later Curry turned the ball over leading to a LeBron three pointer. Cleveland extended its lead to 87-80, the Cavs' expected win probability increased from 59% to 95%.



The undrafted Australian and the four time MVP have given Cleveland a 2-1 series lead.

The Warriors could have won if…

Before Game 3, the NBA admitted that its referees missed calls in the closing minutes of Game 2. In the pivotal third game of the NBA Finals the refs did their best to get the calls right and in the end this may have cost the Warriors the game.

With 18 seconds to play, following a Curry three pointer that cut the Cavs lead to 94-91, Cleveland struggled to inbound the ball. On a broken play, Dellavedova received the inbounds pass and was forced to the sideline by Klay Thompson appearing to step out of bounds.

The refs ruled that Cleveland turned the ball over and gave possession to Golden State.



After reviewing the play, the officials correctly ruled that Thompson was out of bounds, not Dellavedova and therefore Cleveland retained possession.

Had the officials blown another call (not overturned the play), the Warriors would have had the ball trailing by three with 18 seconds to play. Golden State's expected win probability would have increased from 17 percent to 33 percent.