Playing the Numbers Game: Eight Things for Eight, Long Years in Cleveland

It has been eight years since LeBron James led the Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals appearance. The King has returned to Cleveland to attempt to retake the throne that he has given the city of Miami the past couple years. To commemorate the city of Cleveland’s return to sports relevancy (welp), here is a list of eight statistics that will play a big role in the upcoming series between LeBron & Co and the Splash Brothers of Golden State.

.4 – Stephen Curry can gather his dribble and release his shot in a mere 0.4 seconds, much faster than the average player. This is one of bigger reasons that Curry broke his own NBA record by draining 286 3s this season.

1 – Both coaches, Steve Kerr for the Warriors and David Blatt for the Cavaliers, are coaching in their first NBA finals in their first year on the job. The last rookie coach to win the Finals was Pat Riley with the 1982 “Showtime” Lakers.

3 – There are three players from Australia playing in the Finals, Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova of the Cavaliers and Andrew Bogut of the Warriors. Only two other players in NBA history have won the NBA finals as Australians, Luc Longley of the 1980s Bulls and Patty Mills on last year’s Spurs team.

5 – LeBron is playing in his fifth consecutive NBA finals, his first after playing for the Heat. No player in the last 50 years has accomplished this feat besides James Jones, LeBron’s teammate every single year. James will bring his experience to the Finals against a young Warriors team.

10 – Tristan Thompson is averaging close to 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs, and if the King wants to match the Warriors insane offensive output, Thompson and Timofey Mozgov and will have to keep being beasts on the glass.

53 – The Cavaliers only won 53 games this season, going 53-29, which was good for seventh-best record in the NBA. 28 of the last 40 NBA titles have been won by teams with the first- or second-best records in the NBA. Only twice in the last 40 years have the champions had a worse record, most recently coming with the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.

118 – Stephen Curry is pure magic beyond the arc, as is evidenced by his 118 unassisted 3s this past regular season. The Denver Nuggets as a team were 11th in the NBA in unassisted 3s with 106.

1964 – Cleveland and Oakland have the longest championship droughts among cities with Big 4 sports teams. The Cleveland Browns won a championship in 1964 behind the great Otto Graham. Fans in Cleveland have been waiting a long time to get a chance to bask in the glory of LeBron parading down the streets of Cleveland with a trophy in hand.

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