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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Gold Rush: The 2015 NBA Finals Numbers Game d3.js, Part II

Welcome to the Part II of the NBA Finals 2015 series. If you haven't checked out Part I yet, read it here. With the one game apiece, both teams were wanting to have their names on the silverware.With the crowd bringing the roof down in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio with the Cavaliers’ chants, LeBron and his team were in for the home advantage. The match went on toe-to-toe and James led the scoring with 40 points, collecting 123 in the first three games of the finals. The Cavs beat the Warriors 96-91 to take lead for the first time in an NBA Finals.

Points scored by players during the NBA Finals 2015 (points proportional to size of circle)
The fans were in for a surprise when Steve Kerr decided to start with Iguodala on the floor and benched Andrew Bogut. The Cavs led 16-9 but the Warriors persevered hard and got 22-8 run leading in the first quarter. In an eventful second quarter, LeBron suffered a head injury after hitting one of the cameras on courtside, but continued playing. The Warriors went on to win 103-82 handing LeBron (holding him to a meager 20 points with 7-22) and the Cavs a postseason low. Iguodala guarded James reducing shots to 35% and caused 13 turnovers.
The series was tied again 2-2 and history witnessed that 71.4% of teams who won Game 5 in a 2-2 series went on to hold the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. James’ got his sixth triple-double but it was in vain as the Cavs were routed 104-91 in Oakland. James scored 40 points himself and assisted on 30 other points out of the total 91 that the Cavaliers scored. With 7:30 remaining on the clock and the scoreboard reading 80-79 in the favor of the Cavs, the Warriors bounced back with an amazing run of 25-11 with 17 points being scored by Steph Curry, which made all the difference.
James had a large role to play in Game 6 with 70 of the 91 points involving him.

It was time for Game 6 with the odds heavily in the favor of the team from Bay Area. Although the match was being held in Cleveland, the Oracle Arena in California was houseful as well. The Cavs were outscored in the first quarter 28-15 but cut the deficit to 45-43 at half-time. Each time the Warriors increased the lead the Cavaliers would cut the deficit only to see them come back even harder. It was down to the wire when the Cavs cut down the deficit to just 4 points with 40 seconds remaining but the Warriors cashed in the free-throw opportunities and took the title for the franchise after a 40 year drought.

The Finals earned the highest rating since 1998, when Michael Jordan played his last with the Chicago Bulls. Game 6 got a whooping rating of 15.9. (x-axis: Games, y-axis: Ratings)

There was no consolation for LeBron James as Iguodala was declared the MVP of the Finals joining Curry who was declared the MVP of the season. Iguodala in his eleventh season hadn’t started a game in the regular season but went on to be the Finals MVP and is the first player to do so. He scored 25 points in Game 6, his highest since October 2013. He averaged 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in the finals. James had as amazing series and one of the best players in a losing side. James shots were reduced to 40% as compared to last year’s 57% in the Finals, all credit to the Golden State Warriors.

Making the case for James' defense, James averaged 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.4 assists in the NBA Finals. He was first player to lead both the Cavs and Warriors in all three: points, rebounds and assists. James’ performance was MVP worthy but it has been only once in the NBA, NFL and MLB that the losing team’s player got the MVP award.
The respective players who were on the losing side and still won the MVP Award were:

James was only 3 votes behind the man who guarded him during the Finals, Iguodala, who went on to take the MVP hardware home. It was a treat for the fans to watch the Warriors take it home after 40 years. The Cavaliers didn't get the win but surely the loss has increased their hunger for the title next season. That's all folks from the NBA Finals 2015. Here's the first part of the visualisations of the 2015 NBA Finals, check it out!

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