Commentary

Who could die by the 3?

The Spurs and Magic already lost thanks to the 3; others could fall if the 3 doesn't

Updated: May 2, 2011, 4:38 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
SpursSoobum Im-/US PresswireManu Ginobili and the Spurs were frustrated by the Grizzlies' 3-point defense in the first round.

The two upset victims during the first round of the NBA playoffs share a common thread: a love of the 3-point shot. The Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs, who both lost their series in six games last week, ranked atop the league in 3-point attempts and 3-point percentage, respectively. Yet both teams struggled to maintain that kind of perimeter attack in their playoff series, leading to early exits from the postseason.

Orlando's power outage from beyond the arc started with Jason Collins and Zaza Pachulia. Because the Atlanta Hawks' two centers were able to hold Dwight Howard in check without double-team help, the Hawks could stay at home on the Magic's perimeter shooters and contest their long-distance attempts. Howard had just three assists in six games. Although he has never racked up dimes, more than half of the 1.4 assists Howard averaged during the regular season led to 3-pointers, per Hoopdata.com.


For a full explanation of why the Spurs and Magic shouldn't give up on their 3-point strategy despite their first-round losses, become an ESPN Insider today.