Warriors 3rd quarters made visual from the NBA Playoffs

If you are following the NBA Playoffs and Final you would have heard about this already, even during regular season, the Golden State Warriors had very strong and often game changing third quarters.

Let’s take a look at what has happened during the NBA Playoffs and Final.

I have put together a simple table with all points, total and quarters, from all games and made some simple calculations.

Spoiler Alert

The most telling stat is the Points Difference: 76,5% of their advantage was during 3rd quarters.
G = gap points, G1 = gap points for Q1, A3 = points after Q3

The Warriors won 16 out of 21 of the games, with a cumulative positive points difference of 196.

Game by game points difference

The game with the biggest points difference was Game 3 with the Rockets at 41.

But how important was the 3rd quarter?

Let’s look for some evidence

Taking into account each quarter in isolation the Warriors have performed like:

  • 1st quarters: Won 10, Lost 11, Total Points 563-551, Average Points 26.8, Points Difference 12
  • 2nd quarters: Won 12, lost 8, tied 1, Total Points 567–553, Average Points 27.0, Points Difference 14
  • 3rd quarters: Won 17, Lost 4, Total Points 634–481, Average Points 30.2, Points Difference 153
  • 4th quarters: Won 11, Lost 10, Total Points 538–517, Average Points 25.6, Points Difference 21

At the end of 2nd quarters the Warriors where on top 10 times, 3 ties, 8 below
At the end of 3rd quarters the Warriors where on top 18 times, 3 below (3 games which they lost)

So basically 8 times they reversed the score in 3rd quarters

Quarters won

Yup, they definitively won more 3rd quarters, but let’s dig deep

Total Points for and against

If we look at the points scored vs conceded the impact of 3rd quarters is there but even less dramatic

Average Points

There is quite a gap here

And it looks much better if we offset it at 25 as a basis

Points Difference

But the most telling stats come when you check the cumulative number of gap points of each quarter in isolation, basically adding all scores differences for each single quarter (positive and negative)

  • 1st quarters: 12
  • 2nd quarters: 14
  • 3rd quarters: 153
  • 4th quarters: 21
The Warriors scored 153 points more than the opponents in 3rd quarters, compared to 12, 14, 21, which is 76,5%.

This is so stunning in so many ways.

There is a wealth of stats around the NBA and this is a very small case, but it’s fascinating to see how simply by visualizing the same numbers of the first data table let you gather evidence in a visual way that is so much more telling a story than anything else. In this case even the most simple visualization can make a difference, but a more beautified version of this can be used in digital and broadcast.

So as the message to our sector:

Do not stop at stats tables, go visual to look for the most engaging ways to tell a stats story.
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