The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have been to the NBA Finals three consecutive years.
Many roundball observers fully expect both teams to meet again in the Finals this season.
There are a variety of reasons why the Warriors and Cavaliers have been so highly successful: great players, outstanding coaches, committed owners, etc.
The Warriors and Cavs have also been blessed to have high-octane scorers in recent seasons and this year isn’t any different. The Warriors’ “Big Three’’ of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson have combined to score a whopping 72.7 points per game: Curry 26.3 points, Durant 25.7 and Thompson 20.7.
That is easily the highest scoring output by a trio of teammates in the league.
The Cavs’ scoring production took a hit when Kyrie Irving moved onto the Boston Celtics. Yet, the Cavs’ current top three scorers – LeBron James (28.2 points), Kevin Love (19.1) and Derrick Rose (14.3) – have still combined to score 61.6 points.
That ranks the Cavs’ top three scorers sixth in the league, although you can fully expect the Cavs to climb the scoring charts once the injured Isaiah Thomas returns to action. Thomas, in case you forgot, averaged 28.9 points a game last season for the Celtics.
While the Cavs and Warriors have clearly illustrated the importance of having three elite scorers, so have a slew of other teams this season. In fact, of the nine best scoring threesomes in the league, eight of their teams would be in the playoffs if they commenced today. The lone exception is Oklahoma City.
Here is a breakdown of the nine highest scoring trios and their team’s records:
1. GOLDEN STATE
(72.7 points and 22-8 record)
Steph Curry (26.3), Kevin Durant (25.7) and Klay Thompson (20.7).
2. NEW ORLEANS
(69.2 points and 14-14 record)
DeMarcus Cousins (26.1), Anthony Davis (25.1) and Jrue Holiday (18.0).
(67.9 points and 15-10 record)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.8), Khris Middleton (20.1) and Eric Bledsoe (18.0)
(65.8 points and 21-4 record)
James Harden (32.0), Eric Gordon (19.0), Chris Paul (14.8).
5. OKLAHOMA CITY
(61.6 points and 12-14 record)
Russell Westbrook (23.0), Paul George (20.6) and Carmelo Anthony (18.0).
(61.6 points and 20-8 record)
LeBron James (28.2), Kevin Love (19.1) and Derrick Rose (14.3)
(59.4 points and 14-13 record)
Bradley Beal (24.0), John Wall (20.3) and Otto Porter (15.1).
(58.2 points and 16-12 record)
Karl Anthony-Towns (20.1), Jimmy Butler (19.8) and Andrew Wiggins (18.3)
(58.2 points and 14-13 record)
Joel Embiid (23.7), Ben Simmons (17.5) and J.J. Redick (17.0)
While it isn’t imperative that a team has three prime-time scorers – Boston and San Antonio are showing that again – having a trio of legitimate scorers clearly helps a team’s playoff cause.
Photo by BILL TENNESSEN