The small corner of the Internet smart basketball writing occupies is particularly strong, though even in a sea of outstanding writers, analysts and funny men, Zach Lowe's Point-Forward blog on Sports Illustrated has become essential. If you're not reading it daily, you should be.
On Friday, Lowe shined some light on the importance of three-point shots from the corners of the court and how making them and defending them often translates to success in the standings. It should come as no surprise that Tom Thibodeau's Chicago Bulls are elite in this regard. The Bulls have had a reputation as arguably the league's most formidable defense since Thibodeau was hired, and this is one occasion when the stats back up what we're watching every night.
On the importance of corner threes, Lowe says:
Teams last season shot 39 percent on corner threes, which is about the same percentage teams shoot overall on two-pointers outside the restricted area. Teams last season shot about 35.5 percent on all three-pointers, meaning they shot something like 33.5 percent to 34 percent on three-pointers taken anywhere but the corners.
On the Bulls:
Chicago is ridiculous. The Bulls through 49 games this season had allowed 140 corner-three attempts. The Sixers, through that same stretch, had allowed the second-fewest — 192. The gap between Chicago and Philly is the equivalent of the gap between the Sixers and the league average for corner-three attempts allowed. Chicago opponents are attempting just 2.85 corner threes per game; the average team attempts about five per game.
Guess who yielded the fewest corner-three attempts last season? The Bulls, with a total of 305, or about 3.8 per game. They have shaved a full attempt off that number this season. Tom Thibodeau is scary.
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