We Can Pod It Out 125: Wild Honey Pie
Max Strus' frigid start to the NBA Finals sets a new obscure record
At least Max Strus has a whole rest of the finals to try to make a three-pointer. When John Starks went 0-for-11 from downtown in 1994, it was in Game 7, and the Knicks losing by six points, well, it’s still haunting 29 years later.
Strus and the Heat got beat by the Nuggets in Game 1 last night a lot worse than the 104-93 score suggested. Strus was 0-for-10 overall, but his 0-for-9 on threes put him right behind Starks on the all-time list for ouch games shooting from distance in the NBA Finals.
Along with Strus? Stephen Curry was 0-for-9 on three-pointers in Game 5 last year, a game that Golden State still won by 10 points because Andrew Wiggins scored 26, Klay Thompson added 21, and Curry still went 7-for-13 on two-pointers, plus a pair of free throws.
And that’s it. Starks, then Strus and Curry. Ray Allen (2010) and J.R. Smith (2015) had 0-for-8 games on three-pointers, and four more players (Sam Perkins, 1996; Scottie Pippen, 1998; Kyrie Irving, 2017; and Devin Booker, 2021) have had Finals performances of 0-for-7 three-point shooting.
All of those players, though, scored points. Strus’ 21 minutes are far from the record for most scoreless time in a Finals game — that was Byron Scott on 0-for-8 shooting in 43 minutes in Game 3 in 1991 — and also not a Heat team high, as Chris Bosh did not score in 28 minutes of a 95-88 win over the Spurs in Game 7 in 2013.
But Strus did set a record: 10 field goal attempts, zero points. The previous NBA Finals record had stood for 20 years. Malik Rose went 0-for-9 in the Spurs’ 77-76 loss to the Nets in Game 4 in 2003, a game in which San Antonio, as a team, shot 29% from the field including 4-for-18 on threes. Speedy Claxton almost bailed out a team that got a combined eight points from Tony Parker, Stephen Jackson, and… well… also Rose.
The Spurs won that series, so Rose got a ring to soothe the pain of a scoreless Finals game in which his team lost by a single point.
There’s only been one time that a player went 0-for-7 or worse and their team won, out of 10 occurrences in Finals history: in Game 4 in 1953, Lew Hitch shot 0-for-7, but the Minneapolis Lakers got 27 points and 19 boards from George Mikan, and the Knicks did not have a nice night shooting at the 69th Regiment Armory, connecting on just 29% of their shots to lose, 71-69, the third of four straight New York defeats after winning Game 1 in Minnesota.