“Oh Shoot!” – Mathematics Made Kyle Lowry Attempt Three-Point Buzzer-Beater That Doomed His Team According to Math Research by the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)

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MoMath study examined the evolution of shooting of championship teams from 1992-2019 and how basketball has become a perimeter game

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WHAT: Mathematics is what made Kyle Lowry attempt the three-point buzzer-beater in game 5 of the NBA Finals that doomed his team, according to math research by the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath). MoMath research, conducted by Tim Chartier MoMath’s Advisory Council Past Chair and research Mathematician, examined the evolution of shooting of championship teams from 1992-2019 and how basketball has become a perimeter game.

In game 5, Kyle Lowry attempted a three-point buzzer-beater to clinch the 2019 Championship title. The Raptors were only down one point and yet Lowry chose to shoot a three-pointer when they only needed a field goal to win the game. MoMath’s research reveals that players are shooting six times the amount of three-point attempts than NBA Championship teams in the 1990s and are shooting nearly 4 feet further from the rim. During the regular season, the Warriors have attempted 2,824 three-pointers which is six times the amount of three-point attempts from the Bulls in 1992 (454).

One of the biggest impacts of long-range shooting is that teams are able to score more points quickly due to the number of three-pointers that they are taking. Game 5 supports MoMath’s research because the Warriors won last night because they made 20 three-pointers as a team — the second most in an NBA finals game. In the past 10 years, teams who were behind by 15 or more points in the fourth quarter have gone on to win the game 2.5 times more often than the previous 50 years.

About Tim Chartier
Tim Chartier is MoMath’s Advisory Council Past Chair who frequently works in data analytics with a specialty in sports analytics. Chartier runs a sports analytics group at Davidson College called “Cats Stats” and works with Davidson College athletics. Chartier’s work has expanded beyond college sports, completing projects for ESPN, the New York Times, the U.S. Olympic Committee, NBA, NFL, and NASCAR. In addition to Chartier’s teaching and research, he has authored various award-winning books, such as Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing, which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and When Life is Linear: From Computer Graphics to Bracketology, which won the Beckenbach Book Prize as a distinguished, innovative book.

About the National Museum of Mathematics
MoMath, the only math museum in North America, is located at 11 East 26th Street on the northside of popular Madison Square Park in Manhattan and is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. For more information, visit momath.org

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