Inside the NBA numbers: A look at the season's stats

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Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum, right, and Derrick White react during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Friday, April 7, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Scoring was up in the NBA this season, to a level not seen in more than a half-century.

NBA teams averaged 114.7 points per game. That’s the ninth-highest figure in the league’s 77 seasons and the most since teams averaged 116.7 per game in 1969-70.

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It represents a jump of 3.7% over last season.

A record 282,127 points were scored this season, smashing the previous mark of 273,573 set in 2018-19.

FREE THROW RECORD

The NBA has never had a better season from the foul line. Again.

The league-wide record for accuracy will fall for the third time in the last four seasons. Teams have combined to shoot 78.2% from the line this season.

That topped the 77.8% mark from two seasons ago. And while that difference — a mere 0.4% — doesn’t look like much, it is. NBA teams could have combined to miss their first 200 free throws on Sunday when the regular season was ending and still have been on pace to set a season record.

A BOSTON FIRST

When you've done something that's never been done before in Boston Celtics history, that's impressive.

So, take a bow, Jayson Tatum.

The forward averaged 30.1 points per game this season — the most ever by a Celtics player. John Havlicek and Isaiah Thomas each averaged 28.9 in their best seasons in Boston, and Larry Bird averaged 29.9 in 1987-88, but Tatum is the first to average 30.

Bird technically averaged 29.93 points that season, and two more points would have given him 29.95, which many would have rounded up to 30.0. He was five points shy that season of averaging exactly 30 per game.

BRIDGES' STREAK

Brooklyn's Mikal Bridges technically missed a game this season, but his consecutive games-played streak — now 392 games and counting — lives on because he wasn't eligible to play while the Nets were completing the process of acquiring him in a trade with the Phoenix Suns.

Regardless, he still played in a league-best 83 games this season. It's quirky, since a season is 82 games, but the Nets had more games to play than the Suns did when the trade happened. And it lived on in Sunday's season finale because Bridges appeared for the first 4 seconds to extend the streak, then checked out for the day.

Bridges didn't miss a game at Villanova, either. His last missed game was in high school.

Bridges is the first player to appear in 83 games in a season since Josh Smith in 2014-15. Bridges was one of 10 players to not miss a game this season — Houston’s Tari Eason and Kenyon Martin Jr., Chicago’s Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams, Boston’s Derrick White, Golden State teammates Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole, New York’s Isaiah Hartenstein and Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes also played in all 82 for their clubs this season.

The NBA's all-time record for games in a season probably is one of those records that'll never be broken. Walt Bellamy played in 88 games in 1968-69 — 35 with New York, then 53 with Detroit.

SCORING MARGIN

San Antonio was outscored by just over 10 points per game this season — the worst margin in Spurs history.

It was the 20th time in NBA history that a team had been outscored, on average, by double digits for an entire season.

3’s DOWN

For nine straight seasons — 2012-13 through 2020-21 — the NBA saw a record set annually for 3-pointers made per game.

It seems the growth era from beyond the arc has plateaued.

For the second consecutive year, 3-pointers made dropped this season, albeit slightly. The league saw an average of 24.7 3s per game this season, down from 24.9 per game last season and the record 25.4 per game in 2020-21.

The league finished the regular season with 30,359 3s made — just off the record total of 30,598 last season. But teams also attempted, on average, about 3% fewer 3-pointers this season than they did a year ago.

3s UP

That said, there were more highly prolific 3-point shooters this season than ever before. The league finished with 20 players with at least 200 3-pointers — the most ever, just ahead of the 18 who made at least 200 3s last season.

The 20 in the 200 Club this year: Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Indiana’s Buddy Hield, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn’s Malik Beasley, New York’s Julius Randle, Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr., Portland’s Anfernee Simons, New Orleans’ CJ McCollum, Golden State’s Jordan Poole, Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, Sacramento’s Keegan Murray, Miami’s Tyler Herro, Sacramento’s Kevin Huerter, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III and Utah’s Lauri Markkanen.

AND 3s RECORDS

The Warriors finished with 1,363 3-pointers as a team, the most by any team in an NBA season. The previous record was 1,323 by the 2018-19 Houston Rockets.

Four of the six most prolific 3-point seasons in NBA history happened this season: The Warriors broke the record for a team, Boston (1,315) finished eight behind Houston’s 2018-19 mark, Dallas (1,246) made the fifth-most in a season and Milwaukee (1,217) made the sixth-most in a season.

Golden State, Boston, Dallas and Milwaukee obviously also set their franchise single-season record for total 3s made. So did Brooklyn, Indiana, the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Sacramento.

BETTING STATS

Those who bet the Oklahoma City Thunder all season long probably did quite well.

The Thunder covered the spread a league-best 58.5% of the time this season, just ahead of Orlando and Philadelphia (57.3%).

The Los Angeles Lakers were a perfect 50% against the spread — 41 times covering, 41 times not.

Dallas and San Antonio bettors likely weren’t happy. Those clubs both covered only 39% of the time, just a bit worse than Miami and Detroit (both 40.5%).

ONE OF EACH

Golden State's 56-point win over Portland on Sunday was the biggest of the season. The biggest rout going into the season's final day was a 45-point win by New Orleans on Nov. 21 — against the Warriors.

That made the Warriors the first team since the 1997-98 Trail Blazers to win a game by at least 45, and lose a game by at least 45, in the same season.

Portland beat Dallas 120-75 on Nov. 17, 1998. The Blazers lost to Indiana 124-59 on Feb. 27, 1998.

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