Kevin Love J.R. Smith

One could say the Cleveland Cavaliers made three-pointers looks like lay-ups during their conference semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks. That wouldn’t be entirely accurate, though, because the Cavaliers cashed a higher percentage of their shots from beyond the arc than they did on attempts within five feet of the hoop.

That’s just one of the inexplicable factoids to emerge from Cleveland’s impressive march to the Eastern Conference Finals, which has left a pair of shell-shocked contenders swept aside in its wake. We’ll use PointAfter visualizations to illustrate just how deadly the Cavs’ offense has been.

Previously, only one team in NBA history had made at least 43% of its three-pointers while attempting at least 31 of them in back-to-back playoff games (Dallas Mavericks, Games 2-3 of Western Conference Semifinals). The Cavaliers have now done so for four games running following their swish-heavy sweep of the Hawks — something no other team has accomplished during the regular season or playoffs.

Heck, no playoff team had maintained a 43% conversion rate from downtown with a minimum of 18 attempts in four straight games.

Overall, the Cavs have improved their three-point accuracy by an even 10% since the regular season, up to 46.2%. They’ve accordingly emphasized the three-ball by attempting 22.2% more three-pointers per game.

Put another way, Cleveland has launched 6.7 more three-point attempts per game while making 6.1 more per game. Those extra trifectas have certainly paid their dividends.

The 77 triples Cleveland sank against Atlanta were far and away the most in a four-game series in NBA history. The previous record was 57, set by … the Cavaliers, in their first-round triumph over Detroit.

Their dismantling of the Hawks was demoralizing for a team that thought it could compete with its new hard-nosed identity, as the league leaders in defensive rating after the All-Star Game. But Cleveland unlocked Atlanta’s seemingly cohesive unit by shooting 50.7% from beyond the arc (46.1% overall) to post a 123.0 offensive rating.

The Cavs’ offensive rating for the entire playoffs now sits at 121.7, which would break the NBA postseason record for offensive rating if it’s somehow sustained. The current record is 120.3, held by the 1986-87 title-winning Showtime Lakers.

Dating back to last year, Cleveland hasn’t lost a playoff game with Kevin Love available. That’s no coincidence. Love has been the X-factor for Tyronn Lue’s crew, executing his role as a stretch-four/five to perfection. He outplayed Al Horford and Paul Millsap on the boards while also providing ample spacing on offense. The Hawks dared him to shoot, and he responded by taking nearly eight treys per game at a 44% clip.

Though Love has struggled to find his rhythm down low on offense, making 26% of his shots in the restricted zone, it’s scarcely mattered. He’s knocked down more than half his looks from each corner three zone, and is keeping opponents honest on long-range launches from above the break, too.

Love is far from the only Cavalier who’s ramped up his splashy shooting. J.R. Smith cemented his legacy as a Hawks nemesis, following up on his remarkable sixth-man performance in last year’s conference finals (18.0 PPG on 47% three-point shooting) to average 11 points on a 50% clip from deep this time around. His 50.8% rate for the playoffs mirrors Cleveland’s double-digit improvement from the regular season.

At their current rate of 16.8 three-pointers made per game, Cleveland should be favored to shatter Golden State’s record of 240 made triples during the postseason. That benchmark was set last year in 21 games. Cleveland is on pace to surpass it in 15.

At this point, the biggest obstacle to establishing a new record might be their own dominance. If they breeze through either the Raptors or Heat before taking part in a decisive NBA Finals matchup, the Cavs might not accrue enough court time to etch themselves in the record books once more during these playoffs.

You won’t find King James or his men complaining if that hypothetical one-sided Finals ends with Cleveland’s first championship.