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Spurs vs. Thunder Study Hall: OKC unstoppable on Christmas Day

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The Spurs moved the ball well but shot poorly from deep and gave up way too many second chance opportunities to stop a Westbrook-led Thunder team that overcame atrocious FT shooting with extra looks and white-hot 3pt shooting.

Russell Westbrook could not be stopped on Christmas day
Russell Westbrook could not be stopped on Christmas day
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs vs. Thunder Dec 25, '14

Spurs 106, Thunder 114

What a frustrating Christmas day showing.  With Kawhi Leonard out, the only player on the court who could stop Russell Westbrook was Russell Westbrook.  Get better quick, Whi!

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Thunder
Shooting (eFG%) 56% 57%
Ball Handling (TO%) 18% 15%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 24% 36%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 26% 47%

The Spurs got a decent effort in eFG and TO%, but the Thunder just bested them in both categories.  The Spurs got absolutely crushed in the other categories.  Looking at the four factors, you'd assume this game was even uglier than it was.

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Pace (No. of Possessions) 96.5
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.10 1.18
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.31 1.41
2-PT FG% 60.3% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 30.4% 60.0%
FT% 71.4% 55.3%
True Shooting % 58.7% 58.3%
Offensive Rating 109.0 119.1
Defensive Rating 119.1 109.0
Net Rating -10.1 10.1
Spurs Thunder
Passes / poss. 3.8 2.4
% of FGA uncontested 39.5% 35.8%
Points in the paint 54 44
Second chance points 12 13
Fast break points 12 18
Spurs Thunder
Assists 33 25
Steals 8 9
Turnovers 16 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.56 2.43
Spurs Thunder
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10.3 11.0
Offensive Rebounds 10 16
Difference -0.3 5.0

The Spurs did some things well.  They dished out 33 assists en route to 60% 2pt FG% and just bested the Thunder with a solid 2.56 BCI.  As Michael was quick to point out, the Thunder absolutely crushed the Spurs on the offensive boards, grabbing 5 more offensive rebounds than they should have.  Oddly enough, that didn't translate into a huge 2nd chance points differential, but the extra possessions between the offensive boards and a modest +2 TO differential meant the Thunder had 7 extra possessions, which added up.

OKC inexplicable shot better from deep than they did from the charity stripe.  The Thunder doubled the Spurs' 3pt%, hitting 2 more 3s in 7 fewer attempts.  That's painful.  It was enough to overcome some comically atrocious FT shooting by the Thunder, who missed 17 FTs to let the good guys stick around much longer than they ought to have.

Side note: I've started adding Passes/possession, mostly to see how the Spurs compare to other teams in that mark. It's a pretty clear indicator of just how different the Spurs' style of play is.  The Spurs passed the ball 58% more often yesterday than OKC.  But I guess when your best player is the one dribbling down the floor, why bother passing, right?

Players (Definitions at bottom of post)

Manu Ginobili 17.8 0.72 24 Min, 11 Pts (3-5 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-4 FT,) 7 Reb (1 Off), 13 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 TO, 4 PF
Cory Joseph 17.5 0.59 29 Min, 14 Pts (5-7 FG, 4-4 FT,) 4 Reb (1 Off), 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO, 2 PF
Matt Bonner 16.5 0.52 31 Min, 17 Pts (6-12 FG, 3-8 3PT, 2-3 FT,) 4 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 PF
Tiago Splitter 13.2 0.69 19 Min, 14 Pts (7-10 FG, ) 7 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 3 PF
Tim Duncan 13.0 0.45 28 Min, 15 Pts (6-13 FG, 3-5 FT,) 6 Reb (2 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 4 PF
Tony Parker 10.7 0.39 27 Min, 10 Pts (5-10 FG, 0-1 3PT, ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 PF
Marco Belinelli 7.2 0.24 30 Min, 7 Pts (3-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 Blk, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF
Danny Green 5.8 0.20 28 Min, 12 Pts (4-13 FG, 2-8 3PT, 2-5 FT,) 2 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 4 PF
Aron Baynes 5.6 0.51 11 Min, 6 Pts (3-5 FG, ) 4 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF
Austin Daye 0.0 0.00 0 Min, 0 Pts ,
Jeff Ayres 0.0 0.00 0 Min, 0 Pts ,
Kyle Anderson -1.3 -0.16 8 Min, 0 Pts , 1 PF
Plus Minus
Manu Ginobili 21% 60% 4
Cory Joseph 18% 65% 10
Matt Bonner 19% 55% 9
Tiago Splitter 27% 56% -5
Tim Duncan 27% 50% -34
Tony Parker 17% 60% -23
Marco Belinelli 10% 46% -1
Danny Green 26% 32% -14
Aron Baynes 25% 50% 14

If you're being generous, you could say the Spurs brought a balanced attack.  The only truly notable individual performance came from Manu Ginobili, who racked up 13 assists and 11 points on just 5 shots.  The 5 TOs hurt, though, and Tony Parker was utterly ineffectual and looked like he'd rather be at home sipping egg nog.  Duncan forced the issue a bunch against Steven Adams and wasn't as effective on the boards as he usually is, and posted a comically bad -34 plus minus.

Spurs Index: 103.8 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 78.6% 38.0
Shooting (eFG%) 56.2% 20.9
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 63.6% 16.6
Defense (DefRtg) 119.1 16.8
% of FGA Uncontested 35.8% 11.4
Total 103.8

The Spurs played a pretty "Spursy" game in 3 of the 5 Spurs Index factors: Passing, Shooting and contesting field goals, which led to a deceptively solid 103.8.  (I'll be tweaking the Spurs Index to better account for poor performances like this as the season progresses)  The Spurs are feeling Leonard's absence acutely on defense, netting an abysmal 119+ DefRtg for the second straight game.  Not going to win many games that way.

To be fair, Spurs forced OKC to take quite a few contested shots (although I'm beginning to question the value in that statistic, as it seems to only loosely correlate with good defensive performances), but when you've got a guy like Russell Westbrook who makes his living off making impossibly difficult circus shots, that doesn't mean all that much.

Let's hope the Spurs can bounce back tonight against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.  Go Spurs Go!

P.S. you can now sort the Players stats by clicking on the column header.  You can also see a definition of most statistics by hovering the mouse over the title.  Enjoy!


Definitions (with major credit to Bill Connelly over at our sister blog Rock M Nation)

eFG%: Effective Field Goal percentage. (via) Effective Field Goal Percentage; the formula is (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA. This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%).

AdjGS: a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game. The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

Usage%: This "estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor" (via). The usage of those possessions is determined via a formula using field goal and free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. The higher the number, the more prevalent a player is (good or bad) in a team's offensive outcome.

Floor%: Via Floor % answers the question, "when Player X uses a possession, what is the probability that his team scores at least 1 point?". The higher the Floor%, the more frequently the team probably scores when the given player is involved.

Offensive Rating (offRtg): Points per 100 possessions.

Defensive Rating (defRtg): Points allowed per 100 possessions.

Spurs Index: The Spurs Index © is a just-for-fun formula that attempts to quantify just how "Spursy" a particular game is, based off averages for the 2013-2014 regular season. A perfectly average game would have a Spurs Index of 100. The formula consists of four factors which the Spurs are known for and lead or nearly lead the league in: Shooting (effective Field Goal %), Passing (Assist percentage), Defensive Rebounding Rate, and Defensive Rating. These metrics are weighted as follows:

Factor Weight Average
Passing (AST%) 30% 62.1%
Shooting (eFG%) 20% 53.7%
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 20% 76.4%
Defense (DefRtg) 20% 100.1
% of FGA Uncontested 10% 40.8%
The values for each metric are determined based on how a particular game's performance compares to the Spurs 2013-2014 regular season average for that metric. For instance, the average effective Field Goal percentage for 2013-2014 was 53.7%. So if the Spurs shot 60% in a given game, the score for eFG% would be calculated by: (0.6 / 0.537) * 20, which would yield a "score" for that factor of 22.3.