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Spurs ride hot 3pt shooting in win over Suns

The Spurs shot 6.9 percentage points better from 3 than 2, overcoming yet another 3rd quarter nap to come back against a tough Suns team which fizzled late.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 100, Suns 95 - Jan 9, '15

In a game that eerily resembled Tuesday's gut-wrenching loss to Detroit, the Spurs shot out to a hot start, building up a 14 point advantage before their scheduled naptime in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, getting outscored by 26 from Q2 5:32 to Q3 2:08 to fall behind by 12 and raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels.  The Spurs scored 10 points in the 3rd quarter.  10 points!  The first play of the fourth, Danny green nailed a 3 ball to set the tone for a final period which would see the Spurs hit 6 from deep and rack up 41 points in a scoring frenzy which the Suns just couldn't match.

This game really had 3 acts - the Spurs' early efficient play, the mid-game collapse (vacation?), and the furious comeback to save the Spurs from dropping to 8th place in the West.  If I had more time (and the Spurs weren't playing again tonight) I'd like to break these numbers down by act, but let's go ahead and see what the full-game numbers tell us.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Suns
Shooting (eFG%) 43% 49%
Ball Handling (TO%) 14% 19%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 15% 21%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 20% 25%

Spurs lost 3 of the 4 factors, including the most important one (shooting) by 6 points... and won.  I'm still kind of scratching my head at this one.

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Suns
Pace (No. of Possessions) 104.1
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.96 0.91
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.12 1.14
2-PT FG% 40.9% 52.6%
3-PT FG% 47.8% 26.9%
FT% 72.2% 66.7%
True Shooting % 51.6% 51.5%
Spurs
Suns
Offensive Rating 95.3 92.0
Defensive Rating 92.0 95.3
Net Rating 3.3 -3.3
Spurs Suns
Passes / poss. 3.6 2.7
% of FGA uncontested 36.0% 42.2%
Points in the paint 50 32
Second chance points 10 10
Fast break points 3 29
Spurs Suns
Assists 28 23
Steals 12 10
Turnovers 15 19
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.67 1.74
Spurs Suns
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.5 10.5
Offensive Rebounds 7 9
Difference -4.5 -1.5

The Spurs shot 6.9 percentage points better from 3 than from 2, and 21.9 percentage points better from deep than the Suns, who couldn't find the bottom of the net from range, and that was apparently enough to overcome deficits in rebounding,  2pt shooting and fast break points.  The Spurs have apparently forgotten how to play transition defense, while simultaneously struggling to gather offensive rebounds.  What they're actually doing once a friendly shot goes up remains a mystery - trimming their fingernails?  Reading a book?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I have a feeling Pop isn't particularly happy about the Spurs giving up 29 transition points to their own 3.

Another factor which tilted the game in the Spurs favor was a pretty solid BCI advantage - the Spurs gathered 12 steals and got more scoring opportunities than the Suns thanks to a -4 turnover differential.  When your opponent has a higher points per shot mark than you did, you can bet you got some extra looks.  The Spurs had just enough of those to edge the Suns last night.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Danny Green 35 23.5 0.68 20 Pts (6-13 FG, 4-7 3PT, 4-4 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Blk, 2 Stl, 2 PF 18% 55% 92.0 91.7 0.3
Tim Duncan 24 16.8 0.69 12 Pts (6-13 FG, ) 7 Reb (2 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 22% 52% 82.0 101.4 -19.4
Patty Mills 28 13.3 0.47 15 Pts (5-11 FG, 3-5 3PT, 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 19% 48% 104.4 95.5 8.9
Cory Joseph 24 12.9 0.54 11 Pts (4-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-6 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 21% 54% 108.7 89.0 19.7
Tiago Splitter 31 9.8 0.31 7 Pts (3-7 FG, 1-2 FT) 14 Reb (4 Off), 1 Ast, 5 PF 11% 45% 78.2 95.0 -16.8
Manu Ginobili 10 8.9 0.86 4 Pts (2-4 FG, ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 18% 61% 130.1 76.2 53.9
Jeff Ayres 14 8.6 0.60 5 Pts (1-3 FG, 3-4 FT) 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 PF 16% 59% 117.6 71.7 45.9
Boris Diaw 14 5.7 0.40 9 Pts (4-7 FG, 1-3 3PT ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 4 TO, 3 PF 34% 43% 101.9 89.8 12.1
Matt Bonner 10 5.3 0.55 6 Pts (2-5 FG, 2-2 3PT ) , 1 Ast, 23% 42% 114.9 68.9 46.0
Kyle Anderson 3 0.5 0.16 0 Pts , 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO 25% 27% 137.5 85.0 52.5
Tony Parker 22 -2.0 -0.09 7 Pts (3-9 FG, 1-1 3PT ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 TO, 1 PF 28% 20% 80.9 103.8 -22.9
Marco Belinelli 24 -3.3 -0.14 4 Pts (2-9 FG, 0-4 3PT ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 4 PF 19% 19% 78.1 96.2 -18.2

Show Suns Players

  • Danny Green lived up to the "Hot" part of his moniker, going 4-7 from downtown and playing great defense with 4 combined blocks/steals.  Great all-around effort from him.
  • Mills and Joseph were both huge in their own unique (yet complementary) ways, with Mills hitting some huge 3s and Joseph dishing out assists and driving to the basket late in the game to put the Spurs over the top in the 4th.  The Spurs are a really fun team to watch when both those guys are on the floor.  It will be interesting to see what kind of lineups Pop goes with once TP is truly 100% back.
  • Manu was fantastic in the 10 minutes he played before leaving with back spasms.  Boy, let's hope he gets over those quickly.  Don't expect to see him in Minnesota tonight.
  • Two straight games in which Jeff Ayres looked like a solid backup (one of those he looked even better) without a turnover. I don't know if "hands" is something you can teach, but Ayres seems to be learning how to catch and handle the basketball without turning it over.  Let's hope that continues, I enjoy watching Jeff Ayres when he plays like this.
  • Sean Elliott praised Marco's "aggressive" play on multiple occasions.  I'm not sure "reckless" and "inefficient" would have been better choices for adjectives... To be fair though, we all know Marco's never been the most efficient player, but sometimes you need a guy out there who's not afraid to shoot the ball.  Last night just wasn't one of those times.

Spurs Index: 103.7 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 73.7% 35.6
Shooting (eFG%) 43.3% 16.1
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 78.6% 20.6
Defense (DefRtg) 92.0 21.8
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 42.2% 9.7
Total 103.7

Suns Spurs Index: 103.9 Show Breakdown

The Spurs moved the ball around a lot to get good shots, assisting on 73.7% of their made field goals, which is just fantastic.  Defense was also solid (both squads were pretty inefficient, with Off Ratings under 96) and those factors were enough to make up for the piss poor 43.3% eFG and earn a Spurs Index over 100.

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Definitions

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 Basketball-Reference.com: 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
Opponent % 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.

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