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Spurs waste great ballhandling in loss to Wizards

The Spurs dominated the ball control battle but couldn't put the ball in the hoop from point blank or stop the Wizards from hitting their looks as they once again failed to preserve any kind of momentum.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 93, Wizards 101 - Jan 13, '15

This is... frustrating.  The Spurs seem incapable right now of playing a complete game the past 8 weeks unless they're playing one of the absolute dregs of the league (*cough* Timberwolves).  They haven't really managed to get blown out at all either.  All of their losses seem to be of the blown-in-the-final-seconds or fell-apart-in-final-minutes variety.  I really hope that part of this is opponents' really keying in on the reigning champs when they might otherwise dial it in.  Who knows.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Wizards
Shooting (eFG%) 45% 53%
Ball Handling (TO%) 9% 16%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 17% 24%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 13% 32%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Wizards
Pace (No. of Possessions) 97.4
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.95 1.04
Points Per Shot (PPS) 0.97 1.35
2-PT FG% 43.3% 49.2%
3-PT FG% 31.0% 50.0%
FT% 66.7% 87.5%
True Shooting % 45.9% 59.0%
Offensive Rating 90.9 109.1
Defensive Rating 109.1 90.9
Net Rating -18.2 18.2
Spurs Wizards
Passes / poss. 3.7 3.0
% of FGA uncontested 50.0% 41.3%
Points in the paint 44 36
Second chance points 16 9
Fast break points 2 12
Spurs Wizards
Assists 26 20
Steals 3 4
Turnovers 7 15
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
4.14 1.60
Spurs Wizards
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.0 8.5
Offensive Rebounds 8 8
Difference -4.0 -0.5

The Spurs lost 3 of the four factors, but the only one that really mattered was shooting.  When you shoot 8 percentage points lower eFG% than your opponent, the only way you win is if you absolutely dominate both the boards and ball control.  The Spurs managed one of the two, and despite the brilliant ballhandling performance, the Spurs lost ground on the boards and couldn't overcome their inept shooting.  Man, it is really a shame to waste a BCI of 4.14 on a game in which you shot 43.3% from 2.

The Wizards only took 12 3s but sank 6 of them, while the Spurs took 17 more attempts and managed only 3 more than the Wizards.  That's 9 points on those 17 extra shots.  Womp womp.  

The Wizards sure seemed to hit every mid-range jumpshot they took last night, and it looks like that was exactly the case:

Wizards Shot Chart

Wizards Shot Chart

That's an awful lot of green in areas you don't usually expect to see it.  The Spurs did a great job contesting close to the basket, but John Wall and crew hit floater after floater and lots of mid-range stuff which the Spurs were not quick enough to contest.  And when they did contest, the Wizards scored anyway.  Pretty frustrating to see your opponent take those kinds of shots and beat you with them.  The other main source of points for the Wizards was the charity stripe, where they went an outrageous 21/24.  Yikes.

The Spurs' shot chart looked like this: (Warning: NSFW)

Spurs Shot Chart

Spurs Shot Chart

Okay, so parts of that aren't bad.  For instance, 6/14 from the right wing!  (Bizarrely enough, 0/5 from the left wing)  But what's really awful is the Spurs' anemic 43.6% from short range.  Lots of missed layups, including more than one from Duncan who made up for his hot start by missing eleventy billion attempts in the second half.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)


Tiago Splitter 28 15.2 0.55 10 Pts (4-6 FG, 2-4 FT) 3 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 PF 12% 69% 93.9 97.5 -3.6
Tim Duncan 26 14.2 0.55 11 Pts (5-14 FG, 1-2 FT) 12 Reb (3 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 26% 38% 89.5 102.9 -13.4
Patty Mills 25 13.1 0.53 12 Pts (4-8 FG, 4-6 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 PF 14% 50% 104.7 104.1 0.6
Jeff Ayres 18 13.1 0.74 9 Pts (4-5 FG, 1-1 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Stl, 1 PF 14% 82% 93.1 125.0 -31.9
Cory Joseph 24 10.8 0.45 6 Pts (2-5 FG, 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (1 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 PF 10% 65% 103.0 107.7 -4.8
Boris Diaw 18 10.2 0.58 8 Pts (4-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-1 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 PF 22% 52% 84.7 122.8 -38.1
Tony Parker 31 5.3 0.17 14 Pts (7-18 FG, 0-2 3PT ) , 2 Ast, 2 TO 30% 34% 81.3 116.9 -35.6
Danny Green 34 4.9 0.14 10 Pts (4-16 FG, 2-10 3PT ) 4 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 PF 20% 27% 80.3 108.0 -27.7
Manu Ginobili 23 3.1 0.13 8 Pts (2-8 FG, 2-6 3PT, 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 4 TO, 3 PF 25% 33% 90.9 96.2 -5.4
Austin Daye 7 2.7 0.37 5 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-3 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 PF 38% 30% 86.7 134.3 -47.6
Kyle Anderson 1 2.1 3.35 0 Pts 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 0% 100% 300.0 200.0 100.0
Matt Bonner 7 -1.6 -0.23 0 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT ) , 1 Ast, 1 PF 12% 18% 94.5 108.7 -14.2

Show Wizards Players

  • Tiago Splitter went for 10 and 3 and... led the Spurs in adjGS?  That right there tells you things didn't go well.  To be fair though, the Spurs had a very balanced attack with 6 players in double digit GS.  Splitter and Ayres were the only players to shoot over 50% from the field (although Mills and Diaw were both a solid 4-8).
  • Tony Parker looked good at times, but was extremely inefficient, scoring just 14 points on 18 shots.  That really hurts to have so many possessions wasted like that when the shots aren't falling for you.  He also was a net minus in the ball control battle with his 2 assists mitigated by 2 turnovers.
  • Speaking of turnovers, all 7 (only 7!) of the Spurs' TOs were committed by the Big Three.  Make of that what you will.  Manu Ginobili erasing basically every good play he made by pitching in 4 TOs of his own (not to mention 2-8 shooting).
  • Jeff Ayres once again looked fantastic out there, putting up 13.1 adjGS in his 18 minutes for a team-high 0.74 adjGS/minute (I'm throwing out Kyle Anderson's 300 OffRtg and 200 DefRtg in his 1 minute of play).  And he went yet another game without a turnover!  In fact, you'd have to go all the way back to December 16 to see Jeff Ayres commit a turnover in a game. That's encouraging, to say the least.  When Ayres is catching passes and playing serviceable defense he is a very useful player, providing real value by spelling the other bigs or providing energy/monster dunks off the bench.
  • I guess another positive from last night is that Duncan and Ginobili were both pretty limited in their minutes.  Which might be key in tonight's matchup vs the lowly Bobcats Hornets of Charlotte.

Spurs Index: 98.2 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 68.4% 33.0
Shooting (eFG%) 45.3% 16.9
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 76.5% 20.0
Defense (DefRtg) 109.1 18.4
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 41.3% 9.9
Total 98.2

Wizards Spurs Index: 96.5 Show Breakdown

Perfectly average Defensive Rebounding by last year's standards, so that was good, although I admit the defensive rebounding went from excellent to deplorable in some key stretches, which was disappointing... But bad shooting and poor defense overall is what doomed the Spurs.

Hopefully they can get back on the winning track tonight against the Hornets.



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
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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