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Study Hall: Spurs too strong for Wizards

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The Spurs survived terrible 3pt shooting and a white hot start by the Wizards, mustering 52 points in the paint and getting lots of good looks as they wore the Wizards down in the second half.

Tiago Splitter throws it down on the Wizards for 2 of his 16 points
Tiago Splitter throws it down on the Wizards for 2 of his 16 points
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 101, Wizards 92 - Jan 3, '15

Two wins in a row, that's a streak!  It feels great to both end 2014 and start 2015 with solid W's over quality opponents.  The game was tight early, with both teams scoring at ease for the whole first quarter and the Wizards opening up a 10 point lead in the second, but the Spurs gradually started to lock down defensively, and the Wizards' shooting percentage plummeted over the course of the game as the Spurs caught up and finally outpaced the Wizards for a satisfying win.  Let's look at the stats and see how they managed it.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Wizards
Shooting (eFG%) 58% 51%
Ball Handling (TO%) 13% 10%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 29% 24%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 23% 16%

The Spurs had held a big advantage in shooting percentage, outrebounded the Wizards and got to the line more (although those numbers were skewed by late game fouling situations by the Wizards), which was more than enough to outweigh Washington's modest ball-handling advantage.

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs
Wizards
Pace (No. of Possessions) 87.8
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.15 1.05
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.29 1.12
2-PT FG% 62.9% 52.9%
3-PT FG% 25.0% 28.6%
FT% 61.1% 61.5%
True Shooting % 58.8% 52.4%
Spurs
Wizards
Offensive Rating 114.9 104.9
Defensive Rating 104.9 114.9
Net Rating 10.0 -10.0
Spurs Wizards
Passes / poss. 3.8 2.9
% of FGA uncontested 48.7% 43.9%
Points in the paint 52 32
Second chance points 22 10
Fast break points 2 20
Spurs Wizards
Assists 27 23
Steals 4 6
Turnovers 10 6
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
3.10 4.83
Spurs Wizards
Expected Offensive Rebounds 7.8 9.5
Offensive Rebounds 9 9
Difference 1.2 -0.5

Both teams took extremely good care of the ball, posting a BCI of 3+, with the Wizards managing only 6 turnovers and an incredible 4.83 in that mark.  They really didn't do anything to hurt themselves there, that's for sure.  For their part, the Spurs can live with only 10 turnovers in a game.

The Spurs gave up a lot of fast break points with John Wall pushing the pace after Spurs misses, which I'm sure Pop was just thrilled about.  On the other hand, the Spurs pounded the Wizards with points in the paint and second chance shots. The Wizards for their part took a lot of 2 point jump shots and were unsurprisingly unable to hit those at a fast enough clip to keep up.  All in all, the Spurs just played stronger and tougher, got their defensive act together, and late in the game especially they seemed to have worn out the Wizards, who had just played OKC the night before.  The Spurs weren't about to feel sorry for Washington though, after the month they just went through.

It sure seemed like the Wizards gathered more offensive boards than the 9 total (-0.5 off their expected) they actually pulled down, probably because by my count about 6 of those came on just 2 possessions, with the Wizards getting board after board and finally putting the ball in the basket in the kind of defensive possession that drives coaches crazy.  Bill and Sean made mention of how the Spurs needed to keep the Wizards off the boards better, but it looks like on the whole they did.  The Spurs didn't have a lot of opportunities for ORebs with their hot shooting, but still beat their expected mark by 1.2, thanks at least in part to Patty Mills' aggressive play which netted him 2 offensive boards.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Cory Joseph 33 23.3 0.71 19 Pts (8-10 FG, 3-4 FT) 4 Reb (1 Off), 4 Ast, 2 Blk, 2 PF 18% 85% 118.8 94.5 24.3
Tiago Splitter 28 17.9 0.65 16 Pts (7-8 FG, 2-2 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO 18% 82% 123.4 110.4 12.9
Boris Diaw 25 14.7 0.59 14 Pts (7-8 FG, ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF 19% 79% 102.8 95.0 7.7
Patty Mills 15 12.8 0.84 15 Pts (6-8 FG, 3-5 3PT ) 2 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 5 PF 28% 67% 106.9 129.2 -22.3
Marco Belinelli 26 9.5 0.37 12 Pts (4-11 FG, 0-3 3PT, 4-4 FT) 5 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF 28% 52% 129.4 100.8 28.6
Danny Green 35 8.7 0.25 10 Pts (4-9 FG, 1-4 3PT, 1-4 FT) 6 Reb (3 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 18% 41% 121.2 100.8 20.5
Tim Duncan 31 5.5 0.18 4 Pts (2-8 FG, 0-2 FT) 9 Reb (3 Off), 4 Ast, 2 Blk, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 2 PF 18% 30% 121.6 97.4 24.2
Kyle Anderson 9 3.9 0.41 2 Pts (1-3 FG, ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 PF 14% 57% 100.0 150.1 -50.1
Aron Baynes 8 2.6 0.32 4 Pts (2-5 FG, ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 26% 41% 94.4 132.7 -38.2
Manu Ginobili 28 1.2 0.04 5 Pts (2-8 FG, 0-4 3PT, 1-2 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 3 PF 20% 34% 101.1 98.3 2.9
Matt Bonner 2 0.8 0.40 0 Pts , 1 Ast, 0% 100% 136.1 173.6 -37.6

Show Wizards Players

The Spurs endured another ice cold shooting night from deep, with Manu Ginobili coming back down to earth (crashing, burning and burrowing into the ground) after his 5-6 3pt performance vs the Pelicans, going 0-4 from downtown, which was actually just one miss worse than the team's average from range.  So there's that.  From shorter range though, the Spurs were deadly, coming in at 62.9% and scoring 52 points in the paint in a slow-paced game which saw only 87.8 possessions.  That's high even for the Spurs, who average 45.3 PITP in 95.07 possessions for the season, meaning they scored 25% more points in the paint per possession last night than they do on average.  I'll take it.

The Spurs did a great job of offsetting their poor 3pt shooting by getting tons of great looks for 2.  The Spurs shot 7 fewer 3-pointers than usual, yet managed to get uncontested looks on 48.7% of their FGA.  That's remarkable because 3-pointers tend to be uncontested more often, so a team which shoots a lot of 2s would normally expect to have a lower percentage of them be uncontested looks than a team like Houston that jacks up 34 3-pointers a game.  The Spurs had an average 62.7% Assist Rate, which means they benefited not only from great passing to open guys inside the arc, but also from some individual play, particularly from Boris Diaw and Cory Joseph, whose ISO post-ups and drives to the basket were huge factors in a game which saw Duncan and Ginobili largely ineffective offensively.

This game reminded me of kami_'s great piece from the other day in the way different players took over the melody (so to speak) throughout the game.  It might be a slashing Joseph drive with an incredible finish, then a dish by Manu for a Splitter dunk, then a Mills three or a series of Diaw post-ups (although back-downs might be the more appropriate term).  Whoever it was at any given time, it was lovely to behold.

Cory and Tiago were both solid and über-efficient throughout the game, with Joseph leading all scorers with 19 points while logging the highest GS as well.  He has been incredibly consistent and become an integral part of the Spurs' attack.  His ability to finish at the rim for his size is reminiscent of Tony Parker, which is going to make it interesting to see what the Spurs do now that Patty is back.  The Spurs are seriously loaded at that position, with Mills and Joseph both developing tremendously over the past 2 years.

Speaking of Patty, he had a refreshingly Patty-like game, scoring 10 points in his first 3 minutes and providing an answer when the Wizards were knocking down every shot they took.  His energy and shooting prowess really makes the second squad dangerous, and it's fantastic to have that weapon back in the arsenal.

Boris had a quiet first half, but later in the game the Spurs turned to him for something like 4 or 5 straight ISOs when Chris Humphries was guarding him.  Diaw scored on 3 of those and threw an assist to Bellinelli on the 4th when the Wizards double-teamed him out of desperation.  It was particularly satisfying to see Bobo just completely own the man who knowingly married Kim Kardashian.  Awesome game from Boris, it's always fun to watch aggressive Diaw take it to the hole like that.  His touch is just so soft and beautiful.

The Spurs had 4 players who played 15+ minutes and managed a a Floor percentage over 67%+ with a Usage rate of 18% or more.  If Usage Rate and Floor percentage are stats that you've kind of glossed over, that means that those players "consumed" 18% or more of the Spurs' possessions while on the floor (by shooting, assisting, or turning over the ball), and the Spurs scored 1 or more points on 67% of such possessions.  That's outstanding.  And not one of those was one of the Big Four.  Two of those guys were 7-8 from the field.  Beautiful!

Kyle Anderson did some decent things on the offensive side of the ball in limited minutes, but watching him play early on, he just seemed to be a huge defensive liability, getting caught up on screens to give his man a wide open look or getting blown by by an athletic Wizard.  Save for his nice steal when he jumped the passing lane, it seemed like Washington got points any time they went to whomever Kyle was guarding.  I hope he can find ways to be more effective defensively, otherwise you almost can't afford to have him out there for any length of time if the opponent has anyone on the wing who might be considered "quick" or "athletic."

Tim Duncan had a pretty forgettable performance on offense, but his defense and rim protection was excellent and a big part of why the Wizards settle for a lot of jumpshots instead of taking it into the lane.

Spurs Index: 100.2 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 62.8% 30.3
Shooting (eFG%) 57.7% 21.5
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 76.3% 20.0
Defense (DefRtg) 104.9 19.1
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 43.9% 9.3
Total 100.2

Wizards Spurs Index: 91.2 Show Breakdown

For the second straight game, the Spurs have scored a perfectly average 100.2 on the Spurs Index.  Defense was down, but shooting was up and passing/defensive rebounding were exactly average, for 2013-2014 at least.  Of course, an average performance from last year was almost always a win.  So I'll take it.

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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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