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Study Hall: Kawhi goes hunting for Grizzlies

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Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs shrugged off a sluggish start to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 103-83. Kawhi Leonard does not apologize.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 103, Grizzlies 83 - Dec 3, '15

Round 2 of the Spurs-Grizzlies slugfest commenced at the Grindhouse Thursday night, and though the home team got in a few punches early, it was the good guys who slowly pulled away after tightening up their defense and moving the ball with their usual surgical precision.  Everyone loves a big win on the road against a potential Western Conference playoff team, so of course I'm going to be the wet blanket on the Spurs' 103-83 victory for a moment.

The Spurs got off to a sloooow start.  With still over six minutes to go in the first quarter, the starting five combined to shoot just 3-11 and had already allowed 10 points in the paint.  Despite the reputations of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph as hulking behemoths who dwell in the painted area like trolls dwell in caves, Memphis has been scoring in the paint at a below average rate this season.  The starters looked out of sorts on both ends of the floor, and Pop wasted no time in yanking the leash and inserting the bench in an attempt to liven things up on the floor.  (The good news?  Our second five is better than your second five, nanny-nanny boo-boo.)

After allowing the Grizzlies uncontested looks on just 37.8% of their shots in their first meeting, that number shot up to 53.8% Thursday night.  Part of this may be scheme-related:  mastery of the intangibles is the Spurs Way after all, and we've seen them allow many an open Grizz shooter to fire away from deep over the years.  The Spurs are content to live by the law of averages, and it's obvious that will typically play against the revolving door of Memphis non-shooters.  But I'm not sure that all of those open looks Memphis had were by design - Mike Conley and Mario Chalmers are capable long-range shooters, and they had a few wide-open opportunities that looked more like poor rotations by the defense as opposed to deliberate non-rotations.

I can also guarantee that Pop is displeased by the number of free throws that Memphis took.  Since forever and always, the Spurs do not want to put teams on the free throw line.  This is Popovich-ian Principles 101 stuff.  The 25 attempts that San Antonio gave up is more than the Sixers average.  Put another way - that's not good.

Kawhi Leonard, though.

The Wreaker of Havoc, the Destroyer of Dreams, Kawhi Leonard has descended upon the NBA this year and is leaving blackness (and silver-ness) in his wake.  Not only do his hands get a piece of every basketball within a 20-mile radius of the arena, now they apparently shoot fireballs too.  A career-high seven three-pointers gave him a team-high Floor Percentage of 70% with a Usage Percentage of only 22%. The man scored 27 points on only 13 shots from the field and only shot two free throws.

Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills continue to make beautiful music together, posting the highest and second-highest Net Rating respectively of any Spur who played over 20 minutes, and the Spurs assisted on 68% of their made FGs.  Also, Tony Parker seems to be settling into his role as the team's third scorer quite efficiently.  My question:  when do seamless transitions from superstar-to-superstar begin to get old?

Unfortunately, though we live in this era of SportVU, smart phones, and general high-tech wizardry, I was unable to locate any advanced statistical data detailing Kawhi's post-game interview with Craig Sager, but the eye-test tells me that it was... just fantastic.

And finally, with all of the picking of nits from a 20-point blowout victory and the endless talk about Kawhi Leonard and his ascent into the basketball heavens, lost in the shuffle is the true hero of this game:  Matt Bonner!  Check out that Per-Minute Adjusted Game Score!!!  Ka-who Leonard?!  Matt Bonner is clearly and unequivocally the answer to any question you could ever think to ask.

The Spurs have the night off before the Celtics and Brad Stevens (aka Pop-Lite) come into town on Saturday - so as always, Go Spurs Go!

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Grizzlies
Shooting (eFG%) 56% 39%
Ball Handling (TO%) 16% 12%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 26% 19%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 23% 31%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Grizzlies
Pace (No. of Possessions) 93.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.11 0.89
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.29 1.04
2-PT FG% 48.4% 43.8%
3-PT FG% 55.6% 12.5%
FT% 72.2% 84.0%
True Shooting % 58.6% 45.6%
Spurs
Grizzlies
Offensive Rating 110.8 89.2
Defensive Rating 89.2 110.8
Net Rating 21.6 -21.6
Spurs Grizzlies
Passes / poss. 3.3 2.8
% of FGA uncontested 45.0% 53.8%
Points in the paint 40 46
Second chance points 11 10
Fast break points 15 13
Spurs Grizzlies
Assists 27 19
Steals 8 6
Turnovers 15 11
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.33 2.27
Spurs Grizzlies
Expected Offensive Rebounds 9.5 11.8
Offensive Rebounds 10 9
Difference 0.5 -2.8

Spurs Shot Chart

Grizzlies Shot Chart

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Kawhi Leonard 33 31.3 0.95 27 Pts (9-13 FG, 7-9 3PT, 2-2 FT) 8 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 22% 70% 115.4 89.3 26.1
Tony Parker 24 19.1 0.81 17 Pts (8-12 FG, 1-2 FT) 7 Reb (3 Off), 5 Ast, 1 TO, 2 PF 28% 67% 98.5 86.1 12.4
LaMarcus Aldridge 33 15.0 0.46 18 Pts (7-14 FG, 4-6 FT) 4 Reb (2 Off), 3 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF 27% 52% 121.6 97.3 24.3
Tim Duncan 31 12.6 0.40 6 Pts (3-6 FG, ) 10 Reb (1 Off), 5 Ast, 3 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 11% 56% 109.4 88.4 21.0
Manu Ginobili 22 11.9 0.53 13 Pts (4-7 FG, 2-2 3PT, 3-4 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 2 PF 25% 53% 113.9 72.4 41.5
David West 7 4.2 0.57 6 Pts (3-5 FG, ) 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 36% 47% 114.2 63.9 50.3
Matt Bonner 4 4.2 0.95 5 Pts (2-4 FG, 1-1 3PT ) 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 51% 38% 114.2 102.7 11.4
Jonathon Simmons 8 3.3 0.41 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-2 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 1 TO, 2 PF 16% 61% 102.3 122.4 -20.1
Kyle Anderson 15 3.1 0.21 0 Pts (0-2 FG, ) 2 Reb (1 Off), 4 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 PF 6% 50% 98.8 90.2 8.6
Patty Mills 20 2.1 0.10 4 Pts (2-6 FG, 0-3 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 2 PF 18% 31% 125.2 89.6 35.6
Boris Diaw 14 -0.6 -0.04 2 Pts (1-4 FG, ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 1 TO 15% 19% 91.1 81.6 9.5
Boban Marjanovic 4 -0.9 -0.25 0 Pts (0-1 FG, ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 PF 11% 0% 103.1 101.7 1.3
Danny Green 25 -2.2 -0.09 2 Pts (0-5 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO, 2 PF 15% 24% 112.4 97.2 15.2

Show Grizzlies Players

Spurs Index: 104.8 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 67.5% 32.6
Shooting (eFG%) 56.3% 20.9
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 80.9% 21.2
Defense (DefRtg) 89.2 22.4
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 53.8% 7.6
Total 104.8

Grizzlies Spurs Index: 91.4 Show Breakdown

Confused? Show Advanced Stats Glossary