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The Spurs did all little the things right against the Raptors, but lost because they couldn't shoot

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The Spurs couldn't shoot for crap and wasted an outstanding rebounding and defensive performance, along with a chance to move up the standings in a tough Western Conference.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 82, Raptors 87 - Feb 8, '15

This game was a good reminder that the only factor that *really* matters is shooting.  The Spurs bested the Raptors in just about every category except the one that matters most - field goal percentage, where they lost big.  The Spurs won or tied the Raptors in FT shooting, turnovers, assists, steals (OK they were -1, but still) and most impressively, rebounding, but shot so atrociously from the field that it didn't matter.  

The Spurs dominated the boards more in this one than I've ever seen.  The Spurs missed so many shots that their expected offensive rebounds was 6 more than Toronto's, but they still managed to beat that by 4.5 rebounds, while simultaneously holding the Raptors to -3.5 expected Offensive Rebounds, for a net advantage of 8 offensive rebounds!

The Spurs netted +13 second chance points (although on 16 bonus possessions, that still only comes up to a pretty weak .8125 points per each of those possessions), but as I've now said so often I'm starting to feel like a broken record, it doesn't really matter how big of an advantage you get on turnovers and boards if you can't put the ball through the hoop.  

Take a look at the sea of red that is the Spurs' shot chart. San Antonio went 4/18 on 2 pointers outside of 5 feet.  That is ridiculously bad.  Neither Tony nor Kawhi had it going in any way, shape, or form last night, but still insisted on taking 15 foot jumpers.

What's amazing is that the Spurs were in this game at all with the kind of shooting night they had.  I can't complain about effort or execution as the Spurs played great defense, dominated the boards and generated lots of good looks. But sometimes, even the good looks aren't falling.  Basketball is stupid sometimes.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Raptors
Shooting (eFG%) 41% 46%
Ball Handling (TO%) 16% 19%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 32% 16%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 17% 32%

The Spurs won the ballhandling battle and dominated the boards, but couldn't make up for their anemic shooting in this one.

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Raptors
Pace (No. of Possessions) 95.8
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.86 0.91
Points Per Shot (PPS) 0.88 1.18
2-PT FG% 36.9% 45.9%
3-PT FG% 25.0% 30.8%
FT% 81.3% 79.2%
True Shooting % 41.0% 51.4%
Offensive Rating 86.3 90.1
Defensive Rating 90.1 86.3
Net Rating -3.8 3.8
Spurs Raptors
Passes / poss. 3.7 2.5
% of FGA uncontested 41.9% 27.0%
Points in the paint 40 40
Second chance points 16 3
Fast break points 5 14
Spurs Raptors
Assists 23 18
Steals 10 11
Turnovers 14 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.36 2.07
Spurs Raptors
Expected Offensive Rebounds 15.5 9.5
Offensive Rebounds 20 6
Difference 4.5 -3.5


Spurs Shot Chart

Raptors Shot Chart

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)


Tim Duncan 32 18.2 0.57 12 Pts (3-14 FG, 6-6 FT) 12 Reb (5 Off), 5 Ast, 2 Blk, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF 25% 45% 75.3 108.3 -33.0
Tiago Splitter 19 15.4 0.82 10 Pts (4-8 FG, 2-2 FT) 7 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 22% 57% 98.3 61.9 36.4
Marco Belinelli 17 13.9 0.80 12 Pts (5-8 FG, 2-4 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 2 PF 20% 71% 112.9 88.8 24.1
Danny Green 24 9.3 0.39 6 Pts (2-9 FG, 1-6 3PT, 1-2 FT) 7 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 Stl, 2 PF 19% 35% 110.1 72.0 38.2
Boris Diaw 24 8.9 0.38 6 Pts (2-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT) 6 Reb (3 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF 13% 39% 85.4 84.1 1.4
Manu Ginobili 27 4.9 0.18 9 Pts (3-13 FG, 1-7 3PT, 2-2 FT) 4 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 21% 36% 73.2 96.6 -23.5
Tony Parker 30 4.0 0.13 10 Pts (4-13 FG, 1-3 3PT, 1-2 FT) 3 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 3 PF 22% 35% 72.9 112.4 -39.6
Cory Joseph 11 4.0 0.36 4 Pts (2-2 FG, ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF 16% 48% 136.2 50.3 86.0
Aron Baynes 13 3.0 0.23 2 Pts (1-3 FG, ) 5 Reb (3 Off), 2 PF 10% 35% 88.9 90.1 -1.3
Kawhi Leonard 37 2.3 0.06 11 Pts (5-17 FG, 1-5 3PT ) 5 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 1 PF 23% 27% 71.5 101.6 -30.1
Matt Bonner 0 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 0.0 0.0 0.0
Patty Mills 6 -1.9 -0.29 0 Pts (0-1 FG, 0-1 3PT ) , 1 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF 12% 18% 66.7 76.7 -10.1

Show Raptors Players

It's not a good sign when your top player went 3/14 from the field.  Tim Duncan brought the effort and rebounding, but was sadly easy to defend as he got blocked what seemed like half a dozen times.  Watching that made it easier to picture what the inevitable Duncan age-related dropoff might look like, and it made me sad.  

Marco played a fantastic game, playing solid defense and putting on a cutting clinic as he at one point got open for 3 straight layups in the half court off passes from Diaw and Duncan.  For a stretch there in the second quarter as the Spurs built up their lead with their second unit, they really looked like the defending champs again.  Then they forgot how to shoot and, well that's important.  See above: "Shooting matters most."  Still, Belinelli was outstanding in this one - it's really nice to have him back because without him I don't think the Spurs even have much of a chance in this one.

Very disappointing game from Kawhi Leonard.  Two nights after absolutely lighting the Heat up, Kawhi disappeared completely, having next to no impact and netting a woeful 2.3 AdjGS in 37 minutes.  I think the reason Kawhi hasn't "arrived" just yet has less to do with his ceiling, and more to do with the fact that he tends to have games like this where he simply disappears completely.  When Duncan and Ginobili retire, if Kawhi has a game like last night there's no way the Spurs even have a chance to blow a lead in the final minute.  

Tony Parker likewise was disappointing.  After seeming to find his groove again on Friday, his play in the first quarter was so atrocious that I kept checking the clock trying to figure out when the second unit would come in and relieve the struggling Frenchman.  Unfortunately, Mills was ineffective and Joseph wasn't amazing in his mere 11 minutes, so it didn't end up mattering.  The Spurs trio of point guards, who had been so productive for much of the season, went a combined 6/16 from the field with 5 assists and 5 turnovers.  

Spurs Index: 110.4 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 74.2% 35.8
Shooting (eFG%) 40.9% 15.2
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 84.2% 22.0
Defense (DefRtg) 90.1 22.2
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 27.0% 15.1
Total 110.4

Raptors Spurs Index: 95.2 Show Breakdown

The theme of this one, if you hadn't figured it out by now, is that nothing matters as much as field goal percentage.  Phenomenal marks in assists percentage, rebounding and preventing open looks made this game a deceptively high 110.4 on the SI, meaning this game was at least "Spursy," but it was a very Spurs-like loss.  You don't win many games with a 40.9% eFG% mark.  

Let's hope the Spurs remember how to shoot the dang ball today.  Go Spurs Go!



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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