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Study Hall: Spurs throw it down on Raptors

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The Spurs dominated the Raptors early with dominant play from Kawhi Leonard, hot shooting, tenacious defense and offensive boards, then coasted to a 10 point victory after leading a Raptors squad which never quit by as much as 26.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 117, Raptors 107 - Mar 10, '15

Boy did the Spurs look good in the first 2.5 quarters of this one.  The effort and execution were great as the Spurs dominated the boards, disrupted the Raptors' offense and made half a season's worth of highlight reel plays in some of the most exciting basketball the Spurs have played in the Popovich era.  To Toronto's immense credit, they refused to quit and clawed their way back to within six with a few minutes left, but the Spurs were able to hold them at arm's length and the outcome was never truly in doubt.

The good guys connected on an absurd 61.1% of their 3pt attempts, which more than made up for poor 2pt shooting and deficits in both turnovers and offensive rebounding.  In the past few games, the Spurs had feasted on mid-range jumpers from Parker and Leonard, which was rather scary as those tend to be inefficient and quickly dry up when players are no longer hot, so although the pair had been white-hot with their mid-range game, you didn't want to see the team become too reliant on those looks.  Against the Raptors, that well finally dried up as the Spurs went 6/20 for 30% on 2 pointers outside of 5 feet.  What was great to see was that the Spurs generated a lot of open 3s and dunks, shooting 57.1% from close range and knocking down a ridiculous 11/18 from deep.  Or, as Kyle Carpenter put it, "3s and dunks, it's a simple game."  That's a perfect recipe for awesome efficiency, which the Spurs had with 1.22 points per possession and 1.38 points per shot.

Another encouraging sign in this one - the Spurs assisted for a solid 58.5% of their field goals.  After assisting on less than 50% of their field goals for the past five games, the Spurs got back to moving the ball like they usually do, and although Kawhi and Tony still took a lot of shots and both scored 20+ once more, their looks came largely from within the flow of the offense, with very little "sticking" like we worried might become the case.

The Spurs averaged a 62.1% assist rate last season, and considering Kawhi's improvement and the incorporation of a few more isos into the Spurs playbook, the 58.5% mark the Spurs notched on Tuesday night feels like just about the perfect balance between the Spurs democratic, gatling gun-style offensive and the heavy artillery of Leonard and Parker.  It seems like in swinging into iso-heavy, Leonard-centric offense for a time, Popovich has enabled Kawhi's confidence offensive and ability to grow tremendously, even at a short-term cost of lower efficiency at times.

The only real black mark on the Spurs' performance (besides Boris Diaw's continued absence) was on the boards, where, after a strong start, the Spurs wound up allowing the Raptors a +5.5 in expected Offensive Rebounds.  Credit the Raptors with great effort in a losing cause, but the Spurs shouldn't be allowing that kind of margin on the boards.

Kawhi had 24 points on 19 shots, 11 boards, an assist, a block and 5 steals.  That's a phenomenal line from The Claw.  The Spurs only nabbed 7 steals, and Kawhi accounted for 5 of them.

Danny Green, 5/6 from downtown.  After getting yanked about 30 seconds into the game, Danny was just unconscious when he returned.  I wish we could bottle up that kind of shooting and save it for emergencies.

Bellinelli also got yanked quickly after subbing in for Danny when Danny got the hook early on, and went on to hit all 4 shots he took.  Maybe Pop should make a point of yanking every player after 30 seconds on the court if it leads to this kind of shooting performance from the guys when they return.  

Tony Parker continues to play fantastic basketball, cutting into the lane at will once again and scoring 24 points while also dishing out 9 assists.  Tony's individual BCI was a pretty phenomenal 10.0.  His first step is looking super quick once again, and his savvy is still fantastic.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Raptors
Shooting (eFG%) 46% 49%
Ball Handling (TO%) 11% 9%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 32% 36%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 35% 19%

Oddly enough, the Spurs lost 3 of the four factors, winning only the FT battle, getting to the line at a great clip and sinking 80% as a team, which in the end was enough to hold the Raptors at bay.

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Raptors
Pace (No. of Possessions) 96.1
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.22 1.11
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.38 1.10
2-PT FG% 44.8% 49.3%
3-PT FG% 61.1% 30.8%
FT% 80.0% 72.2%
True Shooting % 59.6% 51.0%
Spurs
Raptors
Offensive Rating 121.6 111.6
Defensive Rating 111.6 121.6
Net Rating 10.1 -10.1
Spurs Raptors
Passes / poss. 3.5 2.1
% of FGA uncontested 54.1% 46.4%
Points in the paint 50 48
Second chance points 17 17
Fast break points 14 18
Spurs Raptors
Assists 24 19
Steals 7 6
Turnovers 11 9
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.82 2.78
Spurs Raptors
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10.3 12.5
Offensive Rebounds 13 18
Difference 2.7 5.5

Spurs Shot Chart

Raptors Shot Chart

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Kawhi Leonard 39 29.3 0.75 24 Pts (10-19 FG, 4-4 FT) 11 Reb (4 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 5 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 24% 60% 118.0 107.2 10.8
Danny Green 26 22.1 0.86 19 Pts (5-7 FG, 5-6 3PT, 4-5 FT) 6 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF 18% 74% 143.7 104.8 38.8
Tony Parker 37 21.3 0.58 23 Pts (9-20 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-6 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 29% 59% 113.9 105.1 8.8
Tim Duncan 36 12.1 0.33 12 Pts (5-12 FG, 2-4 FT) 13 Reb (3 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 2 PF 18% 47% 105.2 103.9 1.3
Marco Belinelli 21 9.2 0.44 10 Pts (4-4 FG, 2-2 3PT ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 TO, 1 PF 12% 76% 120.4 123.5 -3.1
Aron Baynes 6 7.6 1.32 7 Pts (3-3 FG, 1-1 FT) 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 PF 25% 104% 188.7 184.6 4.1
Matt Bonner 10 7.5 0.78 8 Pts (2-3 FG, 2-2 3PT, 2-2 FT) , 1 PF 18% 84% 97.5 130.1 -32.6
Patty Mills 11 4.6 0.41 5 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-4 3PT ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 4 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF 28% 46% 141.5 111.0 30.5
Tiago Splitter 27 2.7 0.10 6 Pts (1-6 FG, 4-4 FT) 4 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 4 PF 15% 38% 128.7 84.4 44.3
Cory Joseph 11 1.2 0.11 3 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-4 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 2 PF 17% 46% 88.8 118.5 -29.7
Jeff Ayres 0 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 170.5 266.7 -96.2
Reggie Williams 0 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 170.5 266.7 -96.2
Boris Diaw 17 -0.7 -0.04 0 Pts (0-2 FG, ) 2 Reb (2 Off), 4 Ast, 3 TO, 1 PF 14% 25% 131.9 116.1 15.9

Show Raptors Players

Spurs Index: 88.8 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 58.5% 28.3
Shooting (eFG%) 45.9% 17.1
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 64.0% 16.8
Defense (DefRtg) 111.6 17.9
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 46.4% 8.8
Total 88.8

Raptors Spurs Index: 81.7 Show Breakdown

Poor shooting, poor defensive rebounding and poor defense knocked the Spurs Index down a bunch, but you still have to feel pretty good about how the Spurs played, even if they let their foot off the gas late.  Thursday is the real test as the Spurs play host to King James for the first time since their Finals victory.  

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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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