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Spurs dominate Timberwolves from start to finish

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The shorthanded Timberwolves just weren't a match for a Spurs team that seems to be peaking at the right time.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 123, Timberwolves 97 - Mar 15, '15

The Spurs did exactly what was expected of them against one of the worst teams in the league missing four rotation players. The blowout allowed them to continue their climb up the standings and for Kawhi Leonard to showcase his defensive dominance once again, but was initially overshadowed by an ankle injury to Manu Ginobili. Now that reports have emerged citing a short timeline for recovery, however, it's possible to really enjoy the performance the Spurs put on against the young Timberwolves.

The score and the interactive game flow chart actually do an accurate job or representing the difference between these two teams on Sunday. The Spurs never trailed and ran away with it in the second half, which meant no one logged more than Kawhi Leonard's 25 minutes.

Going through the game's numbers, the Spurs had the edge on almost every category, having an above average performance on both ends. Their 38 assist to just 14 turnovers are amazing, as is their true shooting percentage of 67.9 percent. Even the deficit in offensive rebounding and the Timberwolves' high percentage on three-pointers is forgivable since they missed so many two-pointers.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Timberwolves
Shooting (eFG%) 57% 48%
Ball Handling (TO%) 14% 16%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 17% 23%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 18% 21%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Timberwolves
Pace (No. of Possessions) 98.8
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.25 0.98
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.46 1.13
2-PT FG% 59.7% 43.7%
3-PT FG% 54.5% 46.7%
FT% 86.7% 77.8%
True Shooting % 67.9% 51.6%
Spurs
Timberwolves
Offensive Rating 124.7 98.1
Defensive Rating 98.1 124.7
Net Rating 26.7 -26.7
Spurs Timberwolves
Passes / poss. 3.2 2.5
% of FGA uncontested 42.9% 40.7%
Points in the paint 54 40
Second chance points 13 15
Fast break points 23 13
Spurs Timberwolves
Assists 38 25
Steals 13 8
Turnovers 14 15
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
3.64 2.20
Spurs Timberwolves
Expected Offensive Rebounds 8.8 11.8
Offensive Rebounds 6 11
Difference -2.8 -0.8

Spurs Shot Chart

Timberwolves Shot Chart

The key for the Spurs' defense was forcing misses inside. Minnesota relies on mid-range jumpers and shots at the rim to score and with the Spurs controlling the area around the basket, the three-pointer averse Wolves just didn't have enough firepower.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Kawhi Leonard 25 16.8 0.66 15 Pts (6-13 FG, 2-2 3PT, 1-1 FT) 6 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 5 Stl, 1 PF 24% 48% 123.9 77.6 46.3
Tim Duncan 22 15.3 0.68 10 Pts (4-6 FG, 2-2 FT) 6 Reb (0 Off), 6 Ast, 3 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 16% 72% 124.8 78.6 46.2
Cory Joseph 16 14.8 0.92 10 Pts (4-5 FG, 1-1 3PT, 1-1 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 TO 20% 78% 118.5 111.9 6.6
Tony Parker 25 12.8 0.52 11 Pts (5-10 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-1 FT) , 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 19% 64% 124.8 80.6 44.2
Tiago Splitter 20 12.2 0.61 12 Pts (5-6 FG, 2-2 FT) 5 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF 20% 67% 127.7 82.5 45.2
Danny Green 15 11.2 0.73 13 Pts (5-8 FG, 3-5 3PT ) , 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 PF 22% 64% 137.4 73.9 63.6
Boris Diaw 25 9.3 0.38 9 Pts (3-7 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) 8 Reb (2 Off), 4 Ast, 1 TO, 3 PF 17% 53% 116.8 110.1 6.6
Manu Ginobili 19 7.8 0.42 11 Pts (4-5 FG, 3-4 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 4 TO 27% 51% 118.3 82.9 35.4
Matt Bonner 9 6.4 0.71 4 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT, 1-2 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 10% 87% 119.3 148.4 -29.0
Marco Belinelli 21 5.7 0.27 13 Pts (5-10 FG, 3-6 3PT ) , 2 TO, 1 PF 27% 37% 130.0 127.6 2.4
Patty Mills 17 5.5 0.32 7 Pts (3-6 FG, 1-2 3PT ) , 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO 18% 46% 129.9 122.4 7.5
Aron Baynes 11 3.9 0.37 2 Pts (1-2 FG, ) 6 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 3 PF 9% 64% 127.2 98.5 28.7
Jeff Ayres 15 1.3 0.09 6 Pts (3-5 FG, ) 4 Reb (1 Off), 2 TO, 5 PF 22% 37% 123.0 127.8 -4.8

Show Timberwolves Players

Kawhi Leonard was a monster. That separation the Spurs created in the third quarter was essentially his doing, as he pushed the pace after rebounds and terrorized opponents with his quick hands, getting steal that resulted in fastbreak points.

Tim Duncan remains incredibly productive. In just 22 minutes he logged 10 points, six rebounds and six assists to go with three blocks. A triple double wouldn't have been out of the question but I'm sure Tim would take the rest over a silly individual accomplishment any day.

It's hard to find a bad performance from any Spur, which is always a welcomed sight.

Spurs Index: 109.3 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 77.6% 37.5
Shooting (eFG%) 57.1% 21.3
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 76.6% 20.1
Defense (DefRtg) 98.1 20.4
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 40.7% 10.0
Total 109.3

Timberwolves Spurs Index: 95.7 Show Breakdown

As mentioned, the Spurs were moving the ball and finding the open man for easy buckets. With 36 of their 49 field goals coming from an assist, of course this game ranks highly on the Spurs Index. Hopefully we'll see more games like this one in the future against the bad teams, as it would help San Antonio build confidence for the stretch run.

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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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