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Spurs' shooting woes doom them against Mavericks

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The Spurs couldn't covert their open shots or control the pace, leading to an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 94, Mavericks 101 - Mar 24, '15

Some losses teach valuable lessons and some don't. What the Spurs learned on Tuesday is that making open shots and not turning the ball over are important to having a good offense, which I'm guessing is something they already suspected. The loss was only disappointing because the Spurs' inability to convert open looks was as responsible for their own undoing as Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons. Unlike the game against the Knicks the ball moved and the team took outside shots that unfortunately didn't fall.

That doesn't mean Rick Carlisle and his guys don't deserve credit. The Mavericks smartly looked to push the pace -- as the almost 100 possession-game shows -- after the Spurs' half court defense started off looking dominant. Those easy points they had in transition and close to the basket proved to be the difference in a game in which San Antonio just didn't have it offensively. The Spurs' efforts to slow down the pace in the third quarter backfired, as the turnovers piled on.

If there's one thing to worry about is that: in the past the Spurs always managed to find ways to either makes teams play at their speed or match their opponent's. On Tuesday they couldn't and paid for it, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in similar situations going forward.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Mavericks
Shooting (eFG%) 49% 52%
Ball Handling (TO%) 16% 17%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 19% 23%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 21% 15%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Mavericks
Pace (No. of Possessions) 99.8
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.94 1.01
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.11 1.16
2-PT FG% 49.1% 53.8%
3-PT FG% 28.6% 31.8%
FT% 77.8% 76.9%
True Shooting % 50.6% 54.5%
Spurs
Mavericks
Offensive Rating 94.1 101.3
Defensive Rating 101.3 94.1
Net Rating -7.2 7.2
Spurs Mavericks
Passes / poss. 3.8 2.8
% of FGA uncontested 52.9% 33.3%
Points in the paint 38 52
Second chance points 15 10
Fast break points 15 24
Spurs Mavericks
Assists 16 21
Steals 12 6
Turnovers 16 16
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.75 1.69
Spurs Mavericks
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.0 11.0
Offensive Rebounds 9 10
Difference -3.0 -1.0

Spurs Shot Chart

Mavericks Shot Chart

The Spurs missed nine of their 14 corner threes for a 35 percent conversion rate. That is incredibly low, especially considering most of those looks were open. Everyone was cold. Patty Mills' shooting has been erratic for a while, Marco Belinelli regressed after some good games and Tony Parker took too many outside shots because he was deferring.

Kawhi Leonard's struggles as a three-point shooter, however, are probably the most concerning trend. Leonard is a below average outside shooter for the first time in his career and it hurts the team when he has nights like Tuesday's, in which he goes 0-for-3.

While the Spurs were shooting threes the Mavericks got to the rim. 12 of Monta Ellis' 28 shots came close to the basket and seven of Parsons' 12. The wings couldn't keep them in front of them and with Pop using the Diaw-Bonner pairing and then going small, there was no one to really challenge those shots, which explains why Dallas shot so well inside.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Kawhi Leonard 36 26.7 0.74 19 Pts (7-16 FG, 0-3 3PT, 5-6 FT) 9 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 4 Stl, 4 PF 23% 57% 92.3 99.6 -7.3
Danny Green 28 22.9 0.82 17 Pts (5-8 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-4 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 17% 63% 96.1 101.6 -5.5
Tim Duncan 24 8.2 0.34 6 Pts (3-7 FG, ) 7 Reb (2 Off), 2 Blk, 2 PF 13% 43% 86.3 100.5 -14.1
Tiago Splitter 22 7.6 0.35 8 Pts (3-6 FG, 2-2 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 Stl, 4 TO, 3 PF 22% 39% 84.0 94.0 -10.0
Matt Bonner 11 6.5 0.59 5 Pts (2-2 FG, 1-1 3PT ) 2 Reb (1 Off), 2 PF 8% 100% 106.0 107.6 -1.6
Manu Ginobili 16 6.4 0.40 7 Pts (3-6 FG, 0-3 3PT, 1-2 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 1 PF 28% 43% 79.1 105.3 -26.2
Marco Belinelli 19 5.8 0.31 7 Pts (3-8 FG, 1-5 3PT ) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 PF 18% 42% 87.3 98.0 -10.7
Patty Mills 21 4.1 0.20 5 Pts (2-8 FG, 1-4 3PT ) 2 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 1 PF 17% 37% 103.2 95.3 7.9
Jeff Ayres 6 2.8 0.50 2 Pts ( 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO 15% 56% 137.5 91.9 45.5
Reggie Williams 1 2.4 1.76 2 Pts (1-1 FG, ) , 35% 100% 138.9 100.0 38.9
Tony Parker 26 1.6 0.06 8 Pts (3-11 FG, 1-4 3PT, 1-2 FT) 1 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 TO, 2 PF 27% 28% 84.6 105.8 -21.3
Cory Joseph 1 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 138.9 100.0 38.9
Boris Diaw 29 -1.0 -0.03 8 Pts (4-12 FG, 0-2 3PT ) 4 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 3 TO, 3 PF 23% 28% 106.5 110.1 -3.6

Show Mavericks Players

Kawhi Leonard always finds ways to contribute and this game was no exception. He had his fourth game in a row with at least three steals and he rebounded well when playing power forward. He wasn't nearly as efficient a scorer as Danny Green but he had the most well rounded game of any Spur.

Manu Ginobili's contributions in limited minutes were very encouraging. His shot was off and he committed some turnovers but he pitched in on the boards and had some nice assists.

On the Mavericks' side there are no surprises. The Ellis-Parsons-Nowitzki trio dominated the adjusted game score category for any players who were on the court for more than a couple of minutes, which lines up well with what the eye test suggested.

Spurs Index: 92.1 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 44.4% 21.4
Shooting (eFG%) 49.4% 18.4
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 77.3% 20.2
Defense (DefRtg) 101.3 19.8
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 33.3% 12.2
Total 92.1

Mavericks Spurs Index: 94.1 Show Breakdown

As mentioned, the Spurs moved the ball but you can't have assists without made field goals and their struggles to convert open looks were decidedly un-Spurs-like.Their defense was good but that's often not enough to pull off wins against quality opponents.

Hopefully they can execute on both ends on Wednesday against the Thunder.

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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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