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Spurs controlled the paint in their win against Grizzlies

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The Spurs continued to show their improved inside game with a dominant performance against one of the best big man duos in the league.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 103, Grizzlies 89 - Mar 29, '15

The Spurs caught the Grizzlies at the perfect time. They are having trouble integrating Jeff Green, their spacing is a mess now that Courtney Lee has regressed and Tony Allen was out, leaving no one on the roster who could check Kawhi Leonard. Yet with the way the Spurs have played lately it's tempting to say it wouldn't have mattered if Memphis was at its peak.

The Spurs controlled the glass, allowing the Grizzlies to rebound only seven percent of their misses, held them to a very low 0.96 points per possession and lit up one of the league's best defenses, registering an offensive rating of 113 and an effective field goal percentage of 56.6.  Yet the more telling stat can be perceived at a glance on the interactive game flow chart: the Spurs never trailed.

The win wasn't more lopsided because even during this rough patch the Grizzlies are still the Grizzlies. They never go away. Earlier in the season that would have meant a very close game or even a comeback win for the team facing the Spurs. After the loss to the Mavericks, it seemed that inconsistency was going to plague the Spurs all season long but Sunday's win gives reason for hope that won't be the case going forward.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Grizzlies
Shooting (eFG%) 56% 48%
Ball Handling (TO%) 11% 11%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 24% 7%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 22% 15%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Grizzlies
Pace (No. of Possessions) 92.6
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.11 0.96
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.24 1.09
2-PT FG% 57.6% 44.1%
3-PT FG% 23.5% 42.9%
FT% 83.3% 91.7%
True Shooting % 56.6% 51.0%
Offensive Rating 113.3 94.4
Defensive Rating 94.4 113.3
Net Rating 18.9 -18.9
Spurs Grizzlies
Passes / poss. 3.4 3.0
% of FGA uncontested 41.0% 39.0%
Points in the paint 54 44
Second chance points 13 4
Fast break points 6 10
Spurs Grizzlies
Assists 25 22
Steals 9 5
Turnovers 8 10
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
4.25 2.70
Spurs Grizzlies
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10.3 10.3
Offensive Rebounds 10 3
Difference -0.3 -7.3

Spurs Shot Chart

Grizzlies Shot Chart

The only thing that wasn't clicking for the Spurs on Sunday was their outside shooting, as they both attempted and connected on fewer shots than they average. Normally that could cost them the win but when you shoot 68 percent on close shots, missing threes is not a death sentence.

You may have noticed how good the Spurs were from the baseline. That was largely thanks to Kawhi Leonard, who went 5-for-5 from those two areas. Leonard continues to be deadly when receiving the ball in good position in the post and the Spurs are trying to exploit that option more often.

As for the Grizzlies, they couldn't take advantage of all the close shots they got. The whole defense deserves credit but Tiago Splitter deserves a special mention. Opponents shot 43 percent (3-7) within six feet when he was defending them. Splitter posted atrocious rim protection numbers early in the year but in the last 10 games he's allowing only 49 percent within six feet of the basket, a very good number.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)


Kawhi Leonard 33 21.1 0.63 25 Pts (11-17 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) 10 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO 30% 58% 116.9 87.6 29.4
Tiago Splitter 29 17.6 0.60 15 Pts (6-9 FG, 3-3 FT) 8 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 19% 70% 115.5 97.4 18.1
Danny Green 29 12.9 0.44 9 Pts (4-7 FG, 1-3 3PT ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 Stl, 2 PF 11% 69% 123.7 113.9 9.8
Tim Duncan 24 12.1 0.50 10 Pts (4-8 FG, 2-2 FT) 5 Reb (1 Off), 4 Ast, 3 Blk, 4 PF 18% 67% 107.8 86.3 21.4
Tony Parker 35 12.0 0.34 17 Pts (7-16 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-5 FT) 1 Reb (0 Off), 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 27% 53% 117.9 94.1 23.8
Boris Diaw 22 7.6 0.35 10 Pts (4-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT) 7 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO, 2 PF 23% 45% 119.9 103.1 16.8
Manu Ginobili 20 7.1 0.36 4 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT) 4 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 PF 10% 69% 105.5 87.3 18.2
Aron Baynes 19 6.0 0.33 4 Pts (2-5 FG, ) 7 Reb (3 Off), 2 Blk, 1 PF 12% 41% 109.7 92.3 17.4
Marco Belinelli 14 5.6 0.41 7 Pts (2-5 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 24% 49% 82.6 84.2 -1.5
Patty Mills 13 0.6 0.05 2 Pts (1-5 FG, 0-3 3PT ) , 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 17% 28% 96.8 98.8 -2.0
Cory Joseph 1 0.3 0.46 0 Pts 1 Reb (0 Off), 0% 0% 200.0 0.0 200.0
Matt Bonner 1 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 200.0 0.0 200.0
Reggie Williams 1 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 200.0 0.0 200.0

Show Grizzlies Players

Kawhi Leonard has been at the top of the board so often lately that it's stopped being surprising. Like many other Spurs, he wasn't looking like himself after battling injuries but has upped his level enormously lately. He was one of the biggest reasons the Spurs beat the Grizzlies.

Tiago Splitter also had himself a game, scoring efficiently and rebounding well. Splitter is starting to look like the dominant player he was in Spain, albeit in a very understated way. He just does almost everything you'd ask of a center well now that his jump hook has started to fall.

Patty Mills being so low in the board so often is a cause for concern. It's been one step forward, two steps backward with Patty. A good performance against the Thunder was followed by two clunkers. There are still some games left for him to regain his touch so it's still possible he gets back to being that spark plug off the bench at some point. At least that's what every Spurs fan hopes.

Spurs Index: 105.5 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 59.5% 28.7
Shooting (eFG%) 56.0% 20.9
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 92.7% 24.3
Defense (DefRtg) 94.4 21.2
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 39.0% 10.5
Total 105.5

Grizzlies Spurs Index: 93.7 Show Breakdown

The Grizzlies are far from an elite offensive rebounding team but the Spurs' total domination on the glass was impressive nonetheless. That and good nights on the other four categories of the Spurs Index assured a high ranking.



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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