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Spurs beat Bulls in atypical fashion

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The Spurs beat a depleted Bulls squad in a very atypical fashion on Sunday, with dominant ball control, transition offense and excellent individual performances from Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. I suppose there are many paths up the mountain, and this one offered some pretty scenic views.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 116, Bulls 105 - Mar 8, '15

The Spurs put together a solid but unusual effort on Sunday, scoring the ball at a quick clip in one of the fastest paced games of the season (over 100 possessions).  Tony Parker once again led the way with a phenomenal performance, racking up 32 points on just 19 shots and getting to any spot on the floor he wanted, whenever he wanted it, and allaying any fears Spurs fans might have about TP's poor play being the age-related decline many have been fretting about.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Bulls
Shooting (eFG%) 51% 54%
Ball Handling (TO%) 7% 22%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 18% 21%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 27% 40%

The Spurs actually lost 3 of the 4 factors, shooting slightly worse, giving up a small edge on the boards and hitting 7 fewer free throws in 4 fewer attempts.  But all of those Bulls edges were for naught as the Spurs dominated ball control once again (this is becoming a comforting theme), turning the ball over just 7 times and racking up 15 steals as the Bulls tossed it away on 20 occasions.  The BCI margin was huge - 4.14 to 1.30, which was all the more remarkable considering...

San Antonio only netted 14 assists, accounting for only 31.8% of their field goals, easily the lowest number of the season and the one thing that made this game very un-Spurs like.  Part of this low mark can likely be attributed to the blistering 35 fast break points (over 3x their season average) the Spurs hung on the butter-fingered Bulls.  Lots of these were of the coast-to-coast variety, which means I can't complain about the fact that they were unassisted, but that alone wasn't enough to explain the low assist mark.

A lot of the unassisted buckets came from Parker and Leonard, most of whose buckets came from just beating their man and knocking down their shots.  The pair were efficient in scoring their 52 combined points, doing it on just 39 shots (though Parker was much more so, with 13-19 to Leonard's 9-20), so it clearly wasn't a problem, but it does make one wonder if, as Erler put it, games like this have a bit of a Fool's Gold ring to them.  It's just doubtful that the success the Spurs had in this game with their two-man wrecking crew would be replicable on a nightly basis, especially against top Western Conference competition.

Still, a win's a win and much more than being concerned about the one-on-one style of play which somehow wrought such an offensive explosion, I am very much encouraged to see Tony Parker looking dominant once more.

But Parker and Leonard's weren't the only ones who had great nights - er.... afternoons on Sunday.

Manu Ginobili was beyond efficient, scoring 16 points on just 8 shots and being very disruptive defensively with a block and 3 steals.  Leonard may get more of the credit in this one, but a closer look shows Manu probably had the better performance in fewer minutes.  

Patty Mills found his stroke!  Patty's energy and firepower off the bench were great to see, reminding me of his efforts during last year's playoffs.  Considering the amount of time Patty was out, it's pretty normal for him to be just now finding his rhythm, and it's a great time for him to be doing so.  Hopefully that trend continues.

Danny Green was also very effective in this one, hitting 4 of 8 and swatting 2 shots to go with 2 steals as he made his presence felt on defense.  When Danny, Manu and Kawhi are all locked in defensively, things get pretty tough for opposing wings.  It was a rough night for the Bulls backcourt, and a great performance from their bigs was not enough to make up the deficit.

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Bulls
Pace (No. of Possessions) 100.2
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.16 1.05
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.29 1.44
2-PT FG% 51.5% 55.2%
3-PT FG% 40.9% 33.3%
FT% 79.2% 89.7%
True Shooting % 57.7% 61.2%
Spurs
Bulls
Offensive Rating 116.5 104.2
Defensive Rating 104.2 116.5
Net Rating 12.3 -12.3
Spurs Bulls
Passes / poss. 3.1 2.7
% of FGA uncontested 50.0% 31.5%
Points in the paint 50 52
Second chance points 6 18
Fast break points 35 9
Spurs Bulls
Assists 14 20
Steals 15 6
Turnovers 7 20
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
4.14 1.30
Spurs Bulls
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.3 8.5
Offensive Rebounds 8 7
Difference -3.3 -1.5

Spurs Shot Chart

Bulls Shot Chart

The Spurs allowed an insane 77.4% from close range, no doubt helped by Duncan's limited minutes, but still, that's some downright awful rim protection, something to work on there.

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Tony Parker 30 31.9 1.05 32 Pts (13-19 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-8 FT) 4 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 34% 69% 124.2 110.2 14.0
Kawhi Leonard 39 19.5 0.50 20 Pts (9-20 FG, 0-4 3PT, 2-2 FT) 8 Reb (3 Off), 3 Stl, 1 PF 24% 50% 124.1 105.8 18.3
Manu Ginobili 25 18.6 0.74 16 Pts (5-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-6 FT) 4 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 Stl, 2 TO, 4 PF 22% 64% 125.6 101.2 24.5
Patty Mills 16 15.3 0.96 15 Pts (6-9 FG, 3-4 3PT ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 Stl, 26% 68% 106.6 91.2 15.4
Danny Green 25 14.3 0.58 11 Pts (4-8 FG, 3-6 3PT ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Blk, 2 Stl, 1 PF 14% 54% 115.2 103.6 11.6
Tiago Splitter 22 9.4 0.42 8 Pts (4-7 FG, ) 3 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 PF 14% 64% 120.4 113.2 7.2
Marco Belinelli 20 5.5 0.28 5 Pts (1-4 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) , 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 14% 48% 104.3 97.8 6.4
Boris Diaw 6 1.5 0.26 2 Pts (1-1 FG, ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 2 PF 9% 100% 100.0 82.0 18.0
Tim Duncan 28 0.5 0.02 3 Pts (0-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-4 FT) 8 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 3 PF 17% 25% 123.1 110.8 12.3
Matt Bonner 8 0.2 0.03 2 Pts (0-2 FG, 2-2 FT) , 1 PF 17% 41% 94.8 90.0 4.7
Cory Joseph 2 0.0 0.00 0 Pts (0-1 FG, ) , 1 Ast, 33% 31% 66.7 123.0 -56.3
Aron Baynes 18 -0.2 -0.01 2 Pts (1-3 FG, ) 3 Reb (0 Off), 1 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF 13% 19% 106.3 105.3 0.9
Jeff Ayres 2 -0.5 -0.31 0 Pts , 1 PF 0% 0% 66.7 123.0 -56.3

Show Bulls Players

Spurs Index: 87.3 (definition)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 31.8% 15.4
Shooting (eFG%) 51.1% 19.0
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 79.4% 20.8
Defense (DefRtg) 104.2 19.2
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 31.5% 13.0
Total 87.3


Bulls Spurs Index: 93.2 Hide Breakdown

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 54.1% 26.1
Shooting (eFG%) 54.1% 20.2
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 82.2% 21.5
Defense (DefRtg) 116.5 17.2
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 50.0% 8.2
Total 93.2

Assisting on just 31.8% of your field goals doesn't net you a very high SI score.  Not going to complain though.  Go Spurs Go!

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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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