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The Spurs' anemic offense doomed them in Game 1

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The Spurs won the rebounding battle, drew in ball control but shot atrociously from 1, 2, and 3, ceding a 15.2 percentage point advantage in True Shooting en route to a blowout loss in the Staples Center.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 92, Clippers 107 - Apr 19, '15

The Spurs started the game ice cold from the field, especially from deep, going 0-6 in the first quarter to the Clippers 4-6.  Naturally, the Clippers led by exactly 12 at the end of that first frame and the Spurs found themselves in a huge hole on the road against a great team.  Those 3 point numbers normalized a little bit over the course of the game, but the Spurs still wound up shooting a poor 30.3% to the Clips white hot 55.6%.

When your 3 point numbers look like that, you better shoot well from 2, get to the line or make up ground in ball control/rebounding.  Unfortunately, the Spurs only compounded the problem by shooting poorly from 2 (40%) and even losing in free throw shooting, shooting an atrocious 53.8% from the charity stripe, 7 percentage points worse than a team which employs DeAndre Jordan.  

The Ball Control battle was closer than it seemed, with the Spurs just -1 in turnovers and winning the BCI on the backs of numerous assists.  But unfortunately (and, sadly quite typically), San Antonio's turnovers led to Clippers transition buckets at a much greater rate than the Clipper's miscues.

One thing the Spurs did seem to do well was move the ball, as they assisted on 73.5% of their field goals.  But I'm afraid that number may have been a bit skewed due to the Spurs' two best isolation players - Tony and Kawhi - having pretty marginal performances.  The Spurs will need more out of those two - particularly Parker - if they hope to come back and take the series.  

The only real bright spot in this one was the rebounding.  Despite the Clippers appearing to be the more aggressive team, it was the Spurs who controlled the boards, with a 6.2 advantage in expected offensive rebounds.  Unfortunately, although the Spurs turned their fantastic 17 offensive rebounds into a solid 19 points for a solid 1.12 points per 2nd chance possession, the Clippers somehow managed to score 13 points off of their mere 6 offensive rebounds, an impossibly high 2.17 points per 2nd chance possession.  It's pretty telling that even when the Spurs' secured an advantage of great significance, the Clippers still scored twice as efficiently per opportunity.  Sigh.

I suppose the good news here is that there's basically no chance the Spurs will ever again in this postseason simultaneously shoot 10% under their season 2pt FG%, 6.2% under their 3pt FG%, and 23.7% below their season average from the free throw line.  We hope.

(There is more analysis below the box score)

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Clippers
Shooting (eFG%) 44% 58%
Ball Handling (TO%) 15% 15%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 30% 16%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 28% 36%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Clippers
Pace (No. of Possessions) 100.9
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.91 1.06
Points Per Shot (PPS) 0.99 1.37
2-PT FG% 40.0% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 30.3% 55.6%
FT% 53.8% 60.7%
True Shooting % 44.0% 59.2%
Spurs
Clippers
Offensive Rating 89.8 107.7
Defensive Rating 107.7 89.8
Net Rating -17.9 17.9
Spurs Clippers
Passes / poss. 3.6 2.6
% of FGA uncontested 35.5% 32.1%
Points in the paint 40 46
Second chance points 19 13
Fast break points 12 23
Spurs Clippers
Assists 25 16
Steals 9 9
Turnovers 14 13
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.43 1.92
Spurs Clippers
Expected Offensive Rebounds 14.3 9.5
Offensive Rebounds 17 6
Difference 2.7 -3.5

Spurs Shot Chart

Clippers Shot Chart

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Kawhi Leonard 33 21.6 0.65 18 Pts (7-12 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-6 FT) 6 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 4 Stl, 4 TO, 3 PF 22% 48% 83.8 115.5 -31.7
Tim Duncan 30 18.1 0.60 11 Pts (4-10 FG, 3-5 FT) 11 Reb (4 Off), 4 Ast, 2 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 4 PF 18% 51% 100.6 103.0 -2.3
Manu Ginobili 19 15.1 0.79 10 Pts (3-10 FG, 2-6 3PT, 2-4 FT) 7 Reb (1 Off), 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 25% 46% 93.8 112.1 -18.3
Marco Belinelli 19 11.8 0.63 11 Pts (4-7 FG, 3-6 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO 21% 51% 98.6 91.2 7.4
Patty Mills 11 9.7 0.91 9 Pts (3-5 FG, 3-4 3PT ) 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 2 PF 22% 52% 133.3 96.6 36.7
Tiago Splitter 10 4.6 0.46 4 Pts (2-5 FG, 0-2 FT) 3 Reb (3 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 PF 20% 39% 65.7 108.7 -43.0
Tony Parker 29 4.1 0.14 10 Pts (4-11 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 2 TO, 1 PF 20% 39% 81.6 101.6 -20.0
Boris Diaw 28 2.9 0.10 5 Pts (2-12 FG, 0-5 3PT, 1-2 FT) 6 Reb (2 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 2 PF 21% 31% 100.9 119.7 -18.8
Aron Baynes 20 2.5 0.12 5 Pts (2-7 FG, 1-1 FT) 5 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 3 PF 16% 34% 74.6 108.8 -34.2
Cory Joseph 12 1.6 0.13 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-2 FT) 1 Reb (0 Off), 2 PF 10% 55% 60.9 123.9 -63.0
Danny Green 22 1.2 0.05 6 Pts (2-11 FG, 1-7 3PT, 1-2 FT) 3 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO 25% 24% 91.0 107.8 -16.7
Jeff Ayres 3 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 83.3 60.0 23.3
Matt Bonner 4 -1.2 -0.28 0 Pts (0-1 FG, 0-1 3PT ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 PF 11% 0% 76.1 68.0 8.1

Show Clippers Players

Kawhi Leonard's 18 points sure were a quiet 18.  He was conspicuously absent early in the game as the Clippers built their lead, and the Clippers double teams were very effective in containing Leonard, forcing him outside of his comfort zone.  I suppose it says something that Kawhi scored 18 points on 12 shots in a game which I found pretty underwhelming for him.  Kawhi also grabbed 4 steals, but was a net wash as he turned the ball over 4 times, negating the advantage his defense typically brings.  

Speaking of great Clips defense, LA really shut down the Tony Parker pick and roll.  I haven't seen the advanced stats breakdown of Parker pick and roll possessions, but it couldn't have been pretty.  Tony was a real non-factor, especially early in this one.  The Spurs have to get a lot more from him to have a chance in this series.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili both filled up the box score despite scoring in low volumes, giving the Spurs a chance to fight back, but couldn't get enough from regular contributors like Diaw and Green to make it a close contest in the end.  A combined 4-23 from those two, ouch.

One encouraging sign was Patty Mills' 3rd straight game shooting effectively.  A potent Mills raises the Spurs' offensive ceiling a lot, which is something they'll need if the Clippers continue to score off Griffin monster dunks at this clip.  Speaking of which...

Please continue to get better, and quickly, Sparkles!  :(

Spurs Index: 105.1 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 73.5% 35.5
Shooting (eFG%) 43.5% 16.2
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 84.2% 22.0
Defense (DefRtg) 107.7 18.6
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 32.1% 12.7
Total 105.1

Clippers Spurs Index: 90.1 Show Breakdown

Fool's gold.  The Spurs passed the ball well, kept the Clippers off the boards and didn't give up lots of uncontested shots, but they shot so poorly that nothing else mattered.  At all.  

The Spurs return to the Staples Center on Wednesday to hopefully steal a game and claim home court advantage throughout the rest of the series.  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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