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Patty's 3s and Duncan's D carried the Spurs to a Game 5 win over the Clippers

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The Spurs had a rough night from inside the arc, but caught fire from deep and were buoyed by another phenomenal night from Tim Duncan as they stole home court advantage back in a wild Game 5 showdown.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 111, Clippers 107 - Apr 28, '15

This was an incredibly intense, odd basketball game.  The Spurs shot 42% from two, gave up 25 fast break points, were outscored in the paint by 22... and won.  They did it on the backs of Tim Duncan and some deadly shooting from downtown.  

The Spurs' blistering 47.8% from three was a huge windfall after some pretty marginal shooting from deep over the first four games.  Ironically, this happened even as Kawhi Leonard went 0-3 after buoying the Spurs shooting in the series up to that point.  On the other side of the ball, the Clippers had themselves a huge outlier, hitting just 7% of their outside shots, a brutal 1-14 which really doomed them in this one.  The Spurs have had their struggles from game to game this year, but I don't think they've ever been quite that bad. Really stinks for the Clippers who played an otherwise pretty great game.  

The Spurs were very sloppy with the ball, especially early on, tossing it away 16 times, with 11 of the live ball variety, leading to a scorching 25 fast break points for the Clippers, who attacked aggressively off of San Antonio's miscues.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment of the game occurred halfway through the 3rd quarter. Blake Griffin burned the Spurs all through the first half, scoring 21 points and having his way with Splitter, Baynes and Diaw.  At the 9 minute mark in the 3rd quarter, Pop opted to switch Duncan and Diaw, putting the 39-year-old on Griffin and leaving an undersized Diaw guarding the seven footer.

The gamble paid off.  Up to that point in the game, Griffin's stat line was immaculate: 7-11 from the field, 7-8 from the line, eight boards, four assists, three steals, zero turnovers and a +/- of nine.  After the Duncan switch, Griffin's finished the game 3-14 from the field, 3-6 from the line, six boards, three assists, five TOs, a steal and a block, and the worst Plus/Minus among all players at -14. Duncan personally stole the ball from Griffin three times and of course this phenomenal block: 



The Clippers were unable to capitalize on the Jordan-Diaw mismatch as well, as Popovich's hack-a-Jordan strategy eventually forced Doc Rivers to take Jordan out entirely, effectively neutering the substantial advantage the Clippers had in their big, athletic frontcourt.  

To be fair, Griffin looked absolutely gassed and took some tough blows which seemed to rattle him a bit.  But the fact that it's even an option for the Spurs defensively to counter the most freakishly athletic power forward in the league with a 39-year-old man on one good leg is nothing short of incredible.  And if that wasn't enough, Duncan also went and topped it off by leading all players in AdjGS with 34.1.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Clippers
Shooting (eFG%) 45% 47%
Ball Handling (TO%) 16% 13%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 26% 24%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 46% 49%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Clippers
Pace (No. of Possessions) 104.4
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.06 1.03
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.37 1.24
2-PT FG% 43.1% 54.2%
3-PT FG% 47.8% 7.1%
FT% 75.7% 61.9%
True Shooting % 57.1% 51.2%
Spurs
Clippers
Offensive Rating 109.6 99.6
Defensive Rating 99.6 109.6
Net Rating 10.0 -10.0
Spurs Clippers
Passes / poss. 3.4 2.7
% of FGA uncontested 44.4% 33.7%
Points in the paint 34 56
Second chance points 8 16
Fast break points 11 25
Spurs Clippers
Assists 21 22
Steals 4 11
Turnovers 16 12
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.56 2.75
Spurs Clippers
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.8 11.5
Offensive Rebounds 12 11
Difference 0.2 -0.5

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
Tim Duncan 39 34.1 0.88 21 Pts (8-13 FG, 5-6 FT) 11 Reb (2 Off), 4 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 18% 70% 99.8 98.5 1.3
Manu Ginobili 18 17.4 0.94 14 Pts (3-8 FG, 2-4 3PT, 6-6 FT) 3 Reb (1 Off), 6 Ast, 1 Blk, 4 TO 34% 53% 130.9 112.8 18.1
Kawhi Leonard 36 14.2 0.39 18 Pts (5-16 FG, 0-3 3PT, 8-10 FT) 9 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 2 TO, 5 PF 25% 48% 98.6 105.8 -7.2
Patty Mills 15 12.8 0.88 13 Pts (4-5 FG, 4-4 3PT, 1-1 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 2 TO, 4 PF 21% 58% 121.2 108.6 12.6
Boris Diaw 24 10.0 0.42 10 Pts (4-7 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT) 7 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 5 PF 16% 51% 120.1 86.6 33.5
Danny Green 34 9.7 0.28 9 Pts (3-9 FG, 1-5 3PT, 2-3 FT) 2 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 1 PF 13% 50% 106.9 102.4 4.6
Marco Belinelli 16 9.4 0.58 8 Pts (2-3 FG, 2-2 3PT, 2-2 FT) 1 Reb (0 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO 16% 57% 120.5 87.8 32.7
Tony Parker 33 8.4 0.25 13 Pts (5-15 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-5 FT) 5 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 2 TO, 1 PF 25% 40% 103.8 95.0 8.8
Matt Bonner 4 1.5 0.40 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-2 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 4 PF 17% 52% 130.1 76.4 53.7
Tiago Splitter 9 -1.9 -0.22 2 Pts (1-2 FG, 0-2 FT) 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 3 PF 21% 24% 76.7 135.4 -58.8
Aron Baynes 12 -4.6 -0.38 0 Pts (0-1 FG, ) 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 6 PF 7% 0% 128.2 79.1 49.1

Hide Clippers Players

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Blake Griffin 41 32.1 0.77 30 Pts (10-25 FG, 0-1 3PT, 10-14 FT) 14 Reb (5 Off), 7 Ast, 1 Blk, 4 Stl, 5 TO, 3 PF 36% 48% 96.5 105.7 -9.2
Chris Paul 41 28.4 0.70 19 Pts (7-14 FG, 0-2 3PT, 5-5 FT) 5 Reb (1 Off), 10 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 PF 17% 72% 103.2 100.0 3.1
DeAndre Jordan 37 23.4 0.64 21 Pts (7-9 FG, 7-16 FT) 14 Reb (4 Off), 2 Blk, 2 TO, 3 PF 20% 59% 93.6 102.7 -9.1
JJ Redick 42 9.0 0.22 13 Pts (6-10 FG, 1-2 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 6 PF 13% 52% 95.3 109.4 -14.0
Matt Barnes 28 7.1 0.25 7 Pts (2-5 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-2 FT) 6 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Blk, 2 TO, 3 PF 12% 42% 94.7 99.8 -5.1
Glen Davis 11 7.1 0.67 7 Pts (3-4 FG, 1-1 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF 19% 64% 107.9 133.6 -25.7
Jamal Crawford 28 0.4 0.01 8 Pts (4-15 FG, 0-6 3PT ) , 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 PF 20% 32% 109.5 125.9 -16.3
Austin Rivers 12 -0.5 -0.04 2 Pts (1-4 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-2 FT) 1 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 PF 14% 28% 107.7 135.1 -27.5

I don't have words to describe how perfect and complete Tim Duncan's game was.  I'm not going to even try, Duncan is just a wonder and we'll never be able to understand just how great he truly is.

Manu had a quintessentially Manu game, scoring 14 points in 18 minutes, tossing six assists but also four backbreaking turnovers, including two back-to-back bad passes in the final two minutes which nearly cost the Spurs. He did go 6-6 from the line, though, and played excellent defense, so I'll still definitely take it on the whole.

Kawhi came back down to earth after hitting from deep at >50% in the first four games.  A pretty quiet game from the young star, as he took a back seat offensively and didn't produce a lot of steals.  He did however keep J.J. Redick in check and helped corral Paul periodically.  Hopefully Leonard has another 32-point performance in him to help the Spurs close this one out on Thursday.

Oof, Splitter and Baynes... Wow, just a terrible matchup for those two.  Splitter somehow managed a -58.8 Net Rating in a game the Spurs won.  Hopefully Splits can find himself by the end of this series and be ready to hopefully play a bigger role in containing Dwight Howard in Round 2.

Patty Mills continues to save the Spurs.  With Parker beat up and not playing to his potential, it's beyond question that the Spurs would have already been sent home if it weren't for the contributions of Patty Mills.  He's been, and pretty much singlehandedly prevented this one from turning into a blowout, scoring 10 points on his first three shots and hitting all four of his three-pointers.  

Boris Diaw hit two of the smoothest, most clutch fadeaway late-shot clock jumpers you'll ever see.  His eight fourth quarter points put the Spurs over the top.  After looking disinterested and ineffective for much of the regular season, Bobo has made crucial contributions in the playoffs.  Another player without whom the Spurs would be sunk.

Spurs Index: 97.1 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 58.3% 28.2
Shooting (eFG%) 45.1% 16.8
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 76.1% 19.9
Defense (DefRtg) 99.6 20.1
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 33.7% 12.1
Total 97.1

Clippers Spurs Index: 93.4 Show Breakdown

Really poor two-point shooting knocked the Spurs Index down a bit, and I don't think the Spurs' reasons for success in this one are very sustainable, but I don't care how the wins come so long as the Spurs can snag that fourth win Thursday or Saturday. Let's go with Thursday. 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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