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Kawhi Leonard wrecked the Warriors

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Kawhi Leonard was completely dominant on both ends of the floor as the Spurs wiped the court with the league-leading Warriors, ending the Dubs' 12 game win streak and extending their own to a league-best 7 straight.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 107, Warriors 92 - Apr 5, '15

Sunday's matchup against Steve Kerr's Warriors was the most fun I've had watching a Spurs game since June of last year.  After a trio of ho-hum opponents resulted in some ho-hum results the week before, Sunday's date with the Warriors at the AT&T Center was supposed to be a tough test for the Spurs, promising a close game that would test the Spurs' new-found mettle.  

Instead, Kawhi Leonard wrecked the Warriors defensively with 7 steals and dominated on the other end of the floor as well, spearheading a Spurs attack which left the Warriors reeling and trailing the defending champs by 14 at the end of the first.  A 3rd quarter Steph Curry scoring flurry which cut the lead to a mere 14 was quickly curtailed when Pop switched Leonard onto Curry, who did not score again in the frame.

The entire 4th quarter was just garbage time, with Curry, Thompson, and Leonard all sitting out the entire frame as the Spurs coasted the rest of the way.  Consequently, the numbers do not accurately reflect the full measure of the Spurs' dominance in this one.  Of course, you don't win by 15 without seeing some advantages in the numbers, so let's see what those are.

By the end of regulation, the Spurs and Warriors had actually matched up pretty closely across the board, with similar marks in ballhandling, rebounding, fast break points, free throw attempts and 3pt shooting.  The one major difference?  Two point FG%, with the Spurs enjoying a 12.1% advantage there, hitting on 59.7% of their looks while holding Golden State to just 47.6% of theirs.  A closer look at the shot chart shows that the Spurs hit on a ridiculous 78.1% of their looks inside 5 feet, bolstered no doubt by 17 fast break points, many of them coming off of Warriors turnovers.  

One other number that pops out is the season high 63.9% of Spurs field goals which went uncontested.  The previous season high was 58% versus the Clippers in February, a losing effort which saw the Spurs throw up 30 three pointers as they failed to close with the Clips.  What's remarkable about the 63.9% mark in this game is that the Spurs only shot 21 3s, 2 below their season average.  The mid-range game was kind to the Spurs, which helped as the Spurs got off a number of jumpers without a strong contest, but the 78% mark from inside 5 feet (and also my own lovely memories of the game) indicate that the Spurs got lots of open layups and dunks in what was a masterful offensive effort against the best defense in the league.

The Spurs offense gets a big boost when the defense generates live ball turnovers, and most of Golden State's TOs were of this offense-generating variety.  Another fascinating stat: Golden State only turned the ball over 10 times in this one, but the Spurs nabbed a steal on 8 of those.  That's unbelievable - Golden State actually controlled the ball really, really well, only tossing it away on a couple of occasions and actually besting the Spurs by 2 in TO margin.  But 80% of their TOs were steals, which is pretty remarkable.

Even more anomalous was the fact that Kawhi Leonard grabbed 7 of the Spurs' 8 steals.  Now, on at least 2 occasions the Dubs threw the ball directly to Leonard, so you have to assume that any defender would've nabbed those ones, but regardless, it says something about Kawhi's defensive impact for the Spurs when he personally collects 87.5% of the team's steals in a game.  The Spurs scored off of 5 of Leonard's 7 steals, an average of 2.87 points per possession, providing a huge shot in the arm which helped the offense keep humming all night long.  That is what Popovich is talking about when he insists that Kawhi's offense be predicated on his defense, and it's why Kawhi is beginning to look more and more like a superduperstar with every passing blowout of a championship contender.

(More analysis below)

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Warriors
Shooting (eFG%) 57% 48%
Ball Handling (TO%) 14% 11%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 17% 20%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 18% 11%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Warriors
Pace (No. of Possessions) 97.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.10 0.95
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.29 1.01
2-PT FG% 59.7% 47.6%
3-PT FG% 33.3% 32.1%
FT% 80.0% 50.0%
True Shooting % 59.7% 48.2%
Spurs
Warriors
Offensive Rating 109.6 95.4
Defensive Rating 95.4 109.6
Net Rating 14.2 -14.2
Spurs Warriors
Passes / poss. 2.8 2.6
% of FGA uncontested 63.9% 45.1%
Points in the paint 56 50
Second chance points 8 15
Fast break points 17 14
Spurs Warriors
Assists 27 25
Steals 8 4
Turnovers 12 10
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.92 2.90
Spurs Warriors
Expected Offensive Rebounds 8.8 12.8
Offensive Rebounds 6 10
Difference -2.8 -2.8

Spurs Shot Chart

Warriors Shot Chart

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)

Spurs

Player
Min
AdjGS
GS/Min
Line
Usage%
Floor%
OffRtg
DefRtg
NetRtg
Kawhi Leonard 24 31.0 1.27 26 Pts (11-17 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-4 FT) 5 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 7 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF 36% 65% 120.4 98.8 21.6
Danny Green 29 20.9 0.73 18 Pts (7-10 FG, 4-6 3PT ) 6 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 3 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF 17% 65% 122.8 88.9 33.9
Tim Duncan 24 20.4 0.85 19 Pts (6-7 FG, 7-8 FT) 7 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO, 1 PF 23% 78% 120.4 100.7 19.7
Aron Baynes 13 9.3 0.72 8 Pts (4-6 FG, ) 5 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 PF 23% 67% 110.1 67.0 43.1
Cory Joseph 18 7.7 0.43 9 Pts (4-6 FG, 1-2 FT) 6 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 1 PF 22% 55% 104.7 83.8 20.9
Manu Ginobili 22 6.8 0.31 6 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-3 3PT, 1-1 FT) 4 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 TO 19% 43% 104.1 74.6 29.4
Tony Parker 23 3.7 0.16 8 Pts (4-9 FG, 0-1 3PT ) 1 Reb (0 Off), 5 Ast, 3 TO, 2 PF 24% 41% 124.5 96.5 28.0
Marco Belinelli 21 2.5 0.12 5 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-4 3PT ) 2 Reb (0 Off), 14% 31% 95.0 102.7 -7.7
Matt Bonner 24 2.0 0.08 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-2 3PT ) 4 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 PF 6% 40% 117.6 107.3 10.3
Patty Mills 7 1.8 0.27 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT ) 1 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 PF 18% 48% 73.3 125.4 -52.1
Reggie Williams 5 0.7 0.14 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT ) 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 PF 27% 31% 66.7 168.9 -102.3
Boris Diaw 23 0.1 0.00 2 Pts (1-7 FG, 0-1 3PT ) 5 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 TO 17% 24% 94.4 80.6 13.7
Jeff Ayres 7 -0.0 -0.00 0 Pts , 2 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF 7% 43% 66.7 159.9 -93.3

Show Warriors Players

Unsurprisingly, Leonard topped the AdjGS chart in this one, racking up 31.0 AdjGS points in just 24 minutes of play.  That last part is what's most remarkable.  Kawhi's impact was off the charts, contributing 1.27 AdjGS points per minute of play, one of the highest rates of the season for any Spurs player playing significant minutes.  As a point of comparison, Kyrie Irving notched 1.36 AdjGS points/play in his 57 point detonation of the Spurs back in March.  Not bad company, and what's perhaps more remarkable is that Leonard didn't have to go 7/7 from deep to do it (although hist 7 steals admittedly did require a measure of good fortune as he topped his previous career game high by 2, benefitting from more than one errant Warriors pass which stuck in his giant mitts).

Providing offensive firepower behind Leonard were Danny Green and TIm Duncan, both of whom played fantastically efficient games, scoring 37 combined points in 17 shots.  Either of those performances would have led the Spurs on most nights.

Aron Baynes also deserves some recognition for his effort in this one, as he pitched in 8 points, 5 boards, an assist and a steal in just 13 minutes on the court.  Splitter's re-injury sucks and definitely hurts the Spurs' chances for a repeat (get well soon, Sparkles!), but not nearly as much as it would if Baynes had not improved his game to such an impressive degree this season.  It is very reassuring knowing that the Banger and his 15.5 PER are waiting on the bench when Duncan takes a seat.  Good on you, Aron.

Spurs Index: 102.1 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 61.4% 29.7
Shooting (eFG%) 57.2% 21.3
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 80.4% 21.0
Defense (DefRtg) 95.4 21.0
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 45.1% 9.1
Total 102.1

Warriors Spurs Index: 95.3 Show Breakdown

Unsurprisingly, the Spurs Index on this one was pretty great.  The Spurs gave up a few more uncontested looks (read: jumpshots) than normal, but I'll take it against the league's top offensive squad.  

This game means everything or nothing, but either way, it was a heck of a lot of fun watching the Silver and Black do what they did on Sunday.  Let's hope the Spurs can keep this train rolling as they look to knock OKC out of the 8th playoff spot on Tuesday.  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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