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Spurs struggle in pivotal Game 6 loss

The Spurs struggled from everywhere except the 3 point line as they failed to close out the Clippers at home on Thursday. Strong outings from Marco and Boris were unable to compensate for the poor play of Leonard, Parker, and Ginobili and the Spurs will now face the Clippers in L.A. in Game 7.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Spurs 96, Clippers 102 - Apr 30, '15

It's been said before, but it sure does seem like this year's Spurs squad cannot stand prosperity.  After gutting out a critical Game 5 victory in L.A., the Spurs failed to finish off the Clippers at home, instead falling into a Game 7 rubber match in Los Angeles.  The Spurs have won 2 of 3 in the Staples Center, but it sure does seem like a lot to ask them to win their 3rd straight on the road against a tough Clippers team.

While the Spurs enjoyed more hot shooting from deep, they struggled from close range and the free throw line, hitting just 43.9% of their 2s and an appalling 57.1% of their free throws, 14 percentage points lower than a team which employs DeAndre Jordan.

The Spurs started the game with incredibly sloppy play, throwing the ball out of bounds or handing it over to the Clippers for fast break dunks repeatedly.  Fortunately, Chris Paul was ice cold from the field and the Clippers didn't hurt the Spurs too badly.  In the second quarter, Marco Bellinelli knocked down 4 straight three pointers to put the Spurs up by 10.  

After that outburst, the Spurs offense ground to a halt as the Clippers started to find their rhythm.  At the half, the Spurs were tied despite an 0-7 performance from Chris Paul and 3-8 from Blake Griffin.  The Spurs had completely squandered that opportunity, and in a 9 minute stretch spanning halftime, the Clippers would outscore the Spurs 27-8.  Another furious outbreak from Marco would tie the game up at the end of the 3rd, but L.A. quickly pushed the lead out a bit and held the Spurs at arm's length the rest of the way.

The Spurs shot a solid 60.0% from inside the restricted area and actually outscored the Clippers in the paint by 10, in addition to walloping them from outside.  But the area between the paint and the three point line was just death for the Spurs, as they went 4/17 in that region to the Clippers 19/36 for 52.8% in the least efficient region of the court, where the league average is just 36.3%.  Just a phenomenal mid-range performance from the Clippers.

It's probably not fair to pin a loss on any one player, but Kawhi Leonard's did not play well at all in this one, giving up numerous open looks to a previously-muzzled J.J. Redick and missing all but 3 of his 15 field goal attempts.  The Spurs can ride out poor night's from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but it's increasingly difficult for them to compete when Leonard has an off night like he did on Thursday.  It was hard to watch, as shot after shot from Leonard somehow found a way to rim out.  We'll have to wait and see what the Finals MVP can muster in Saturday's elimination game.

Four Factors (def.)

Spurs Clippers
Shooting (eFG%) 46% 50%
Ball Handling (TO%) 15% 11%
Off Rebounding (OR%) 27% 24%
Shooting FTs (FT Rate) 25% 39%

Team Stats (Definitions at bottom of post)

Spurs Clippers
Pace (No. of Possessions) 93.9
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.02 1.09
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.16 1.27
2-PT FG% 43.6% 54.8%
3-PT FG% 42.9% 22.2%
FT% 57.1% 71.0%
True Shooting % 52.0% 54.5%
Offensive Rating 101.9 108.9
Defensive Rating 108.9 101.9
Net Rating -7.1 7.1
Spurs Clippers
Passes / poss. 3.3 2.9
% of FGA uncontested 34.9% 42.5%
Points in the paint 40 30
Second chance points 18 9
Fast break points 2 18
Spurs Clippers
Assists 26 22
Steals 3 7
Turnovers 13 10
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.23 2.90
Spurs Clippers
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.3 10.5
Offensive Rebounds 12 10
Difference 0.7 -0.5

Spurs Shot Chart

Clippers Shot Chart

Players (Definitions at bottom of post, columns sortable)


Marco Belinelli 22 25.9 1.16 23 Pts (7-12 FG, 7-11 3PT, 2-3 FT) 2 Reb (0 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 PF 29% 63% 128.8 98.2 30.6
Boris Diaw 28 19.5 0.70 17 Pts (8-12 FG, 1-4 3PT ) 4 Reb (2 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 5 PF 24% 57% 107.1 110.0 -2.9
Tim Duncan 32 17.4 0.55 12 Pts (6-9 FG, 0-2 FT) 13 Reb (3 Off), 3 Ast, 1 TO, 4 PF 15% 58% 111.0 112.7 -1.7
Tiago Splitter 28 13.6 0.49 9 Pts (3-6 FG, 3-8 FT) 10 Reb (5 Off), 3 Ast, 1 TO, 2 PF 18% 50% 88.6 100.1 -11.4
Patty Mills 18 8.2 0.46 5 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2-2 FT) 3 Reb (0 Off), 3 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF 9% 65% 113.0 87.9 25.2
Tony Parker 30 5.4 0.18 8 Pts (4-12 FG, ) 4 Reb (0 Off), 7 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF 22% 42% 94.6 121.7 -27.1
Danny Green 26 3.7 0.14 7 Pts (3-9 FG, 1-5 3PT ) , 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF 18% 32% 101.6 106.0 -4.4
Kawhi Leonard 40 2.1 0.05 12 Pts (3-15 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-6 FT) 7 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 4 TO, 2 PF 24% 30% 91.3 116.6 -25.3
Manu Ginobili 14 0.1 0.01 3 Pts (1-6 FG, 1-3 3PT ) 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 PF 18% 23% 88.8 113.1 -24.4
Matt Bonner 2 0.0 0.00 0 Pts , 0% 0% 69.4 138.9 -69.4

Show Clippers Players

Aside from the obvious reasons, it's really a shame the Spurs lost this one, because Marco Bellinelli had a game for the ages, scoring 23 points in just 12 shots and torching the nets to give the Spurs a glimmer of hope.  A darn shame for a performance like that to go to waste.  Doubly a shame when that performance came in the same night that Griffin and Paul both had poor first halves and the Clippers shot 22% from deep.  

Boris Diaw continues to fantastic, tough basketball in this series.  Tim Duncan was efficient and effective but scored in low volumes as he was limited by hack-a-Jordan-induced foul trouble.  

Leonard, Ginobili and Parker combined to go just 8-33 from the field.  Had just one of those three had a decent shooting night, the story might have been very different.  Instead, the Spurs head to Los Angeles for one last shot at taking this first round series.

Spurs Index: 99.9 (def.)

Factor Value Score
Passing (AST%) 72.2% 34.9
Shooting (eFG%) 45.8% 17.1
Defensive Rebounding (DReb%) 76.2% 19.9
Defense (DefRtg) 108.9 18.4
Opponent % of FGA Uncontested 42.5% 9.6
Total 99.9

Clippers Spurs Index: 98.5 Show Breakdown

Great assist percentage, due largely to the Spurs' two best isolation player making all of 7 field goals.  The Spurs also rebounded well, keeping the Clippers off the glass, which is something they've done well all series.  Hopefully they can find a few things to improve on and find a way to win in L.A. on Saturday.  Go Spurs Go!



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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