Category Archives: playoffs

Magic’s Little Known Triple-Double Achievement

We have been told that no one has averaged a triple-double in the NBA since Oscar Robertson*.  “The Big O” went for 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds per night exactly fifty years ago.

Did you know that Magic Johnson did average a triple-double over his first four playoff seasons.  From 1980-1983 he played 48 playoff games and posted a line of 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists.

The Los Angeles Lakers won their first two of five Magic-era titles over this span.

*note that Jason Kidd averaged 15-11-11 in twelve playoff games for the ’07 Nets

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Old Man Ray Gettin’ Steals

Miami Heat guard Ray Allen lead his team with five steals in game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals.

Did you know that the 5 steal single-game total is a playoff career high for Jesus Shuttlesworth?  His previous high of four steals came nine years ago…with the Seattle SuperSonics.  

 

The Spurs Possession Advantage

One big advantage for the Spurs during this playoffs has been their possession differential.  Over the last two series San Antonio has done a great job at holding onto the ball and forcing turnovers.  The Spurs forced Portland and Oklahoma City into an average of 15 turnovers per game.

The Western Conference champs gave the ball away an average of only 11 times/game vs. the Blazers and Thunder.  When you win the possession battle your team can afford a few missed shots and still win the game.

The key to the Spurs “D” has been great wing play.  Four of their guys are averaging over 2.5% steal rate.  Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard are combining for 3.5 steals per game in the playoffs.

Turning the attention to the offensive side of the ball the secret has been The Big Fundamental.  Tim Duncan has only turned the ball over 14 times in 18 games this playoff season.  This is by far the lowest rate of his playoff career.

In fact among high usage players Duncan is averaging the lowest turnover rate in NBA playoff history.  In the nearly four decades that turnovers have been tracked Duncan is tied with the ’03 version of Peja Stojakovic for the least turnovers in a playoff season.

The complete list from Basketball-Reference.com:

                                 Tota
Rk            Player  Season  Tm    G FGA AST TOV TOV%
1         Tim  Duncan 2013-14 SAS   18 234  34  14  5.0
2    Peja  Stojakovic 2002-03 SAC   12 202  30  12  5.0
3          Raja  Bell 2005-06 PHO   17 165  37  10  5.2
4       Ricky  Pierce 1988-89 MIL    9 141  25   9  5.3
5      Alex  English* 1987-88 DEN   11 255  48  16  5.5
6        Joe  Dumars* 1990-91 DET   15 245  62  17  5.6
7     Terry  Cummings 1986-87 MIL   12 215  28  15  5.6
8       Shawn  Marion 2005-06 PHO   20 333  31  22  5.7
9      Jerome  Kersey 1990-91 POR   16 226  49  17  5.9
10    Reggie  Miller* 1999-00 IND   22 385  60  28  6.0
11      Reggie  Lewis 1991-92 BOS   10 218  39  16  6.1
12    Michael  Finley 2006-07 SAS   20 178  22  13  6.2
13   Kiki  Vandeweghe 1982-83 DEN    8 160  32  12  6.2
14      Derek  Fisher 2000-01 LAL   16 159  48  12  6.5
15     Kerry  Kittles 2001-02 NJN   20 216  45  17  6.7
16   Michael  Jordan* 1997-98 CHI   21 526  74  45  6.7

*minimum 140 Field Goal Attempts + 20 Assists in the playoff season

OKC Thunder: Small Lineup Plays Big

The Oklahoma City Thunder have played ten playoff games in 2014.  Understanding the sample size is still small we could see flukes in OKC’s production by lineups.  But early on there are dramatic differences in Scott Brooks 5-man units.

The Thunder’s most common lineup is Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.  In 127 minutes played through 10 games this unit is playing even with it’s opponents.

When Brooks goes small and inserts Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler for Perk and Thabo we see an improvement in rebounding and big jump in shooting efficiency.  Overall this small unit is +30 points/100 possessions.

This is an outrageous difference and is not likely to last.  But ten games in there is no argument which Thunder lineup has been most productive this playoff season.

NBA Playoffs: Runner-up All-Stars

With five first round game sevens the 2014 NBA playoffs are shaping up to be one of the best of our lifetime.  As a consolation prize I have selected the ‘Playoff All-Stars’ among the teams who were knocked out in round one.

F – Paul Millsap, Atlanta – 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 53% True Shooting

F – Draymond Green, Golden State – 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 59% TS

C – Dwight Howard, Houston – 26 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 58% TS

G – Kyle Lowry, Toronto – 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 57% TS

G – Stephen Curry, Golden State – 23 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 60% TS

6th – Taj Gibson, Chicago – 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 63% TS

*stats are per game averages

NBA Playoffs: Strange Glasswork

Who was the leading rebounder in the seven-game series between the Thunder and Grizzlies?

It wasn’t Zach Randolph.  It wasn’t Marc Gasol.

Despite OKC decisively winning the battle of the glass (+5 Reb/game), Serge Ibaka only pulled down 9 boards/game.

The best rebounder in the series was Thunder guard Russell Westbrook with 10 rebs/game.

Oddly, the man preventing Memphis from getting absolutely blasted on the backboard was guard Tony Allen.  He tied Russ for the offensive rebounding lead in the series with 23.

The Mavs’ Two Keys

Two reasons the Dallas Mavericks have pushed the best team in the NBA to a game seven…big men rebounding.

Through six games the Spurs Tim Duncan has played 213 minutes and grabbed 51 rebounds.

The Mavs’ key 4/5’s (sans Dirk Nowitzki) have played  193 minutes.  Samuel Dalembert and DeJuan Blair totaled 85 boards.

Dalembert and Blair are posting two of the top-ten single playoff season rebounding rates in the NBA’s three-point era….

                                  Tota
Rk             Player  Season  Tm    G TRB  TRB
1        DeJuan  Blair 2013-14 DAL    5  32 17.5
2      Dennis  Rodman* 1994-95 SAS   14 207 16.2
3       Kevin  Garnett 2001-02 MIN    3  56 15.5
4      Ralph  Sampson* 1984-85 HOU    5  83 15.5
5        DeJuan  Blair 2009-10 SAS   10  39 15.4
6        Marcus  Camby 2007-08 DEN    4  53 15.4
7      Dennis  Rodman* 1993-94 SAS    3  48 15.2
8    Samuel  Dalembert 2013-14 DAL    6  53 15.0
9      Dennis  Rodman* 1988-89 DET   17 170 15.0
10        Larry  Smith 1986-87 GSW   10 137 15.0