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
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.