All the big TV markets in the state of Texas...and the Spurs and Mavericks are playing at the same time! Dallas bounced back strong from Saturday's collapse in Portland. San Antonio played its worst game of the postseason when they needed to play their best Monday night in Memphis...
Let's take the games in the order they finished.
MEMPHIS 104, SAN ANTONIO 86
Two-Point Pct: San Antonio 53%, Memphis 52%
3-Point Shooting: San Antonio 5/18, Memphis 5/12
Free Throws: San Antonio 11/14, Memphis 17/21
Rebounds: San Antonio 37, Memphis 39
Turnovers: San Antonio 17, Memphis 8
1's and 2's: San Antonio 71, Memphis 89
Tony Parker must have gotten mad about media coverage suggesting his performances had been dragging down the team. It was odd to see that as a preview theme across the sports world today. If you're not Derrick Rose or Chris Paul you're a huge negative? Through three games Parker had a plus/minus of +5 even though team scoring differential was dead even.
Anyway, Parker was 9 of 12 from the field for 23 points. Everyone else was 21 of 63 for 41%. Parker did have turnover troubles though, suggesting he was trying to force things. He lost the ball 7 times in 32 minutes this evening, against a team who's defensive strength is forcing turnovers. You can see above that turnover differential was a big deal in this one. Still, Parker's plus/minus was -9 tonight in a game the Spurs lost by 18. His personal differential is 14 points better than the team through four games.
The biggest issue for the Spurs has been the disappearance of treys (and Parker's not a big part of their trey attack). As we've mentioned a few times, San Antonio was supposed to have a big edge in that category in this series. Not happening!
Guarding the perimeter didn't grade out as a strength for Memphis is the pre-playoff defensive profiles. The Griz have clearly prioritized that based on the numbers so far.
Total Treys: San Antonio 20, Memphis 18
Trey Percentage: San Antonio 31%, Memphis 38%
Atlanta is getting a lot of media run for the job they're doing against Orlando at the perimeter. Memphis is in the same neighborhood though not as extreme. Neutralizing treys is important because the power game of Memphis has given them a clear edge in 1's plus 2's...
1'S AND 2'S
Game One: Memphis 83, San Antonio 80
Game Two: Memphis 78, San Antonio 72
Game Three: Memphis 79, San Antonio 82
Game Four: Memphis 89, San Antonio 71
Memphis leads the series 3-1, and it's obviously not a fluke. They haven't been as dominant as a 3-1 lead suggests of course. They've been the slightly better team across a composite of important stats. San Antonio wasn't as good as their regular season stats had suggested (dropping from 8.4 treys per game to 5.0 will have a big impact on your scoring differential!).
The Spurs didn't have an extra gear to go to in the playoffs either. They were at their best when executing very well against a regular season schedule that saw way too much "going through the motions" across the league this year. The Spurs only did that in select fatigue spots, and pretty much abused opponents otherwise. Now, in a select sample of teams going all out, the Spurs have have been exposed as just another team.
It's not over yet. It can be tough for inexperienced squads like Memphis to seal the deal when they get a surprising shot to do so. San Antonio isn't likely to lie down. And, the Spurs are overdue to make some treys too. Game Five will be Wednesday night in San Antonio.
DALLAS 93, PORTLAND 82
Two-Point Pct: Portland 48%, Dallas 48%
3-Point Shooting: Portland 4/16, Dallas 3/17
Free Throws: Portland 14/19, Dallas 26/35
Rebounds: Portland 37, Dallas 49
Turnovers: Portland 12, Dallas 12
1's and 2's: Portland 70, Dallas 84
Was reading through ESPN's NBA tweets Saturday afternoon to see what their reporters were saying about the games. J.A. Adande said something like, "If you know anything about the NBA, Dallas is going to have a big free throw edge in Game Five." Adande knows something about the NBA! The Mavs were +12 in makes and +16 in attempts.
Don't want to suggest that discrepancy was only due to fishiness. Dallas did a MUCH better job of attacking the basket tonight. They knew that they had settled for too many jumpers in the fourth quarter Saturday. They pounded the ball inside and reaped the benefits.
MONDAY FREE THROWS:
Nowitzki and Chandler: 17 of 23
Entire Portland Team: 14 of 19
Chandler was only credited with four shots from the field, but shot 12 free throws! I was switching back and forth between the games, so I didn't get a chance to see if Dirk was trying any more of those "Schaden-fade" jumpers. Clearly there was a point of emphasis on getting to the line.
There was also a point of emphasis on getting fast break points.
FAST BREAK POINTS
Game One: Portland 13, Dallas 8
Game Two: Portland 14, Dallas 6
Game Three: Portland 10, Dallas 7
Game Four: Portland 12, Dallas 0
Game Five: Portland 14, Dallas 14
Aggression! Dallas had more fast break points tonight than in their last three games combined according to the data from ESPN's boxscores.
And, that's important because Dallas was just 3 of 17 on three-pointers! Jason Kidd's jumper may have turned back into a pumpkin. He was still huge tonight with 14 assists, 8 rebounds, and a plus minus of +18 in an 11-point win. Here are his recent shooting numbers...
JASON KIDD FROM THE FLOOR
Game One: 9 of 14 (6 of 10 on treys)
Game Two: 7 of 11 (3 of 6 on treys)
Game Three: 3 of 9 (2 of 8 on treys)
Game Four: 3 of 6 (3 of 5 on treys)
Game Five: 1 of 7 (0 of 5 on treys)
That's 16 of 25 (64%) in the first two games (9 of 16 on treys), but 7 of 22 (32%) in the last three games (5 of 18 on treys).
Dallas takes a 3-2 lead back to Portland, knowing they've been pretty dominant in this series outside of the fourth quarter collapse over the weekend. In fact, if you take that quarter out of the series, Dallas is up 442-398 over 19 quarters, which pro-rates to a 93-84 standardized win. That's just a bucket off tonight's 93-82 final. What you saw tonight was a fair representation of the series to date outside of the outlier quarter.
Oh, Brandon Roy was 2 of 7 tonight in 26 minutes. Nobody else is stepping up when he's not Superman. Can he find the cape two more times?
Oklahoma City/Denver will end too late for commentary. I'll include notes from that game in the late Tuesday report...