Griz Up 3-1, Mavs 3-2

by Jeff Fogle 26. April 2011 00:14

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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...

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4/26/2011 1:34:31 AM #


Well, if the Spurs lose, that's fair and square, but don't start re-writing the book on their regular season.  

This was a team that used their depth to get 60 wins, and planned to use their big three to get through the playoffs--they were one of two teams with 3 players above 20 PER, and increased the playing time of those stars about 20%.  

So, no, I don't think they went all out for the regular season, or preyed on teams that didn't care, or were somehow doomed to fail.  They're down 1-3 to a team that played them better than anyone else (including any of the other contenders).  Don't think it has anything to do with lacking an "extra gear."

Peter United States

4/26/2011 1:30:27 PM #

Jeff Fogle

Appreciate your comments Peter. I think your comments and mine are both part of the "book" of the regular season. Agree with you about the bench production. I had said, "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."

That execution involved the bench, and was significantly connected to three-point production. I didn't mean to suggest that San Antonio "went all out for the regular season." They clearly were pacing their big three in hopes of being in position to play at a peak level in the playoffs. The team as a whole executed very well during the regular season in a year where "going through the motions" was rampant with bad teams, some playoff teams who were pacing themselves for the long haul, and your normal assortment of tired teams on back-to-backs or in busy schedule sequences.

So, San Antonio used its depth (and what appears to be great chemistry and camaraderie as a team overall) to exploit a league that has too much "going through the motions" in the regular season for my taste (granted that's my opinion about league intensity and not something that's probably universally regarded to be true). Much of that execution showed up in the three-point category, where SA's teamwork allowed them to get a lot of open looks and average 8.4 makes per game with an effective field goal pct of 59.5 (best in the league, and way above most playoff teams).

Definitely don't think they were "doomed to fail." But, once Memphis neutralized the treys, San Antonio became just another playoff team. A name in the hat, but not the caliber of a typical #1 seed.

The "extra gear" thing could be debated for a long time I'm sure. They have yet to show something that separates them from Memphis, even with giving their stars more minutes (that was supposed to be their extra gear). Memphis is a nice team...and better than a typical #8 seed most likely in terms of their recent form. It's tough to make the case yet that Memphis is a championship contender. San Antonio was supposed to be one, but hasn't yet shown an ability to get any distance between themselves and Memphis.

Jeff Fogle United States

5/3/2011 12:14:09 PM #

Peter Smith

Respect   to op , some good  information  .

Peter Smith United States

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