For this week’s Stat Study, I decided to look at average FGA, FTA, and 3PA in an effort to forecast winners. After each of the 54 games had been played this week, I charted every matchup and jotted down which team averaged more FTA, FGA, and 3PA to see if there was a constant link between any of them to the winner.
I posed the question of which statistic (FTA, FGA, or 3PA) would predict winners at the highest rate to the Twitter-verse. The team who entered the week averaging more FTA was the runaway favorite (58.8% of the vote) followed by 3PA (29.4%) and then FGA (11.8%). As it turns out the social media world had the right train of thought, but teams who averaged more 3PA won the week with a mark of 29-25, just edging out the team leading in FTA (28-26). David Vertsberger (@_Verts) nailed it this week as he projected that teams who live and die by the three pointer would ultimately prevail based on the premise that they get more points per shot made. He was banking on a big week from the Knicks, and it was their two wins that swung the scale for the week.
Ironically enough, the greatest predictor of victory was the team who averaged fewer FGA this the week (30-24). The Heat and Thunder, who both went 4-0 this week, proved that it is quality over quantity when it comes to shot selection, as they attempt the fewest shots per game in the league.
What’s on the books for next week? I’m going with an extended study this week, as it will carry through the All Star Break and include games played this week and next. What do you want to know? How can we enlighten the basketball public? Don’t be shy and get your tweets out to me (@unSOPable23) before midnight on Monday night and I’ll get the wheels in motion.
That being said, here are 35 stats that you may have missed from the past week.
- Hedo Turkoglu notched six assists in 18 minutes of action against the 76ers in a game that sent the game of basketball back 50 years (139 total points). Turkoglu had handed out only five assists since the calendar flipped to 2013 and hadn’t averaged an assist every three minutes of a game since March 25, 2011.
- DeAndre Jordan’s 22 rebound performance is likely to gain most of the attention, but isn’t Jrue Holiday’s 14 assist night more impressive. Holiday dished out 53.8% of his team’s assists while Jordan snatched 50% of his team’s rebounds, not to mention the 76ers point guard scored 16.7% of his team’s points while Jordan scored 7.8% of the Clippers total points. Holiday’s assists led to 29 points, meaning he had a hand in 53.8% of Philadelphia’s points.
- LeBron James got all of the headlines for his astounding 13/14 performance from the field in a win over the Bobcats, overshadowing a first for Chris Bosh. In his third season with the Heat, Bosh recorded 11+ makes from the field in consecutive games for the first time. He had eight such occurrences in his final five seasons in Toronto.
- Given a grace period of three games, the Thunder’s offense shifts from very good to elite when Kevin Martin makes at least three three pointers. Oklahoma City has scored at least 105 points in each of the last nine instances and at least 100 points in 17 of the last 18 games in which Kmart has delivered as three or more triples. Over that span the Thunder are averaging 111 points (5.1 more points than their season average).
- The Minnesota Timberwolves had a fourth quarter to remember in a game they’d rather forget. In the games first three quarters, Minnesota made 23/61 field goals (37.7%) including a dreadful 1/11 (9.1%) from downtown for 58 points. In the final stanza, however, the Timberwolves connected on 17/24 of their shots (70.8%) which included making their only two three point shots of the quarter for 40 points. Dante Cunningham and JJ Barea combined for 28 points in the fourth quarter, a total that matched the next highest scoring quarter by a team in this game. In other words, Minnesota scored 40.8% of its points, made 66.7% of their three pointers, and made 42.5 of their field goals in the last quarter of the game.
- Paul George sunk five three pointers as the suddenly offensive minded Pacers (327 points in three February games), giving him at least one 3PM in 14 consecutive games. Over that stretch, George has nailed 40 triples, one fewer than he hit in the entire 2010-100 season.
- Earl Clark not only led the Lakers in minutes played, shooting percentage, and plus/minus against the Nets, he also recorded his fourth double double in his last five games. For reference, Pau Gasol has four double doubles since the last time the Lakers played the Nets (November 20th).
- The Rockets may have tied the NBA record for three pointers made in a single game with 23, but the Warriors inability to connect from deep was equally as rare. Given the score (140-109), season percentages would forecast the Rockets outscoring the Warriors 40.18 to 25.51 from distance, but they held a 60 point advantage from 23 feet 9 inches. Golden State gets the eighth most points from distance per game, but all three starters who played 30+ minutes and attempted a three pointer for Houston (Jeremy Lin, James Harden, and Chandler Parsons) made more triples individually than the Warriors made as a team.
- The Memphis Grizzles offense, the backcourt specifically, seems to be in a state of confusion upon the departure of Rudy Gay. In a disappointing home loss against the Suns, the player who missed the most shots (Darrell Arthur) and the player who made the most shots (Jerryd Bayless) came off the bench. No other team in the NBA had both such players come off of the pine.
- Samuel Dalembert stole the show in a losing effort, scoring 35 points (had scored 33 total points in his last eight games against the Nuggets) on 17/21 shooting (the same number of FGM as he had in January). He matched Monta Ellis with a team high 21 FGA but nearly tripled his point total. Surprisingly enough, Dalembert being more efficient that Ellis isn’t all that rare as the big man (prior to this game) averaged 1.26 points per shot attempt for his career while Ellis averaged 1.19. With the disparity in points tallied at the free throw line (Ellis has outscored Dalembert by 672 points at the stripe despite playing three fewer seasons), this is even more impressive.
- David West lined up a three pointer on the road, typically a bad sign for Pacers fans. Since February 7, 2011 (two calendar years), tonight was the 21st game in which the power forward launched a three pointer, 18 of which have come on the road. The team’s success rate, however, would indicate that he should stick to shooting in Indiana, as they are 3-0 when he attempts a triple at home and only 8-10 in such road games. They were able to beat the 76ers last night, but the numbers suggest they won’t be so lucky next time West fired up a three pointer on the road.
- Monta Ellis had himself an odd night as he only managed nine field goal attempts in 33 minutes of action (68% more minutes per shot than his career average), but that isn’t even the punch line. Ellis shot better than 50% (5/9 from the field) in a game in which he took fewer than 10 shots, something he hasn’t done since December of 2007.
- In a reasonable sample size of four career games (attempted 12 three pointers and 21 free throws) against the Bobcats, Kyrie Irving is shooting a higher percentage from three than he is from the free throw line … and he is shooting 90.5% from the stripe.
- No player on Orlando that recorded at least 20 minutes had more assists than turnovers. In fact, Kyle O’Quinn was the only Magic player (nine active players) to have more assists than turnovers. That, boys and girls, is how you lose by double digits at home to a team missing two All Star Game starters and the front runner for sixth man of the year.
- Another rough day for Ricky Rubio when it comes to shooting the basketball (3/13 from the field and 0/1 from distance) but I maintain my stance that this kid will be a great point guard in this league. In fact, these numbers suggest he is following the same path as another elite passing point guard with the same initials.
Ricky Rubio – 1,922 minutes (first 62 games), 564 points, 463 assists, 34.6 FG%, 29.7 3P%
Rajon Rondo – 1,892 minutes (first 80 games), 518 points, 301 assists, 42.0 FG%, 20.7 3P%
- The Lakers lost their third game this season in which Dwight Howard has fouled out (44 games played). The Magic lost three times in a Dwight Howard disqualification over his final 137 games in Orlando.
- Jodie Meeks plays alongside one of the greatest scores of all time and at least one elite seven footer, but hasn’t recorded a multi assist game in 2013 (240 minutes played). The streak includes a remarkable 69.5 straight assist-less minutes and only two dimes over his last 141 minutes of floor time. One would assume that if he’s not passing, he must be scoring, but that assumption goes by the wayside as Meeks’ scoring average has dropped during this stretch.
- The Bulls lost their second consecutive road game as they were run out of the gym in Denver (128-96). Despite only being one week into February, Chicago has recorded three of their four highest point totals in road losses this month.
- The Nuggets are heating up and a big reason is the play they are getting from Kenneth Faried. They won their 12th straight game last night when The Manimal takes at least 10 shots, improving to 28-7 in such games for Faried’s career. When you consider that he also recorded double digit rebounds, there was almost no way Denver was going to lose to Chicago. The Nuggets are even better when their high energy man grabs 10 boards (13 wins in a row and a 34-8 career mark) than when he is engaged on the offensive end.
- At a glance Denver’s dismantling of Chicago may seem a bit surprising, but when you look at how they did it, it was a reasonable outcome. The Nuggets are the top team in the league in terms of points in the paint (average 15.7 more points in the paint than the Bulls) and outscored Chicago by 20 on this night. Denver is also the league’s best third quarter team (+2.9), a number that raises (+4.7) at home, which is not so coincidently when the Nuggets pulled away (+21). Lastly, Denver averages the most points in the NBA from two point baskets (67.2), making their 26 point advantage on two point buckets less surprising.
- Tony Parker made 10+ free throws and 10+ field goals for only the fourth time in the last three seasons. Oddly enough, half of those games have occurred on February 8th. In fact, the eighth day in February has been quite kind to Parker over the last four years. He is averaging 26.8 points and 7.8 assists on 57.8% shooting from the floor and 94.3% shooting from the free throw line in 36.8 minutes.
- Brook Lopez missed eight shots from the field and grabbed eight rebounds in a loss to the suddenly feared Washington Wizards. It’s the third time in four February games in which the All Star (thanks to the Rajon Rondo injury) has had at least as many missed shots as rebounds.
- The Lakers best quarter (in terms of average maragin) entering tonight’s game against the Bobcats was the first quarter (+1.1), while Charlotte ranked dead last in average first quarter maragin by nearly two full points (-4.7). The Lakers did win this game, but they lost the first quarter by 10 points.
- LeBron James has stopped missing shots these days (72.9% from the field and 61.5% from three over his last four games), but he wasn’t alone on this night. The starting front court players in the Clippers/Heat game combined to score 86 points and shoot 68.9% from the field. James is averaging a remarkable 2.1 points per shot attempt over his latest scoring binge.
- Since December, Andrew Nicholson is averaging 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in games that he plays at least 25 minutes. He is averaging 27.8 minutes in those nine games. LaMarcus Aldridge, one of the statistically more impressive big men in the game today, is averaging 20.7 points and 9.1 rebounds in just over 38 minutes of action. If you extrapolate Nicholson’s averages in games in which he plays 25+ minutes to a 38 minute level, you’d have a rookie pouring in 18.8 points and snaring 9.9 rebounds on a nightly basis. Nicholson isn’t on Aldridge’s level quiet yet, but he is closer than a quick glance at his season averages (7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds) might suggest.
- Danilo Gallinari made half of the Nuggets three point shots, knocking down three of his six attempts from behind the arc. The Nuggets have now won 13 straight games (and 19 of 20) in which Gallinari has connected on at least two three pointers.
- Lavoy Allen has two double doubles in five career games against the Bobcats and 0 in the other 97 games of his NBA career. His 22 rebound performance gave him more rebounds in this game against Charlotte than he has in his career against 26 of the other 28 NBA teams.
- Charlie Villanueva canned four three pointers as his Pistons scored 11 of the final 15 points in a victory over the Bucks. Of all players who average at least 2.4 3PM in wins and have at least 17 wins, Villanueva ranks fourth in 3P%. His 48.2% clip in victories tops all three of this weekend’s three point contest competitors that qualify (Steve Novak, Steph Curry, and Ryan Anderson).
- The Warriors were never all that competitive against the Mavericks as they dropped their fourth game in five days. They have lost those four games by a total of 83 points, nearly matching the sum of all of their losses since Christmas (91 points).
- DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings in just about every statistical category whether it be positive (rebounds, assists, and steals) or negative (turnovers and fouls). In fact, this was the fifth time in his last 16 games that Cousins’ foul plus turnover total has reached double digits.
- Damian Lillard is a rookie and therefore not immune to the occasional stinker. He is in a very difficult position when those games come around, however, as the Trailblazers need him to play 35-40 minutes a night. In his 40 minutes of action he missed 15 shots and scored only four points while the entire Portland bench scored 28 points and missed a mere four shots in 56 total minutes.
- There are a lot of tangibles that go along with being a star NBA player, but there is one skill that seems to trump everything. Can you put the ball in the basket? The leading scorer for each team in the Clippers/Knicks game (Jamal Crawford and Carmelo Anthony) combined to score 69 points on 48 shots in 80 minutes of action. For as often as these two had the ball in their hands, you’d think they could do a little better than a 1:8 assist to turnover ratio.
- Metta World Peace struggled from the field as he missed eight of his 11 field goals, and he was unable to impact the game in any other fashion (one assists and zero rebounds in 36 minutes. The Lakers lost for the eighth time in nine games this season when World Peace’s AR (assists + rebounds) is four or fewer.
- Tony Parker attempted at least one free throw and one three pointer without recording a miss for the third time in his last 31 games. He had accomplished that feat only three times in his previous 305 games.
- The Timberwolves aren’t a good team, but they won for the fourth time in the five games this season when Alexey Shved dishes out at least as many assists as FGA. They’ve only won just 14 of 43 games when Shved doesn’t do so.