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Last Night’s Numbers – 3/31/12

US Presswire

Kyle Soppe also writes about the NBA for Pickin’ Splinters. Follow him on Twitter.

A full 12 game slate of NBA games left us with some impressive stat lines from teams and individuals alike. We also saw an absolutely dreadful performance from a group of starters. Today, I focus on road warriors; players who played well away from the comforts of home.

Player: Chris Bosh @ Toronto

Grade: A

Standout Stats: 73.1 TS%, 30 points, 3  blocked shots, 2 turnovers, +17 +/- ratio

- Bosh has been much more aggressive of late, something the Heat desperately need as teams are willing to let the third option get good looks. He always stays within himself and takes good shots, but I’m more focused on his ability to take care of the ball and protect the paint on defense. While Joel Anthony is a good presence, Bosh’s three blocked shots (had two blocked shots total in the previous nine games) do more than turn the opponent away, they encourage tight defense on the perimeter. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Heat back court are more willing to take chances, which often lead to transition baskets for the best fast break team in the NBA, because they know the rim is protected if their attempt fails.

- Many big man are turnover prone, but Bosh’s skill set plays favorably into the Heat offense. In an offense with players who can score at will, most games come down to simply getting more shots than their opponents, as they always shoot a high percentage, but struggle with turnovers from time to time. With no player is this more evident than Bosh, as the Heat are now an outstanding 27-4 when he records two or fewer turnovers and a pedestrian 10-9 when he commits three or more.

Player: Isaiah Thomas @ Utah

Grade: A

Standout Stats: 76.5 TS%, 3 offensive rebounds, 6:1 assist to turnover ratio, 2 steals

- The rookie from Washington did a little bit of everything as his Kings pulled off the big upset in Salt Lake City. The Jazz were the fourth best home team in the Western Conference, but the Thomas led Kings used a 24-19 fourth quarter to prevail 104-103.

- Coming out of college, his size (5’9″) was believed to be a major hurdle, but Thomas has found his niche, and is producing like a player who is here to stay. Over his last four games, he has averaged 16.8 points while distributing 3.9 assists for every turnover. He isn’t counted on to do the heavy lifting when it comes to scoring, but his 76.5 TS% indicates just how accurate he is when he does decide to shoot.

- He was the only player in this game to average more than two points per shot, making him by far the most efficient player on the court.

- His three offensive boards matched a career high, and speaks highly of his anticipation skills. There were five starters in this game that were at least one foot taller than Thomas, but his scrappy hard-nosed style landed the Kings extra possessions when it counted most.

Player: Gerald Wallace @ Golden State

Grade: B+

Standout Stats: 18 rebounds (8 offensive), 6 steals, 5 assists, 2 three pointers

- Wow. When your starting forward puts up digits like this, it’s very hard to lose, even for the Nets. Deron Williams had 20 dimes, but for my money, Gerald Wallace was the most valuable Net on this night. Wallace played well during the first three quarters, but when the Warriors failed to shut the door on New Jersey, Wallace went bananas in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 of his 24 points and grabbed half of his rebounds in the final 12 minutes. The Nets came back from 14 down to win the game by two points.

- Just how good was Wallace? Here are his averages from the last two games: 24 points, 4 steals, 9 rebounds (3 offensive), 7 assists, and 0 three pointers. When Wallace is knocking down his perimeter jumper (2/2 on three pointers), the Nets are tough to stop, as they have a dominate PG and a solid big man. New Jersey isn’t a playoff team, but they aren’t a pushover, and are capable of beating anybody if Wallace plays like this.

PlayerErsan Ilyasova @ Cleveland

Grade: B

Standout Stats: 90.9 eFG% and 10 rebounds

- The Bucks exploited the glaring weakness of the Cavs in a big way, and ran their offense through the dominant play of Ilyasova. Sure, they brought in Monta Ellis to team up with Brandon Jennings for a ultra high scoring back court, but the Cavs countered that well, as Kyrie Irving held his own. The Cavs, however, couldn’t match up with the fourth year man from Turkey. Ilyasova buried his two three point attempts, giving the Cavs yet another player to worry about on the perimeter.

- Once he established his range, he took the ball inside, and seemed to score on every touch. He grabbed a team high 10 rebounds for the Bucks, whose 37 point win was their largest in franchise history. Don’t sleep on the Bucks, as they aren’t the most talented, but their depth and versatility make them a tough match up for any team.

Lineups of the night

Top lineup honors go to the Chicago Bulls front court of Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer

- The bigs in Chicago dominated the Pistons, as they found yet another way to win without Derrick Rose in the lineup. The trio combined for 62.7% of the teams points and 60.4% of the Bulls total rebounds. They were also remarkably efficient, combining for a 63.3 TS%. Even their passing stats were above average for big men, as they handed out two assists for every turnover. In a game decided by 12 points, the Bulls were able to emerge victorious due to their 14 point advantage in the paint.

Top flop “honors” go to the starting five of the Philadelphia 76ers: Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, and Jrue Holiday

- When the 76ers saw the Wizards on the schedule, they had to be licking their chops, and who could blame them. Their top ranked defense (in terms of points allowed) was taking on the 24th highest scoring offense, and their 21st ranked scoring offense figured to match up favorably with the 28th best scoring defense. The starters averaged 7.2 points, and shot 16/40 from the floor. John Wall blocked more shots than the entire 76er roster, as one of the worst teams in the league took it to a team that many people like as a sleeper in the postseason. The Wizards starters combined for a +37 +/- ratio, while the 76ers starters totaled a -51 ratio.

Stat of the night: 17

The number of games in which Dwight Howard has attempted more free throws than field goals. Despite attempting more free throws (in theory, a high percentage shot), Howard has only made more free throws in 58.9% of those games. He’s impossible to guard in the post, but foul him, and his size and strength becomes a disadvantage.


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