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Weekly Stats Recap

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This week I took a look at which statistic had a greater impact on a game’s outcome, transition points or points in the paint. I charted the fast break points and interior points for each of the 49 games this week and broke them into two separate groups: winning and losing teams. I then divided the totals of the losing teams by the number of points scored to determine what percentage of points were scored in transition/paint. I repeated that process for the winning teams, and compared my findings.

The results weren’t overly shocking, as winning teams outscored losing teams on the break by a higher percentage than they did in the paint, but the wide disparity caught me a bit off guard. Winning teams scored an average of 14% (14.37 points per game) of their points on the break while losing teams scored 11.6% (10.53 points per game) of their points in transition. The 3.84 point difference per game reflects that winning teams outscored losing teams by 26.7% on the fast break.

When it comes to scoring in the paint, the results weren’t as definitive. In fact, losing teams actually accounted for a higher percentage of their points (42.7% compared to 40.97%) in the painted area. Victorious teams averaged 42.04 points per game in the lane while losing teams tallied 38.76 points per game in close, a 3.28 (or 7.8%) point advantage for the winning teams.

Could this explain the struggles of the Lakers, a team who has a “fast break” oriented coach but a “points in the paint” oriented roster? It may only be a week long study, but teams that excel at running have a better chance at winning games than teams that slow it down play a bruising style on the interior.

Remember, if you’re curious about any stat, tweet me @unSOPable23 and I’ll do a weekly study on your stat. Let’s team up and uncover some of the most unique stats/trends that this game has to offer.

Here are some of other interesting numbers from the past week.

Monday

- Blake Griffin missed a three pointer, something that seems to be directly correlated to a Clippers loss. Over the past two seasons, LA is 7-9 in games which Griffin misses a three point field goal and 41-21 in games in which he does not.

- The Cavs (@ Memphis) and Thunder (vs Charlotte) both won the first three quarters of their games today, but the game results were considerably different. Cleveland lost a back and forth game by a final score of 84-78 while the Oklahoma City was in cruise control for the entire second half, winning 114-69.

- If you subtract Tyson Chandler, who averages a mere 5.46 shots per game for his career, the Knicks shot 29.2% from the field and 65% from the line against the Nets, yet managed to make a game of it and force overtime.

- Common basketball knowledge would tell you that when a team’s best player is scoring in bunches, the team is very successful. Try telling the Blazers that, as they fell to 5-6 over the last two seasons in games that LaMarcus Aldridge tallied at least 29 points. That is the exact same winning percentage (45%) that Portland has in games in which their stud doesn’t score at least 29 points.

- Kenneth Faried is much more than a great nickname; he is an incredibly efficient scorer. The Manimal has shot at least 50% from the field in 10 of his last 12 games, including a red hot 75% over his last two contests.

Tuesday

- Kobe Bryant scored 40 points in a losing effort to the Pacers, in large part due to the rest of the Lakers managing only 37 points. The fact that they lost a game with such an imbalance in scoring, however, shouldn’t be a surprise, as Los Angeles has dropped all three games this season when Bryant scores at least 38 points and the team is held under 100 total points. This is an odd trend that is starting to develop, considering the Lakers went 4-1 in such games last season.

- Kevin Love had a 20/20 game in Sacramento tonight, snaring 24 boards and scoring 23 points. At first glance, the fact that this All-Star would grab more rebounds than points scored may seem odd, but if you look carefully, an odd trend is beginning to develop. Love is producing 20/20 games with more rebounds than points every other season, with even numbered seasons being the indicator. Last season (2011), he didn’t have a single such game. In 2010, he racked up seven of them. In 2009? You guessed it. None. This likely won’t be the last 20/20 game in which Love’s rebound total surpasses his point total this season.

- Darren Collison handed out six assists and made five field goals against the 76ers tonight, the eighth straight game with at least as many dimes as makes. While that is impressive, he has some work to do if he wants to threaten Rajon Rondo (46) for the longest streak over the past few seasons.

- You don’t expect snow in the summer, mail on Sunday’s, or Nick Young to set up his teammates more often than himself. “Swaggy P” handed out two assists, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but when you include the fact that he only scored two points himself, you’ve got yourself a statistical anomaly. Tonight was only the second time since his rookie season in which Young has as many assists as points scored (minimum of one point scored) and the first time he has done so in his last 279 games.

- Jeremy Lin shot 78% from the field and recorded a double-double in a 117-101 victory over the Raptors. Believe it or not, Lin didn’t shoot better than 65% in any of his double-doubles during Linsanity last season.

Wednesday

- Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka combined for 60 points in a remarkably efficient manner, shooting 68.6% from the field. The Thunder are a great team, but any time their top two scorers shoot a higher percentage from the field than the opponent does from the free throw line (60%), they simply will not lose.

- We’ve established that Portland has less depth than a kiddie pool; something that resulted in them becoming the first team to leave a game against the Wizards with a L. Washington’s reserves scored 46 points on 51.7% shooting from the field while Portland’s backups managed only four points on 15.4% shooting. There were five Wizards who came off of the pine and scored at least 50% more points than the entire Trailblazers bench.

- James Harden missed 10 two pointers against his former team, the second time this month he has missed double digit shots from inside the three point line. He hadn’t had a game like that since he left high school (289 games) in 2007.

- The Orlando Magic scored a total of 11 points from the free throw line and behind three point line. Manu Ginobili led a Spurs blowout (110-89) by coming off the bench to score 20 total points from the stripe and from distance.

- Jamal Crawford has cooled off of late, averaging only 1.22 points per shot over his last three games, a 15.3% drop off from his season average.

Thursday

David Lee poured in 31 points in a comeback victory against the Nuggets, his highest total in his last 79 games. The points are nice, but take a notice of his efficiency and versatility. In his last 11 games, Lee has doubled his career assist average six times, grabbing at eight rebounds in each of of those games. Also, in Golden State’s last three victories, Lee is shooting 68.2% from the field.

- In the same game, Steph Curry knocked down four of his seven three point attempts. The shooting success in a win was rare, as the Davidson marksman is shooting 32.7% from distance in victories and 50% in losses.

- The Spurs are $250,000 lighter after tonight’s game, and while I disagree with this ruling, David Stern has this stat in his favor. If you subtract the Spurs most experienced active starter (Boris Diaw), their “starters” averaged four starts over the past two seasons (16 total starts). Let me put that another way. Rashard Lewis, the Heat’s most inexperienced starter who is in his 16th season, has started 42 games in that stretch.

- How overmatched, in theory, were the Spurs in this game? LeBron James led the Heat in points, turnovers, steals, assists, and field goals made. The Spurs had Gary Neal led them in each one of those statistical categories as well.

- It was my understanding that Matt Bonner has one roll: “make big three pointers to ice the game”. By that logic, you’d expect San Antonio to be much better than 4-4 in the last eight games in which the Red Rocket has buried multiple threes. His nickname could be in danger, as a red head sharp shooter from Richmond  and a Cortland intramural legend are staking claims as the top tomato tops in the game today.

Friday

- One tandem of starters had 47+ points while both players shot at least 50% from the field. Maybe Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook? Close, but no cigar. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings can fill up a score sheet, could it be them? Nope. Surely the high paid Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant could manage at least these thresholds in a 120 point performance by the Lakers? No dice. Evan Turner and Jason Richardson were the only starting teammates to amass such numbers, and they did so in Charlotte.

- Speaking of the Lakers, have we ever seen a better shooting performance by a back up unit? Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamision made 12 triples against the Nuggets, more than any other team made tonight. Last year’s top three point shooting team (Orlando) didn’t even attempt 12 three points last night. In fact, three games had fewer than 12 three pointers made.

- The Toronto Raptors rely on Andrea Bargnani, but not the way most teams rely on their best scorer. With a win over Phoenix, Toronto improved to 3-1 when Bargnani tallies 10 or fewer points. That wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t 1-12 when he eclipses 10 points.

- Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points, handed out five assists, and grabbed five rebounds against the Wizards, a solid all around game that were aren’t using to seeing from the pride of Syracuse. It was his Anthony’s first 20/5/5 game of the season and only his tenth in his last 81 games. A mind boggling stat when you consider that he has covered the 20 point requirement in 68% of those games.

- Larry Sanders recorded his first career triple double, as he scored 10 points (5/7 shooting), pulled down 12 rebounds, and swatted 10 shots in 32 minutes last night. He hadn’t come close to a triple double in his last three games combined: 12 points (6/18 shooting), 18 rebounds, and five blocks.

Saturday

- The Rockets have relied as heavily on James Harden as any team has on any player this season. Heading into tonight’s game against the Jazz, Houston had dropped all four games in which The Beard has scored less than 20 points, averaging only 90.3 points in those losses. Not only did the Rockets win tonight, they poured in 122 points, despite Harden scoring only 18 points.

- All seven Nets players who were on the court for at least 15 minutes scored in double figures against the Heat. On the other side, only four of eight members of the Heat rotation who recorded 15+ minutes scored 10+ points. That being said, the four Miami players scored 80 points, nearly canceling out the seven Brooklyn players, who scored 87 points.

- Even without Kyrie Irving, the Cavs starting backcourt was very competitive against a strong Trailblazers guard tandem. When all was said and done, the four starting guards handed out 63.2% of all assists in this game. That number is even more impressive when you consider that all four of the guards were also counted on when it comes to scoring, as they all tallied at least 11 points.

- Jason Terry now has 11 assists in December after having 27 in November.

- The Thunder boasted the only starting unit in which all five players tallied at least five rebounds. That being said, the Thunder starters tied for seventh in total rebounds by a starting group last night.

Sunday

- Only two players on the Knicks committed a turnover against the Suns, resulting in New York registering an NBA best 3.0 assist to turnover ratio.

- Marcin Gortat blocked a shot in 11 straight games to open this season, but neither him nor a single one of his teammates turned back a Knicks shot attempt.

- Kobe Bryant shot under 50% from the field in every game this week, something that isn’t nearly as rare or as correlated to losses as you’d assume. Since the beginning of last season, there have been seven such weeks, and the Lakers have gone 12-9 over that stretch.

- There are no rules against mentioning one player multiple times, so here is another Kobe nugget for you. The Black Mamba hadn’t gone back to back games without making a three pointer since February 29th (38 games).

- Glen Davis couldn’t corral an offensive rebound for the second time in as many games. Prior to this mini slump, Davis had tallied at least one O-Board in 39 straight contests.

Got a stat you want me to research for an entire week? Let me know @unSOPable23. No stone goes unturned here in our efforts to break down the NBA to the simplist of levels. Let your thoughts be heard (and researched) for next weeks installment of the Weekly Stats Recap.

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