Weekly Stats Recap
This week I had a stat request from Jesse Silverman (@JesseBeau)
, a Cortland intramural champion and defending March Madness king. He wondered if the number of double digit scorers was directly correlated to victories, guessing that winning teams would have more double digit scorers in each game.
As it turns out, there was not a considerable difference in the number of players in double figures for winning and losing teams. Over this holiday week (46 games), winning teams placed an average of 4.67 players per game into double digits while losing teams averaged 4.11 such players. For this small sample size, a remarkable 81.5% of teams had at least four players tally 10+ points, a number much higher than I speculated based on the emergence of the “Big Three” era. The Heat and the Bucks proved to be outliers rather than the rule, as their success directly depended on star players/volume scorers.
In addition to tracking total players who eclipsed 10 points, I tallied the number of players who did so in a reserve role. The average losing team had a higher percentage of their double digit scorers come from their bench than the winning teams. For the week, 31.6% of double figure scorers from losing teams didn’t start as opposed to 29.8% for winning teams. My initial guess was that teams who had multiple double digit point producers come off the bench (Clippers and Spurs come to mind) would be awfully successful, but such teams won only 56.3% of the time.
Curious about a stat of your own? Think you’ve got a trend that predicts victories but don’t have the patience to research your gut feeling? Looking for an edge in your fantasy basketball league? Whatever the case may be, tweet me your #StatStudy ideas (@unSOPable23) and I’ll make it my upcoming research project.
Here are the week’s best stats and a look at some odd trends to consider the next time you flip on an NBA game.
- Matt Barnes scored 20 points for the second time in the last 10 days as he continues to play well for the surging Clippers. Through tonight’s action Barnes is averaging 13.3 points during the Clippers 14 game win streak, a 70.5% increase from the season’s first 13 games.
- Four Houston players (Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons, James Harden, and Jeremy Lin) reached the 20 point plateau in Chicago, all in a very efficient manner. The quartet combined to shoot 62.3% from the field, 62.5% from distance, 81.8% from the free throw line, and managed a sparkling 20:3 assist turnover ratio.
- Russell Westbrook scored 21 points against the Heat thanks in large part to his accuracy from the charity stripe. A remarkable 47.6% of his points came from the free throw line, a percentage that has foreshadowed a loss for arguably the best team in the Western Conference. Westbrook has scored at least 47.6% of his points from the line in four of his last 136 games and OKC has lost each occurrence.
- Kobe Bryant attempted five more three pointers tonight as his game continues to move away from the rim. Despite being a 33.8% career three point shooter, Bryant has taken 26% of his shots from distance this month, a significant increase over his career 19.9% clip.
- Paul Pierce was in the giving mood on Christmas day, handing out 10 assists and scoring only eight points. Maybe he made an exception for the holiday as he had handed out 10 assists and scored 75 points over his previous two games.
- With Raymond Felton (hand) and Carmelo Anthony (knee) both sitting this game out, one would think that the Knicks would lack depth as they move their most productive substitutes into the starting unit. It would be a massive understatement to say that that is not how the game played out.
NYK bench: 53 FGA, 22 FGM, 5 FTM, 53 points
NYK starters: 35 FGA, 18 FGM, 5 FTM, 46 points
- Jason Kidd in particular shined when given the keys to the Knicks car, handing out eight assists and turning the ball over only once. In 10 December games that he has recorded at least 30 minutes, Kidd has 54 assists and only 11 turnovers, and the Knicks have won eight of those contests.
- Dwight Howard was ejected for a hard foul in Denver, but he stuck around long enough to miss five of his nine free throw attempts and hand out three assists. Believe it or not, this was only his second road game where he shot under 50% from the line and his first since November 7th. As for his passing prowess, it seems to be directly correlated with the return of Steve Nash. In games with the future hall of famer running the offense, Howard sees his assists per game rise by 52.6%.
- Remember watching Brett Favre and knowing that you’d have to live with mistakes in order to get the best out of him? He was at his best when he was aggressive and while that backfired at times, it was ultimately what made him great. On a much smaller scale, Nicolas Batum is building a similar reputation. Portland improved to 3-0 this season in games in which Batum has at least six turnovers, scoring 108 points per game in the process.
- The Pistons bench shared the basketball at a strong level, allowing Detroit to remain competitive with the Hawks. The starting unit struggled to set up good looks at the basket (Greg Monroe had 50% of the starters assists), but the reserves picked up the slack and handed out 81% of the teams helpers. In stark contrast, the Hawks starting five dished out 85.7% of the teams assists.
- Speaking of Atlanta, they improved to 5-0 at home this season when the often erratic Josh Smith has an assist to turnover ratio of at least 2.0.
- When you think of the Thunder you likely think of the NBA’s highest scoring duo (49.7 ppg) in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. While it is true that they are an elite scoring tandem, they are far from one dimensional. In fact, they beat the Mavericks in overtime thanks in large part to the passing ability of their All Pros. KD and Westbrook (who needs a nickname) accounted for a higher percentage of their teams assists (65.2%) than points (53.2%).
- Darren Collison single handedly kept Dallas in this game with his scoring ability as he poured in a season high 32 points (his previous season high was 21 points). Unfortunately for Maverick fans, Collison scoring in bunches hasn’t proved to be a key to victory. Dallas has lost all three games in which he scores at least 20 points after the Pacers won the final seven games in which Collison scored at least 20 for them.
- Blake Griffin missed twice as many free throws in 26 minutes as the Celtics did as a team in 240.
- Lamar Odom may stand 6’10” but his skill set more resembles and athletic two guard. He had more assists (5) than points (4), a feat that isn’t as rare for the 33 year old as you might think. His assists total has matched or surpassed his point total in 34.5% of his games this season.
- Basketball can be a simple game and the Celtics/Clippers game was a prime example. Of the active Clippers, only 36.4% of them turned the ball over, while 90.9% of active Celtics did so.
- The Wizards rode Jordan Crawford and his season high 27 points to a rare victory. The third year pro is averaging 17.5 FGA in Washington’s four victories, roughly a 34% increase over his average shot total in losses.
- In December, Chris Bosh has scored 20+ points in three of Miami’s four losses but has done so in 0 of Miami’s nine wins.
- Ryan Anderson took advantage of the Raptors playing without Andrea Bargnani by matching a season high with 12 rebounds. While it is good to see the 6’10” power forward be a force on the glass, the Hornets have dropped six consecutive games in which he has amassed at least 10 rebounds. Oddly enough, Anderson’s team had won the previous seven such games.
- Tony Parker paced the Spurs with a season high 31 points against the Rockets. San Antonio has eclipsed 100 points in nine of the last ten games in which Parker has recorded double digit assists, averaging 111.6 points in those games. Three of those games have come against Houston, with Parkers PA (points + assist) totaling at least 37 each time.
- The Utah Jazz scored 66 points in two quarters and lost by two while the Brooklyn Nets scored 64 points in three quarters and won by 16.
- Players given the “center” label by ESPN scored 41 points on 70.4% shooting from the field for the Hawks against the Pacers. In contrast, Indian’s centers 13 points on 33.3% shooting.
- Somebody break up the Toronto Raptors. They have won seven of eight and are averaging 101 points over that span. The Raptors had more assists (33) than points scored in the paint (32) in their largest victory since 1997. Toronto’s guards had 28 of those assists and turned the ball over only four times.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves have won six straight games when Alexey Shved’s PA (points + assists) is at least 21. For the season, they are 7-1 in such games and 7-12 in all other games.
- The Celtics were dismantled by the Warriors tonight in large part due to the absence of their playmaking point guard. Boston’s starting guards averaged 40 minutes and 1.5 assists against Golden State: Rajon Rondo averages 12.4 assists per 40 minutes.
- Serge Ibaka is a shot blocking machine but he is much more than that. He has improved his perimeter game, making him an offensive threat in an already loaded lineup. He knocked down all five of his free throws against the Rockets tonight and OKC improved to 16-1 in the last 17 games in which Ibaka has made all of his free throws (minimum one attempt).
- O.J. Mayo struggled in a big way during the first week with Dirk Nowitzki back in the fold, totaling 27 points on 32% shooting from the field (14% from three). When Nowitzki was dressed in street clothes, Mayo had six games of at least 27 points.
- DeMarcus Cousins matched the team’s starting point guard (Isaiah Thomas) with 15 assists and four turnovers this week despite playing one fewer game. The Kings won six of eight December games in which their controversial big man played at least 30 minutes.
- Ersan Ilyasova hasn’t turned the ball over in four straight games (88 minutes played) and has been assessed only nine turnovers in his last 19 games (430 minutes played).
- The Celtics have been outscored by 69 points since their Christmas day victory over the Nets (three losses). Boston’s cumulative point difference in their previous seven losses was 59.
- The Clippers won their 17th straight game but everyone knows that. Did you know that Lob City won it’s seventh consecutive game in which Blake Griffin has connected on one quarter or less of his free throws (minimum one free throw attempt).