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Weekly Stats Recap

US Presswire

Every week I will be releasing my findings from a unique week long statistical review, but starting this upcoming week, we will be asking for your help. Last week I took a look at AST% and its impact on the final outcome, and this past week I studied free throw attempts, in an effort to determine if home teams are getting the benefit of the call. Tweet me @unSOPable23 your best idea for a stat that you’d like me to study and I’ll spend the week researching your statistic. It can be anything: fantasy basketball, betting lines, home/road splits, average size of leading scorer, or anything else your heart desires. It can be a serious statistic or a goofy trend that you think may be correlated to success/failure: the choice is yours. The decision as to what stat will be researched will be tweeted out Tuesday morning, so make sure to get your suggestion in before then.

For the last seven days, I took a look at the number of free throws attempted by home and road teams. I also broke this study into winning and losing teams, to account for more variables. Finally, I charted how many free throws were made, to see if there was a considerable difference when playing at home. Over the 51 games this week, home teams shot 82 more free throws (1.61 more per game). While many NBA games are close, this difference was nullified by road teams shooting a better percentage (77.1% to 75.2%). That means that the average NBA home team outscored the average road team by 0.76 points per game from the free throw line, hardly the difference that is typically associated with “home court advantage”. Home teams were under .500 in games decided by five or fewer points, meaning that the average difference in points earned at the stripe rarely impacted the final score. Disclaimer: this was an odd week in the fact that road teams won 26 of 51 games this week, a trend that isn’t standard.

Now your weekly stats recap:


- The Raptors and Jazz played a thrilling triple overtime game, allowing DeMar DeRozan to continue to fire shots. It took him 33 shots to score his game high 37 points while the Raptors other four starters tallied 54 points on 39 shots.

- Add the Heat/Rockets game to the Jazz/Raptors game and you got a glimpse of what the NBA is becoming. The players are getting bigger, faster, and stronger, which has resulted in players of all sizes stepping behind the three point line. There were 42 made three pointers in these two games, 25 of them by a player standing at least 6’8”.

- Say what you will, but talent wins out in the end in the NBA. The Thunder didn’t have a single player take three or more shots and shoot better than 44.4% from the field against the Pistons while Detroit had six players do so. The Thunder still found a way to win the game because they made plays when it counted down the stretch.

- James Harden is no longer with OKC, but he caught the poor shooting bug that nearly doomed his former team. He connected on 28/44 shots for 82 points in his first two games as a member of Houston but has made just 29/88 for 99 points in his last five games.

- J.J. Hickson dominated the Hawks on the glass, recording more offensive rebounds (7) than the entire Atlanta roster (6). In other words, Hickson averaged one offensive rebound every 4.7 minutes played while the Hawks average an O-board every 40 minutes. Hickson has now snagged at least eight rebounds in 15 straight games (minimum of 24 minutes played).


- We’ve had some great performances by “big twos” and “big threes”, but the Cavs/Nets game was unlike anything I can remember. Five players (Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Anderson Varejao, and Kyrie Irving) combined for 143 of the 215 total points scored (66.5%). Both Cleveland players recorded career high point totals, while the Nets players all scored between 23 and 26 points. For reference, the Raptors/Pacers combined to score 146 total points.

- Theoretically, the offseason moves for the Lakers were supposed to take some of the pressure off of Kobe Bryant. Against the Spurs, Bryant made 12/19 shots while the other four starters made 12/38.

- You’ve got “textbook” ways to win games, and then there is what the Trailblazers did tonight. They made 14 fewer two point baskets, were outscored by 26 points in the paint, and turned the ball over more than their opponent: they won going away, 103-86. Further proof of just how valuable the three point shot is, as the Blazers were +39 from behind the arc.

- J.R. Smith continued his hot shooting, and is now shooting 72.2% from deep. Before you deem him the sixth man of the year or an all star, take a look at his career numbers. Coming into this season, Smith was a 36.89% three point shooter for his career, and has been notably streaky. Remember his five game stretch last season when he missed 23 of 26 attempts from downtown? I trust eight  years of data more than five games.

-  Deron Williams played his best game as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, tallying 26 points, 10 assists, and only 3 turnovers. He shot 64.3% from inside the arc and looked like the elite point guard that he is. That being said, the Nets were outscored by seven points during the 36 minutes he was on the court, but outscored the Cavs by 20 with their All-Star on the pine.


- The Bobcats starting lineup is constantly influx, and they went with a remarkably young lineup tonight. Four of their starters had combined for 71 NBA starts before they got the nod against the Timberwolves. The fifth starter was journeyman and 0 time All-Star Brendan Haywood. The same Haywood who has more career personal fouls than blocks + steals + assists. Try to wrap your head around the fact that this was Haywood’s 537th career start.

- The Warriors proved that production from your starters can be overrated, as four of their five starters had a negative plus/minus ratio against the Hawks. As a group, the starting unit totaled a -7 plus/minus, but they managed to win thanks to their bench recording a cumulative +27 ratio. An amazing 83% of bench players recorded a positive ratio while only 20% of starters did so.

- It’s not how you start but how you finish. Really? Teams that won tonight were outscored by a total of 66 points (6.6 points per game) in the fourth quarter.

- “Free” throws are supposed to reward the offense for being aggressive. Missed free throws, however, are essentially turnovers, and the Timberwolves found a unique way to lose to the Bobcats tonight. They missed more free throws (17) than three teams attempted.

- The Phoenix Suns used to play under the impression that more shots means more points, but the NBA could be shifting from quantity to quality. Teams that attempted fewer FG’s won 70% of the games played today.


- Carmelo Anthony was held under 10 points; something you’d assume would be directly correlated with his team losing. Not so much. His team is now 5-3 the last eight times in which he recorded a single figure point total.

- Raymond Felton poured in 25 points in San Antonio, giving him his highest two game scoring output (46 points) since a 50 point stretch in March 2009.

- The Boston Celtics guards managed a mere 11 assists with Rajon Rondo sidelined, something they rarely do when he is healthy. In fact, Rondo has averaged more than 11 assists over his last 141 games.

- The Brooklyn Nets are working on a “big three” of their own, at least for one night any way. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson took 58.8% of their team’s shots from the field while Miami’s “big two” plus their next highest shot taker (Norris Cole took Dwyane Wade’s place due to injury) took 58.4% of the Heat’s shots.

- The Nuggets starters took 48 shots for 53 points and made one three pointer. The Nuggets bench took 40 shots for 40 points and five three pointers. The days of depth may not be dead yet, as the reserves saved the day with a cumulative +24 plus/minus ratio, an amazing 73 points higher than the starting five.


- What a difference a year makes in the OKC @ NO game. The top three shot takers for the Hornets and the leading shot taker for the Thunder weren’t a member of their team last season.

- The Pistons weren’t a great team last season, but they capitalized on their strong offensive nights. After finishing last season by winning the last five games in which they totaled at least 100 points, they have lost their first two such games this season.

-  Further proof that bad teams find a way to lose, or that good teams find a way to win, was the point disparity in the paint in the OKC/DET game. The Pistons followed the game plan and pounded the rock, scoring 60.4% of their points in the paint. They kept the Thunder from getting easy baskets (27.3% of their points came in the paint), but still lost.

- Paul Millsap has four games with at least two 3PTM this year (nine games) after having only two in the first 462 games in his career.

-  I touched on the notion of “big three’s” earlier, and man, no team relied more on three players than the Blazers (vs Houston) today. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Damian Lillard shot 33/56 from the field for 91 points, including eight three pointers and even seven blocked shots. The Mavericks (@ Indiana), as a team, shot 30/81 for 83 points, made only two triples and blocked five shots.


- James Harden has been very good this season (25.4 ppg), but he hasn’t been overly efficient. Six times in 10 games this season Harden has shot under 39% from the field. Also in six of 10 games, The Beard has registered more turnovers than assists.

- Kwame Brown has started three games in a row, and has two field goals to show for his efforts. I can’t recall the last time I saw this stat line from a starting player: 0 shots, 0 free throws, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 3 personal fouls. He didn’t set the bar very high, scoring four points in his first start this season, but his scoring has decreased with every start this season.

- To conclude a week in which the Nets had an impressive performance (Thursday) by their big guns, their bench saved the day. They shot 77.3% on two point field goals, led by Andray Blatche’s 11/12 effort.

- Kevin Durant played himself a game, recording the first triple double of his impressive young career. But we knew he was good. How bout Kevin Martin? The ex-Rocket has scored at least 15 points 82% of games this season and has buried a three pointer in each one of those games.

- Rajon Rondo is a great passer, but when it comes to shooting, he can’t throw a stone in the ocean … right? His shot selection has fit his skill set this season, and he has made at least 62.5% of his field goal attempts in five of 10 games this season.

  • boyer

    It’s much easier being a 3rd wheel than the main guy. Houston will likely be worse this year than last year. Even with Harden’s first 2 games, which almost certainly will be far from the norm for him, his shooting pct. are way down from last year. Defenses can key on him now. He is now sitting more when the opps’ 2nd unit is in instead of taking better advantage to enhance stats when he came off the bench, and his minutes are up. He’s a borderline AS, solid player, but certainly not some foundational player like Morey is asserting. The thunder might be worse this year last year, might, minimally if they are, but they are much better off in the long run. Nobody gives max money to a 3rd wheel who’s never made the AS team. Miami is the only team who has given max money to 3 players, and that’s only because they gutted their entire team, which barely allowed them to.

    • Ian Levy

      I think Harden will continue to get better. He’s continuing to take good shots, albeit difficult ones because the defense is geared towards stopping him. He may not be the type of player who can carry this bad a roster to playoff contention, but as their young players continue to develop and they add some more complementary players around him I think he will move more towards the efficiency he displayed in OKC.

      • boyer

        Well, it’s hard to get much worse, efficiency wise. I, like most people, won’t bash him for shooting too much, because that’s exactly what his team needs. He’s not a worse player than he was last year, in fact, he’s probably better, even though his pct. don’t indicate this. Just kind of funny how nobody bashes him for his abysmal shooting pct. like they would other players. Morey has yet to show he knows what he’s doing. He now thinks he has ‘steals’ in Lin(who he released previously), Asik, and Harden. That’s 3 of your 5 starters. They have a decent supporting cast, but he’s delusional to think any ‘real’ star is going to play 2nd fiddle to Harden. OKC will be better off in the long run, or even short run. It’s going to be hard for Houston to throw around much money after giving Lin, Asik, and Harden huge contracts last offseason.

        • Ian Levy

          You’re right that it may be hard for them to sign another piece to go with Harden. But they still have tradable assets. Motiejunas, Jones, Patterson, White and even Lin are all intriguing pieces that could help them bring something worthwhile back.

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