A Strange Sunday Game, By the Numbers
Posted by Zach Lowe on Apr 25, 2010
First, the efficiency stats:
Pace: 89 possessions (slightly below average)
Offensive Efficiency: 103.3 points/100 possessions (bad)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.7 points allowed/100 possessions (bottom-10)
Not good, either way, and you really have to resist the temptation of the average NBA fan to ignore those 9 first-quarter turnovers just because the game was in the balance late. Those lost possessions matter—those unforced traveling violations, hesitant passes and reckless decisions in the first 12 minutes represent lost points and easy buckets for the bad guys.
The NBA cynic looks at a game like this and says, “Hey, more evidence that you only have to watch the last 2:00 of an NBA game.” But how do those last two minutes play out if the first 12 play out differently?
To wit: The C’s shot 49 3 percent from the floor. They went 28-10 in the regular season when they hit at least 49 percent of their shots. Do the non-shooting things a little better, and this is a W.
• Kendrick Perkins went scoreless for the second straight game. And while Perk is doing nice work embarrassing Jermaine O’Neal into a disastrous shooting performance, getting a goose-egg from your starting center over 60 minutes of playing time is not a good thing.
• Since the KG/Ray trades, Perk has been held scoreless seven times in the regular season and three times in the post-season, according to Basketball-Reference. The C’s are 7-3 in those games.
• Ray Allen was 2-of-5 (40 percent) from the foul line. As you might imagine, this is an extremely rare thing. Throughout his 14 seasons in the league, Ray Allen has hit fewer than 50 percent of his free attempts in a game just 59 times in the regular season and four times in the post season, according to Basketball-Reference.
But those numbers only hint at the rarity of Sunday’s 2-of-5 performance. In 39 of those 63 games (regular season and post-season), Ray has attempted either 1 or 2 free throws.
In how many of those games did Ray get up to 5 attempts and still hit fewer than 50 percent of them?
Three. Two in the regular season and Sunday in the playoffs.
Bad timing, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s all-time great game-icing foul shooter. Chalk it up as a fluke and move on.
• Perhaps the most important stat of the game: Dwyane Wade hit 5-of-7 (71 percent) from three-point range, including a perfect 4-of-4 over the first 5:49 of the 4th quarter. Those four three-pointers—plus three foul shots after another attempt on which Ray Allen allegedly fouled Wade—accounted for 15 of the 20 Miami points in a 20-5 Heat run to start the 4th quarter.
The shooting prompted lots of talk about how Wade has improved his form and worked to become a threat from three-point range.
This is partly true. As recently as 2008, Wade attempted just 77 threes all season. That’s a Rondo-esque number of attempts. This season? He attempted 243 threes—about 3 per game—and hit 30.0 percent of them. So Wade has managed to triple his number of three-point attempts without seeing his shooting percentage drop.
But that shooting percentage is still pretty bad. How bad? Well, 131 players made enough three-pointers to qualify for the three-point shooting title this season, according to ESPN.com. Of those 131 players, guess where Dwyane Wade’s 30 percent mark ranked?
That was good enough to put Wade one spot ahead of….
Rasheed Wallace. So Wade ranked one spot above the guy every NBA writer spent the entire season trashing for his shot selection and poor shooting percentages.
My point: An NBA team should generally be satisfied if Dwyane Wade is shooting contested threes. The C’s could have been more aggressive after D-Wade hit his first two threes of the 4th quarter on Sunday; they didn’t trap him until the halfway point of the quarter, and Sheed opted not to jump out as Wade dribbled around a screen just before launching one of those threes.
They could have done more.
But should they have done more? That’s a harder question, and one that comes down to whether you believe there is such a thing as a hot hand. If you do, you probably think Doc waited too long in the 4th to start running two guys at Wade every time he touched the ball.
If you don’t, you’re probably satisfied with the defense, and you’d probably point out that Carlos Arroyo (3-of-7), Mario Chalmers (3-of-7, with a huge three at the 9:51 mark of the 4th) and Michael Beasley (6-of-13, but much better when receiving the ball from Wade on screen/rolls) all showed the ability to hurt Boston if left wide open.
Me? I’m willing to live with Wade shooting contested threes—provided you contest them as planned. I’m not sure that happened on all four of those three-pointers. To the videotape!