## The Algebra of Tradition and Pride: C’s eke out clincher over historic rival

Simmons gets the ball in deep and … Marcus Smart steals it. Over to T-Ro. Marcus Smart stole the ball. It’s all over; it’s all over!

How fitting that this chapter of the Philadelphia Process should end in Turn-over, huh? Brett Brown’s boys racked up 1353 of them for the regular season. That’s 16.5 per game for a team whose Pace of Play calculates to 99.8 possessions – in other words, Philly squandered one of every six opportunities to score with a TO … the least sure-handed team in the NBA.

[Plea for Assistance: When it comes to TO%, I feel like the kind of student who can apply a formula to arrive at the “correct” answer, but has not the first clue as to it’s significance. (In school, that started happening to me with sines and secants in Trigonometry.) If there’s anyone in the community here that understands the reasoning behind the team TO% formula – why is it not simply the percentage of a team’s possessions lost to TO’s?]

In their Game 4 loss, Boston managed but three lousy points off 76er errors. That figure improved to 16 in Wednesday’s series-ender.

Summative Equation:

Bos – 57 Conversions + [-3 “Stripes”] {7 treys “minus” 10 missed FT’s “equals” -3 stripes}
Phil – 54 Conversions + [+1 “Stripe”] {8 treys “minus” 7 missed FT’s “equals” 1 stripe}
Expected Outcome -- +3 Conversions + [-4 Stripes] = C’s win by 2 points
Actual Score: Boston 114, Philadelphia 112

The Algebra of the Game

1st Quarter
FG: C’s – 10 - 23, .435 / Phil – 10 - 19, .526
3FG: C’s – 1 - 5, .200 / Phil – 1 - 3, .333
FT: C’s – 4 - 4, 1.000 [2] / Phil – 3 - 6, .500 [3]
TO: C’s – 2 / Phil – 5
OR: C’s – 3 + 0 (team) / Phil – 3 + 0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24 / Phil – 24
CV%: C’s – 12 / 24, .500 / Phil – 13 / 24, .542

While it doesn’t always succeed, ya gotta love Brad Stevens’s pro-active approach to situational substitution. Coach re-inserted Al Horford with 76er Ersan Ilyasova on the FT line and 29.6 seconds on the clock. Although the wily vet wound up missing a long trey, the Sixers were unable to get off a shot in their 3.3 seconds of ball ownership.

Coach Brown had clearly sent his boys out to “pound the paint.” Philly attempted only three three-pointers in Q1 while shooting over 50% from the field. Such an approach, while reasonably successful, didn’t seem instinctive to them. On one trip down the floor, Marcus Morris got stuck guarding Joel Embiid with plenty of shot-clock remaining. The ball never found big Joel.

2nd Quarter
FG: C’s – 13 - 21, .619 / Phil – 13 - 23, .565
3FG: C’s – 3 - 4, .750 / Phil – 1 – 5, .200
FT: C’s – 7 - 9, .778 [4] / Phil – 1 - 1, 1.000 [0]
TO: C’s – 1 / Phil – 3
OR: C’s – 1 + 0 (team) / Phil – 2 + 0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 25 / Phil – 25
CV%: C’s – 17 / 25, .391 / Phil – 13 / 25, .583

In less than one minute of “game” time (8:14 to 7:16), both Jalen Brown and Jayson Tatum went coast-to-coast for lay-ups. Brown’s foray should have infuriated Coach Brown as it followed a made FG.

During their 19 – 6 scoring spree to close Q2, the C’s converted nine of their final 11 possessions.

3rd Quarter
FG: C’s – 6 - 20, .429 / Phil – 8 - 17, .393
3FG: C’s – 2 - 7, .333 / Phil – 2 - 4, .400
FT: C’s – 8 - 12, .500 [5] / Phil – 12 - 16, 1.000 [7]
TO: C’s – 6 / Phil – 5
OR: C’s – 4 + 2 (team) / Phil – 3 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 25 / Phil – 25
CV%: C’s – 11 / 25, .440 / Phil – 15 / 25, .600

The mental conditioning of years-long purposeful underachievement was seeping into Philly’s play here. Floor leader Ben Simmons kicked out a point-blank look to a teammate at the three-point line. The problem was that the 24-second clock expired before the pass reached the teammate.

Coach Brown turned to rugged Justin Anderson, who’d contributed but six minutes of court time to Games 1 – 4. The three-minute experiment produced one steal and two personal fouls. (It seemed to me that Anderson’s largest contribution to this series was his bench barking.)

The piece de resistance was when JJ Redick collided with Embiid (I think), resulting in an early Turnover.

4th Quarter
FG: C’s – 9 - 21, .429 / Phil – 9 - 23, .391
3FG: C’s – 1 - 4, .250 / Phil – 4 - 9, .444
FT: C’s – 12 - 16, .750 [8] / Phil – 8 - 8, 1.000 [4]
TO: C’s – 2 / Phil – 4
OR: C’s – 5 + 0 (team) / Phil – 4 + 0 (team)
Poss: C’s – 26 / Phil – 27
CV%: C’s – 17 / 26, .654 / Phil – 13 / 27, .481

Boston induced four Philly team fouls in Q4’s first 1:57 – and took exactly twice as many FTA’s during that crucial 12 minutes.

On back-to-back mid-quarter possession, Horford conjured up the ghosts of Celtics past in the course of tripling a two-point lead. First, he pulled the famous Dave Cowens baseline, drop-step move for a reverse lay-up, then channeled his inner Sam Jones with a mid-range bank shot. (Would you be surprised if I mentioned that these possessions immediately followed a Brad Stevens Time-out?)

Full Game
FG: C’s – 38 - 85, .447 / Phil – 40 - 82, .488
3FG: C’s – 7 - 20, .350 / Phil – 8 - 21, .381
FT: C’s – 31 - 41, .756 [19] / Phil – 24 - 31, .774 [14]
TO: C’s – 11 / Phil – 17
OR: C’s – 13 + 2 (team) / Phil – 12 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 100 / Phil – 100
CV%: C’s – 57 / 100, .570 / Phil – 54 / 100, .540

Note re Calculations:
The number of “possessions” is an accurate count, not a formula-based estimated value.

For purposes of clarity, the bracketed digit following the FT% is the exact count of “conversions” represented by those FTA’s.

“Possessions” calculation: FGA’s + FT conversions + TO’s – OR’s (including Team OR’s)

“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions