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Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
For its 48 minutes of work the other night, one NBA team, though out-rebounded, posted a superior FG% and committed two-thirds as many Turnovers as its opponent. This squad connected on more treys, missed fewer free throws, and consequently earned more stripes.

But somehow, from the 4:28 point of Q1 until the 7:11 point of Q4, that same team did not execute a single offensive possession on which they could have assumed the lead in the game.

Indeed that team, the Portland Trailblazers, never led last Thursday evening, falling 137 – 129 to the Bucks in Milwaukee.

This Blazer showing is one of the 100 times (through 250 games) when a team has had both more successful treys as well as fewer FT misses than the other guys – so, of course, more stripes, too. But on 31 occasions, that team ended up losing the game.

Portland similarly lost to the Clippers in LA earlier this month … most troubling for Coach Terry Stotts is that each time the winners were playing the second night of a back-to-back.

Back-to-Backs

Second-nighters have played .500 ball (11 – 11) against rested teams at home but are 9 – 25 on the road. Oddly, the road team has won six of the nine matchups when both sides are facing a back-end.

The South Beach Shuffle

In each of the past three seasons, the Miami Heat have teased their fanbase with a stretch of superior showmanship amidst an overall pretty pedestrian performance. Check out their win-loss records by six-week spans:

‘18-19: Wks 1-6, (7-13, .350); Wks 7-12, (12-7, .632); Wks 13-18, (7-13, .350); Wks 19-24, (13-10, .565)
‘17-18: Wks 1-6, (10-10, .500); Wks 7-12, (14-7, .667); Wks 13-18, (8-12, .400); Wks 19-24, (12-9, .571)
‘16-17: Wks 1-6, (7-13, .350); Wks 7-12, (4-17, .190); Wks 13-18, (17-3, .850); Wks 19-24, (13-8, .619)

Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post
(Notice that Miami’s 2016-17 season displays perfect symmetry – 11-30 for the first half, 30-11 for the second.)

Spoelstra’s Steeds have broken well from the box and run smoothly through the first leg of this year’s Silver Sweepstakes (12-4 through 35 days). Let’s see how they handle the First Curve.


Week 5 for the Green Team


Boston - 299

FG: C’s – 112-270, .415
3FG: C’s – 26-102, .255
FT: C’s – 49-60, .817 [27 conversions]
TS%: C’s – .504
OR: C’s – 34 + 13 (team) [minus 0 FT rebounds]
DR: C’s – 97 + 6 (team) [minus 7 FT rebounds]
TO: C’s – 39 + 4 (team)
Poss: C’s – 293 {154 “Empty”}
PPP: C’s – 1.020
CV%: C’s – 139 conversions / 293 possessions, .474
Stripes: C’s – +15 [+7.5 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: C’s – 146.5 conversions / 293, .500 {expected production, 293 points}


Opponent- 305

FG: Opp – 115-260, .442
3FG: Opp – 42-120, .350
FT: Opp – 33-44, .750 [20 conversions]
TS%: Opp – .546
OR: Opp – 33 + 12 (team) [minus 0 FT rebounds]
DR: Opp – 104 + 6 (team) [minus 3 FT rebounds]
TO: Opp – 54 + 4 (team)
Poss: Opp – 293 {158 “Empty”}
PPP: Opp – 1.041
CV%: Opp – 135 conversions / 293 possessions, .461
Stripes: Opp – +31 [+15.5 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: Opp – 150.5 conversions / 293 possessions, .514 {expected production, 301 points}


The Simplest of Metrics

For the season’s first 35 days and 250 games (thru Mon.), the average team shot FG’s at a .454 clip, worked the offensive glass for a .225 Offensive Rebounding Percentage, and kicked the ball away at a .135 Turnover Percentage.

If we credit a team for its shooting and rebounding prowess then penalize for TO’s, we can generate this little equation: .454 + .225 - .135 = .544. (Note: I typically ignore the decimal points when manipulating this particular Aba-metric.)

I’ve dubbed this the SPOR-t Score – Shooting Plus Offensive Rebounds (minus) turnovers.

Last season, OKC produced a regular-season SPOR-t score of 597 (No. 3), its opponents 534 (No. 3) … the Thunder’s differential of +63 was league-best. Boston’s +22 was tied with the Raptors for No. 10.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Currently, Boston’s SPOR-t equation is .441 + .213 - .113 = .541, Opponents .428. + .237 - .144 = .521, the differential being + 20. (Note: After three weeks, the C’s +24 ranked No. 9 – the Sixers were on top at +80.)

Last season, Phoenix was dead last (-96) but has improved to No. 8 (+32) for the opening three weeks while the stumbling Blazers have slipped from No. 4 (+44) to No. 15 (-6).

This simple differential is another of the four criteria I use in my totally data-based (i.e. no subjective judgment) Power Rankings formula.


Abacus Revelation for the Road

Did I really hear an NBATV panel the other night discussing the merits of scrapping the draft lottery and replacing it with a single-elimination tournament among the non-playoff qualifiers in which the top selections in the up-coming draft would be earned on the court – by actually winning games?

Nobody seemed to think much of the crazy notion when I argued in favor of it in a post two years ago.

Abacus Reveals 11/27/2019 12:32:00 AM Edit
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