The “Algebra” of NBA Over-time Competition, circa 2020
About a minute-and-a-half into Overtime last Monday in Minnesota, an old-fashioned three-point play by Sacramento backcourt man De’Aaron Fox pushed NBA OT scoring for the 2019-20 campaign to exactly 1,000 points … in reality, not a proportionally significant component (slightly over one-half of one percent) of the nearly 158,000 points that have been scored in the season’s first 98 “playing dates” and 712 games (through Wednesday’s play).
Craig Lassig, AP
Wednesday’s Pacers-Bulls encounter in Indiana was this year’s 46th OT contest, two of which have extended to a second session – adding up to 240 OT minutes, the equivalent of five 48-minute games.
Offense Working Overtime
The Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors produced the season’s highest-scoring OT period two weeks ago, a combined 39 points … despite three missed FT’s, the Nuggets’ 21 points represents the season high, while GSW’s 18 has been the highest scoring OT output in a losing effort.
The Nets and defending-champion Raptors have each lost in OT while scoring a paltry two points in the extra session. And back on Dec. 6, the Spurs and Kings combined to convert just five of 16 possessions, for a mere NINE points worth of post-regulation offensive output – San Antonio scored three points in its last two possessions to eke out the victory even though Sacramento had FOUR tries at a game-winning hoop on their final possession.
In their double-overtime thriller (?) the day after Christmas, neither the T’wolves nor Kings cracked double-figure scoring in either “extra five” – despite coming up empty on their final five possessions, Minnesota salvaged a one-point victory.
Curiously, homecourt has offered virtually no advantage (24-22) in OT games this season. The initial center-jump is a much better indicator of success, the team earning the first possession going 33-13 (.717).
Who Plays How Much?
Only the Orlando Magic have been able to elude extended-play completely, while eight teams (Boston, Houston, both LA’s, Memphis, Milwaukee, New York and Utah) have gone OT just once, four squads (Cleveland, Philadelphia, Portland and Washington) twice, and five more (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix) on three occasions.
The Thunder, Raptors, Pacers, Nuggets and Bobcats have played four OT games; the Dubs, Spurs, Pels and Kings five apiece; and the Nets (six OT’s), Heat (seven) and Timberwolves (eight) sit atop the charts.
Eight teams stand undefeated in OT play, most impressively Miami (7-0) and OKC (4-0). Cleveland and Portland (both 2-0) and one-timers New York, Memphis and “LA-squared” round out that field … San Antonio (4-1) and Minnesota (5-3) along with Denver and Indiana (both 3-1) are worthy of honorable mention.
Toronto and Charlotte stand 2-2, the Bulls and Suns 1-2, the Kings and Pelicans 2-3, Brooklyn is 2-4.
Steve Kerr’s struggling Warriors are winless in five OT attempts … Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit all 0-3; Philly and Washington 0-2; Boston, Houston, Milwaukee and Utah each stand 0-1.
Quality of Play
This season’s 240 OT minutes have resulted in 1040 points in 941 total possessions. The pressure of extended play causes overall FG shooting to drop about 14 percent (.457 to .421) and three-point accuracy to fall about 11 percent (.355 to .316) … usage of the three-ball increases by close to 10 percent in OT (.379 to .414). Overall “per-game” FGA’s drop about eight percent (88.9 to 88.1), as does the Pace of Play (about 101 per-game possessions to 94.1) – OT possessions have ranged from a low of seven (just once) to a high of 12 (six times)
And while success at the foul line decreases infinitesimally, “per-game” FT attempts elevate by FORTY PER CENT (the equivalent of 32.1 FTA’s per game vs. the league average of 23.9).
In Overtime play, 22 percent fewer turnovers are committed (14.6 to 11.4 “per game”) while Offensive Rebounds increase by almost 10 percent (.226 to .248, OR%).
Average “Game” Performance through 48 OT periods (240 minutes = 5 games)
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) – FT OR’s
“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions
“Stripes” calculation: 3FG’s – missed FTA’s
TS% = True Shooting Percentage
PPP = Points per Possession
CV% = Conversion Percentage
Abacus Revelation for the Road
Legendary UConn women’s hoop coach Geno Auriemma and the
late Kobe Bryant became pals at the 2012 Olympics in London, two Philly guys a
long way from home. Their friendship grew over time – in spite of Geno’s
certainly bogus bragging of having whipped up on Kobe’s dad “Jellybean” on the
playgrounds back in the day.
Gianna Bryant’s desire to play for Auriemma’s Huskies
certainly pleased her Dad, who once praised his pal’s approach to teaching the
game with these words:
way more important to teach players how to fish instead of telling them where
the fish are.”