The Algebra of the Game: Overtime & the 3FG
This “seasonal” data is virtually identical to the league figures from the ’18-19 campaign – indeed, the OR and TO numbers as well as the shooting rates vary very little from the data of TEN years ago.
Exactly 330 of those 40-some thousand minutes of NBA competition this season occurred after the conclusion of Q4. On 61 occasions, a ballgame extended into Overtime, five of them requiring a second session to determine a winner.
To what extent, do you suppose, does the “quality” of OT play compare to performance in the First 48? Legendary players – the studs – tend to “step it up” under such circumstances, but most players … hmm?
The added pressure of OT drops FG% to .414 and 3FG accuracy to .305, while 3FG usage rises to .402. On average, a team commits 1.2 Turnovers and grabs 1.4 Offensive Rebounds per-OT period (which converts to roughly 11.5 TO’s and 13.5 OR’s per-48 minutes).
Curiously, familiar surroundings have absolutely no effect on FG shooting once OT kicks in. Home teams made 230 of 555 FGA’s, visitors 233 of 563 (.414 in each case) … hardly a surprise, then, that the locals were just 33-28 (.540). [For the partial season, overall Home Court Advantage calculated to .551 (535-436).]
Winning teams committed 74 Turnovers, the losers just 11 more; and those losers won the Offensive Rebounding battle 95-94 … but the victorious side held whopping advantages in Points off TO’s (120-62) and Second-chance Points (128-63). Add in a more than 2-to-1 edge in FT’s (244-98), FTA’s (310-133) and Free-throw Conversions (142-60). [TO’s, OR’s and FT’s account for 269 of the 301-point scoring difference between OT winners and losers.]
The victorious posted 1.318 Points-per-Possession, the vanquished 0.848. Consequently, in shooting accuracy, the winners’ FG% was .505 to the losers’ .334 -- .443 to .211 from 3-point-land.
Losing squads took 44.7 percent of their shots from behind the arc, compared to a 35.0 percent “long-bomb” rate for their opponents.
Playoff Pressure + Overtime = ??
OT play in recent NBA Post-seasons has indeed provided us a few thrills – in a variety of ways. Just last season, Portland and Denver staged a four-OT marathon in Game 3 of their Conference Semi-Final … while during the opening round in 2014, the Thunder and Grizzlies needed an extra session to determine a winner in FOUR of their seven match-ups, while the Blazers and Rockets went to OT in three of their six outings.
During the post-seasons of the 2010’s, 53 games needed OT, producing 63 extra sessions. Here’s the cumulative data:
FG: 417-1058: .394
3FG: 82-338: .243
FT: 309-393: .786 [177 FT Conversions]
TO: 168 [-191 points]
OR: 185 + 28 (team) [+215 points]
DR: 394 + 47 (team)
Points: 1225 [1.030 per possession]
The Algebra of NBA Over-time Competition, circa 2020
NBA Playoffs Thru the Years: The How's and Why's
It takes some balls to shoot THAT many threes