Stats Notes: Spurs Thrive On Both Ends


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Behind another big game from Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs took it to the Los Angeles Clippers, 116-90, in L.A. on Thursday.

The Spurs are now 6-1 on their rodeo trip and 25-4 over the last two months. More important is that they’re an improved defensive team. After ranking 11th in defensive efficiency last season, the Spurs rank third this year, allowing just 98.4 points per 100 possessions.

Also ranking fourth in offensive efficiency, San Antonio is the only team in the top five on both ends of the floor. The Clippers (seventh and seventh), Heat (first and ninth) and Thunder (second and eighth) are the only other teams that rank in the top 10 both offensively and defensively.

Success on both ends of the floor is the the (obvious) key to title contention. Over the last 14 seasons, only two teams that didn’t rank in the top 10 both offensively and defensively won a championship. They were the 2010 Lakers, who ranked 11th offensively and sixth defensively, and the 2004 Pistons, who ranked 18th offensively and second defensively. L.A. was the defending champion and Detroit added Rasheed Wallace at the trade deadline.

But ranking in the top five on both ends isn’t a guarantee of postseason success. Of the last 10 teams to finish on both ends, only two — the 2007 Spurs and 2009 Lakers — won the championship. Two others — the 2007 Mavs and 2012 Bulls — didn’t make it out of the first round.

Last 10 teams, top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency

Season Team W L OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank Playoffs
2011-12 Chicago 50 16 104.5 5 95.3 1 Lost in first round
2010-11 Miami 58 24 109.3 3 100.7 5 Lost in Finals
2009-10 Orlando 59 23 109.5 2 100.2 2 Lost in conf. finals
2008-09 Cleveland 66 16 109.7 4 99.4 3 Lost in conf. finals
2008-09 L.A. Lakers 65 17 109.8 3 101.9 5 Won championship
2006-07 Dallas 67 15 108.5 2 100.6 5 Lost in first round
2006-07 San Antonio 58 24 106.7 5 97.4 2 Won championship
2005-06 Detroit 64 18 107.7 3 100.2 5 Lost in conf. finals
2004-05 Miami 59 23 108.2 2 99.8 5 Lost in conf. finals
2000-01 San Antonio 58 24 104.7 3 94.9 1 Lost in conf. finals

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Here are some more notes from digging through

The same, but different
The Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies rank No. 1 and No. 2 in defensive efficiency. Offensively, they’re both pretty mediocre, with the Grizz ranking 19th and the Pacers ranking 21st. They’re both in the bottom six in pace, as well. From an overall numbers standpoint, they may be the two most similar teams in the league.

But from quarter to quarter, there’s a big difference between the two teams. The Pacers are the league’s most consistent team from period to period, while the Grizzlies are the most inconsistent.

Indiana is basically mediocre offensively and strong defensively, no matter what part of the game it is.

Pacers efficiency, quarter by quarter

Period OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
1st quarter 99.5 24 95.9 3 +3.6 11
2nd quarter 99.6 22 96.8 3 +2.8 11
3rd quarter 100.6 20 94.8 2 +5.9 7
4th quarter 101.5 18 95.2 1 +6.3 5

NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Memphis, meanwhile, has been much better on both ends of the floor in the second and third quarters

Grizzlies efficiency, quarter by quarter

Period OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
1st quarter 98.9 25 102.1 13 -3.2 21
2nd quarter 106.8 8 95.7 1 +11.2 2
3rd quarter 102.0 14 92.5 1 +9.5 3
4th quarter 95.8 29 101.0 10 -5.3 24

The league’s most anemic lineup
The Wizards rank last in offensive efficiency, scoring just 95.3 points per 100 possessions this season. Amazingly, they were much worse than that with Jordan Crawford on the floor. In Crawford’s 1,127 minutes on the floor, Washington scored a brutal 90.7 points per 100 possessions. In his 1,404 minutes on the bench, they scored a somewhat more respectable 99.1.

But that had a lot to do with who Crawford played his minutes with, or rather who he didn’t play his minutes with. Just 113 of those 1,127 minutes (10 percent) were played with John Wall, and just 341 (30 percent) were played with Nene.

The Wizards’ most-used lineup with Crawford on it (the fifth lineup on this list) had him running the point with Bradley Beal and Martell Webster on the wings, along with Chris Singleton and Emeka Okafor up front. It scored an amazingly brutal 67.8 points per 100 possessions in 68 minutes of floor time. No lineup around the league has been nearly as bad offensively.

Clutch KG?
In case you missed it on Wednesday, we looked at Joe Johnson‘s incredible success in the final minute of close games this season. It’s no surprise that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are the leading scorers in standard clutch time (last five minutes with a point differential of five points or less), but Kevin Garnett at No. 3?

Well, no team has been in more tight situations than the Celtics, who have played 179 minutes of clutch time this season. They played only 117 last year.


  1. magicmike says:

    once again people counting out the Spurs. and once again Lakers hopefools are believing Kobe will shoot their way to Fakersland. Spurs are for real this year, OKC I admit is the biggest threat in the west but I believe in the old reliable Spurs to get it all this time.

  2. Patrick says:

    They thrive right now. Spurs are a great team, but let’s be realistic, come play off time, they will choke like they have in past seasons. its the same old story with them. They have a great record during the regular season, then bow out in the second round or semis of the play offs. They dont have enough juice or talent to get to the promised land. TD is not 25yrs old anymore. They cannot keep up with the likes of OKC, Clips, Heat or the Lakers for that matter. It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters, and come play offs, the Spurs cannot finish

    • dattebayo says:

      Seriously, where do you people crawl from with these lines? You wanna tell me the Clippers or Lakers are a serious contenders for the title? With their one trick ponies, that don’t get it done during the postseason? Lakers will miss the playoffs and if the Clippers have to play the Warriors in the 1st round, they will be going fishing after 5 games.

      The Spurs are good enough to come out of the West, they are not done yet. There is a reason, why they are the best regular season team for years, they are that good…

      • Patrick says:

        @ dattebayo

        Bro, even IF ( and that’s a big IF ) the Spurs make it to the conference finals, there is no way on earth, they will get past OKC. KD & Westbrook will run rings around these old timers.
        All i gotta say is, look at their recent play off record…..

  3. Kinantot ko asawa ni Kobe says:

    No disrespect on the Warriors but, They beat the spurs because they we’re 8 officials playing against TIM DUNCAN and TONY PARKER…. Or should I say the SPURS get beaten by a bunch of cheer leaders…. Lols…. What happen to their jersey??? I guess they are lucky because the jersey was yellow in color… Imagine If the SPURS wearing gray colored sleeved jersey???

  4. MathSimon says:


  5. theholyspectator says:

    spurs are not winning another title, their time is done..just being realistic here

  6. Soubiperr says:

    That’s crazy cos i’m french, i met Tony Parker on a playground when we were like 12 yo in Canteleu, 76, FR (he killed us already 1 on 5, olders we were) but i’ve never been a “blinded fan” of Tony. But right now, even after his Finals MVP title, even after his rings, i couldn’t even imagine someone like Chuck going for him for MVP. So, i’m just proud of him right now and wanted to share this. I’d still think there’s other guys in the League deserving the MVP title more than him, but watching what Tony does in this team while playing less minutes than many of the bets NBA players, and these crazies FG% over his career (the guy is a PG shooting over .480 the last 9 seasons) just made me want to say him Congratulations and Keep representing France (and Rouen) this way.

  7. vajj says:

    the same situation last year…..

  8. Salomon Jose says: