Stats preview: Cavs at Warriors


VIDEO: GameTime previews the matchup between the Cavs and the Warriors

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the league’s five-game Christmas Day slate with a key stat for each team, along with an explanation of what it means. Here’s a look at the day’s marquee game and a rematch of the 2015 Finals, Cleveland at Golden State (5 p.m. ET, ABC).

Cleveland Cavaliers (19-7)

The stat: The Cavs have been 10.9 points per 100 possessions better in the second half than they’ve been in the first half, the biggest differential in the league.

20151224_cle_by_half

20151224_cle_basicsThe Cavs have been somewhat mediocre in the first half, outscoring their opponents by just 23 points over 26 games. (Their Christmas opponent, by contrast, is a plus-215 in the first half.) Cleveland has had the lead at halftime in just 12 of the 26 and has twice trailed the 1-30 Philadelphia 76ers at the half.

They’ve been particularly bad, scoring 86 points per 100 possessions and getting outscored by 10, in the last six minutes of the first quarter. Not coincidentally, that’s the segment of the first half when LeBron James is least likely to be on the floor.

But the Cavs turn things around really quickly out of the locker room, outscoring their opponents by almost 24 points per 100 possessions in the first six minutes of the third quarter. They typically suffer another dip in the last six minutes of the third (when James goes to the bench again), but have been the best fourth quarter team in the league, when they’ve allowed just 93.0 points per 100 possessions.

The return of Kyrie Irving (he’s played the last two games after sitting out the first 24) could change up the Cavs’ by-half numbers. He could help them get out to faster starts and/or keep the offense afloat when James sits down. But it’s also fair to ask if the fourth quarter defense will be as good when he’s on the floor closing games.

More Cavs notes from NBA.com/stats

Golden State Warriors (27-1)

The stat: The Warriors have scored 11.0 more points per 100 possessions than the league average, the biggest differential since the league started counting turnovers in 1977.

20151224_gsw_offrtg_diff

20151224_gsw_basicsThe champs ranked second in offensive efficiency last season, and they’re the fourth most improved offensive team this year. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have somehow shot better than they did a year ago, and so have Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Green has also evolved into the league’s best playmaker at the power forward position. He leads the league’s best offense and ranks seventh in the league with 7.1 assists per game. Defenses have no choice but to aggressively defend Curry on pick-and-rolls, and when they do, Green makes them pay on 4-on-3 situations.

The Warriors have the best offense in the first half, in the second half, in home games, in road games, on the second night of back-to-backs (113.9 points scored per 100 possessions) and in games with at least one day of rest (112.8).

Last season’s Warriors were, statistically, the best team since Michael Jordan‘s Bulls. This season’s Warriors have been better.

More Warriors notes from NBA.com/stats

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Data curated by PointAfter

12 Comments

  1. Jane Rich says:

    Don’t say nothing until 10 0 clock .

  2. I am forced to concur.

  3. johnnytc1 says:

    i just saw da kings interview. there is a man with no confidence knowing he’s about to get his butt handed too him and knowing they are no where near a championship. yes king, you’re right it’s not the end of the season…. but really it is…. its no difference between you and the 76’ers you won’t win the big one…… Again….

  4. johnnytc1 says:

    Yes, you got it right! Does anyone know if da king is playing today? He might be tired. With those HUGE wins against the 76ers and BKN i thought he might not make the trip to GS. king, you just didn’t bring enough talent from south beach to beat a half a dozen teams. it will be a fun game to watch today. since it’s Christmas there will be no balding, flopping whining, traveling etc jokes….

  5. Lisa Noble says:

    For all the haters around the league, the 15-16 season is still young and LBJ is still the best player on the planet! All “basketball” things are possible with LBJ and the guys of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I may actually feel a little sad for the world Champions, -NOT!

    Go Cavs! All for One and One for All!

  6. Jd says:

    I agree, I have heard some Cavs Placer saying how much they are looking forward to tomorrow’s game. Win or lose it is just one game in a long season.
    But no matter the outcome, “The King is Dead. Long Live The King”

  7. Theothis Allison says:

    The Warriors are the best team in basketball,everybody knows it including the Cavs. Give credit were credit is due. Theyre that dam good.And Mr Curry deserved that MVP, and should be consirederd for it this year also

    • Tyrese Johnson says:

      The warrior is one the easiest championship of all time everyone was injured it was a walk in the park I don’t talk off emotion I talk facts.

    • Eder Santos says:

      Curry is better this year so just hand him the trophy already. He’s unbelievable.

    • Eder Santos says:

      I didn’t think Curry had it in him to play better than he did last year when he won the MVP. Boy,was I wrong! Just hand him the damn trophy already! He’s unbelievable.

    • eross says:

      Right now you are correct. GSW opened this season with a storm. They are better than the Cavs, and will probably win tonight . But now is not what matters. The Cavs are a team on the mend. The game against the Knicks was the first game they played with their full roster. This is only the second game that coach Blatt can choose from the entire bench. However, some key players are still in the healing process and will get better: Irving, Shumpert and Mozgov. The team has not had time to gel at full force yet. If everyone stays healthy, they will peak about mid season. So I think the rematch on Jan. 19th will be more of a test game than tonight.
      Still, tonight will be a great show to watch, and we’ll probably see the 2 teams that will , again, compete in the finals in June.

      • PQ says:

        No doubt that GSW and the Spurs are better teams but that does not equate to who is the best player right now. If you you building a team around a talent you would still choose LBJ first. Irving and Love still have not proven themselves. If LBJ wanted more rings he would have stayed in Miami. Instead he has chosen the risky, high injury, less attractive franchise route. If he pulls off one ring in the next 2-3 years it will be a miracle, down to his dominance