HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — This just isn’t fair. The Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs were the league’s second and third best teams according to point differential (whether you want go by raw plus-minus or pace-adjusted numbers). And one of them won’t be going to conference semifinals.
The Clippers had the No. 1 offense in the league, despite a 15-game absence from Blake Griffin, and won 14 of their last 15 games. The Spurs are one of only three teams that ranked in the top seven in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and went 21-4 after Feb. 25.
But that 21-4 run only pushed the Spurs from seventh to sixth in the Western Conference. Their loss on the last day of the season put them in this matchup, which may be worse news for the Clippers than anybody else.
The good news is that these two teams are on the opposite side of the bracket from Golden State. So a potential Warriors-Spurs showdown or Warriors-Clippers slobberknocker is in line for the conference finals.
Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for Clippers-Spurs, with links to let you dive in and explore more.
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)
Pace: 97.0 (11)
OffRtg: 109.8 (1)
DefRtg: 103.0 (15)
NetRtg: +6.9 (2)
- Starting lineup played 302 more minutes than any other lineup in the league.
- Shot 65.1 percent in the restricted area, a mark which led the league. But only 27.0 percent of their shots came from there, the lowest rate in the league.
- Best team in the first six minutes of games, outscoring opponents by 17.2 points per 100 possessions.
- J.J. Redick and Chris Paul were two of the league’s three best mid-range shooters among players with at least 200 attempts.
- Only 11.5 of opponent shots were taken in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the lowest rate in the league.
- Griffin allowed 0.61 points per possession on post-ups, the best mark among players who defended at least 100 post-up possessions, according to Synergy.
- The Clippers outscored their opponents by 12.2 points per 100 possessions with Paul on the floor, but were outscored by 7.6 with Paul on the bench. The differential was the largest in the league among players who logged at least 1,000 minutes for one team.
San Antonio Spurs (55-27)
Pace: 95.9 (17)
OffRtg: 106.2 (7)
DefRtg: 99.6 (3)
NetRtg: +6.6 (3)
- Starting lineup outscored opponents by 23.6 points per 100 possessions, the best mark among lineups that played at least 200 minutes together.
- Most improved offensive team after the All-Star break, having scored 103.9 points per 100 possessions before the break and 110.5 after it.
- Isolated on only 4.7 percent of their possessions, the lowest rate among playoff teams, according to Synergy.
- Contested 34.9 percent of opponent jump shots, the highest rate in the league, according to SportVU.
- Outscored opponents by 11.3 points per 100 possessions in the first half of games, but by only 2.7 in the second half. Only the Miami Heat (-9.0 points per 100 possessions) had a bigger drop-off.
- Patty Mills ran at the league’s fastest average speed, 4.8 miles per hour.
- The Spurs were a plus-15 in 130 minutes with Tim Duncan on the floor and a minus-28 in 62 minutes with Duncan on the bench.
- The Spurs assisted on 71.2 percent of their baskets, their highest rate against any Western Conference opponent.
- The Spurs grabbed only 13.5 percent of available offensive rebounds, their lowest mark against any opponent.
- Paul’s 16 turnovers were five more than he had against any other team.
- DeAndre Jordan shot a total of five free throws in the first three meetings and 28 in the fourth.
- Griffin (22-for-29), Jordan (16-22) and Glen Davis (9-for-10) shot a combined 47-for-61 (77.0 percent) in the restricted area.