Posts Tagged ‘John Schuhmann’

Game 3: The Impact Plays

SAN ANTONIO – The most important play in a game isn’t always the one you remember most. Sometimes, it’s subtle and doesn’t even make the highlight reel. Sometimes, something as simple as a change in possession can be more important than a shot that does or doesn’t go in.

The NBA has a way to use analytics to figure out just which plays had the biggest impact on a close game. It’s a “leverage” model that was developed to evaluate and instruct referees by pointing out which calls or no-calls had the biggest impact on a game’s result.

Here’s the idea: At every point of a game, each team has a certain probability of winning. Putting the quality of each team to the side, when the game tips off, the home team has a 60 percent probability of winning and the road team has a 40 percent probability of winning. After the first basket, those numbers haven’t changed much. But if the home team is up 10 with the ball and five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, their win probability (WP) is obviously a lot greater than 60 percent.

So, by calculating win probability both before and after a play occurs, it can be determined just how important that play was. Score, possession and location are the factors. And obviously, plays in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter (or overtime) in a close game are more important than any others.

Using the league’s data model, we’ve determined the three most important plays of Game 3 of The Finals, a 113-77 rout that gave the Spurs a 2-1 series lead.

The Spurs put this game away by outscoring the Heat 41-19 over the first 14 1/2 minutes of the second half, but the biggest plays were made at the end of the second quarter, when Miami made a 12-1 run and San Antonio answered to take a six-point lead into the break.

There were no plays in the second half that affected either team’s WP by more than four percent.

3. +8.3 percent – Miller makes his third 3

.

After a pair of misses on the other end of the floor, the Spurs didn’t get to a trailing Mike Miller in time. LeBron James found Miller, who got a screen from Chris Bosh and drained his third of five 3s, capping the Heat’s 10-0 run and pulling them to within one point (43-42) with 1:07 left in the second quarter.

The 3 changed the Heat’s WP from 29.4 percent to 37.7 percent.

2. +9.1 percent – Parker hits a 3

.

After Miller’s 3, Tony Parker split a pair of free throws and Dwyane Wade scored on a drive to tie the game at 44. Then Parker drove, kicked the ball out to Manu Ginobili and got the ball back for an off-balance trey from the right corner with 26 seconds left in the half.

The shot increased the Spurs’ WP from 57.7 percent to 66.8 percent.

1. +12.1 percent – Green’s block and Neal’s buzzer-beater

.

After Parker’s 3, LeBron James tried to drive against a sagging Spurs defense, but Danny Green got his hand on James’ short pull-up with five seconds left. Tim Duncan grabbed the loose ball and sent a quick outlet to Parker, who dribbled once and got the ball ahead to a streaking Gary Neal, who took the pass and stepped into a left wing 3 just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

Before the block, the Spurs’ WP was 66.8 percent. After the 3, it was 78.9 percent.

Plays 1 and 2 combined increased the Spurs’ win probability by 21.1 percent in less than 30 seconds.

Spurs Are Home, But Are Heat Rolling?

a

SAN ANTONIO – The Finals are back in San Antonio for the first time in six years, and Game 3 could be the most important 48 minutes of the season. The Spurs took home-court advantage away in Game 1, but the Heat looked much more dominant in Game 2.

Home team record, Finals since 1985
Game W L PCT
Game 1 22 7 0.759
Game 2 18 11 0.621
Game 3 14 14 0.500
Game 4 15 13 0.536
Game 5 13 11 0.542
Game 6 11 6 0.647
Game 7 4 0 1.000
Total 97 62 0.610

The basics:
Game 3 tips off Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

This is the 14th (and fourth straight) time that The Finals have been tied 1-1 since going to the 2-3-2 format in 1985. The winner of Game 3 has gone on to win the title in 12 of the previous 13 instances, with the 2011 Heat being the lone exception. Miami won Game 3 in Dallas, but then lost the next three games. Last year, they won Game 3 at home and finished off the Thunder in five.

Game 3 is the only game in which the home team does not have a winning record in the 28 Finals since ’85 (see table). And with the series tied 1-1, nine of the 13 Game 3 winners (including the ’11 Heat) have been the team playing on the road.

The Heat are 5-2 on the road in the playoffs (having lost their last two in Indiana), while the Spurs are 6-1 at home.

The narrative:
The Spurs got the split they wanted when they went to Miami for Games 1 and 2, but the Heat clearly found their groove in the second half on Sunday. This may be another example of where the champs just needed a game to figure things out, or we could be in store for a long and memorable championship series.

If Miami can continue to play defense like they did over an eight-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters on Game 2 (and in Game 7 against the Pacers), they will get enough offense to win the series. But the Spurs are home for the next three games and the Heat haven’t really put two championship-caliber games together all postseason.

The subplots:
You don’t have to look much further than the Spurs’ turnover numbers to find the biggest difference between Games 1 and 2. After committing the fewest turnovers (4) any team had committed against the Heat in over 20 years in Game 1, San Antonio had 17 in Game 2.

Those turnovers didn’t necessarily kill the Spurs on the other end of the floor; The Heat scored just nine points off San Antonio’s nine live-ball turnovers. But they damaged their chances of maintaining the offensive rhythm they had in Game 1. If they’re going to win the series, they’ll need to take care of the ball, while also moving it quickly to their open shooters.

If the Spurs continue to swarm LeBron James and the Heat do the same to Tony Parker, every game could come down to which star has a teammate to step up and make plays. In Game 1, it was Tim Duncan (20 points and four assists). In Game 2, it was Mario Chalmers (19 points and two assists).

Xs and Os:
Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have done well defending James, so well that the Spurs probably don’t need to bring as much help on the MVP as they brought in Games 1 and 2. If the other Spurs can stay at home on the shooters, they can keep Miami’s 3-point game in check. Mario Chalmers (2), Ray Allen (3) and Mike Miller (3) each had multiple threes in Game 2 and are a combined 14-for-24 from beyond the arc in the series. The Heat are 32-1 when they hit 10 or more threes as a team.

The Spurs can’t get caught overplaying pick-and-rolls like they were on multiple occasions in the corner in Game 2. And they must be ready for another wrinkle or two in the Heat’s pick-and-roll game.

Offensively, the Spurs must counter Miami’s aggressive defense on their own pick-and-rolls. The San Antonio bigs have to create a passing lane for Parker to quickly get them the ball. If he can do that, there will be an open shot, an open teammate, or an open lane to the basket.

For more variety in their offense, the Heat can look to get James in the post, where he had only a handful of touches in the first two games.

Who’s hot?
The aforementioned Allen (6-for-9) and Miller (4-for-5) have found their rhythm from beyond the arc, making the Heat so much more dangerous offensively. Chalmers is 4-for-6 on corner threes, but 0-for-4 from above the break. And though he was the goat for his 3-point misses in Game 1, Chris Bosh is 8-for-14 from mid-range in the series.

On the other end of the floor, Green is 9-for-14 from 3-point range, taking advantage of the attention Miami has been paying to Parker. If the Spurs can get Leonard (1-for-7) also shooting well, they’ll be in good shape.

Whatever happened to…
Manu Ginobili? The Spurs’ third star is 7-for-23 over his last three games and had a hard time just holding onto the ball on Sunday. He was looking to attack Allen off the dribble (a valid game plan), but was moving too fast for his own good. San Antonio needs him back in control for Game 3.

Film Study: Birdman’s Smart Defense Puts Spurs’ Parker In A Game 2 Cage

.

MIAMI – Even before the Miami Heat went on a 33-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters of Game 2 on Sunday, they were enjoying a much more efficient game than they played three nights earlier. Game 2 was played at a glacial pace, keeping the score looking more like a game played in the mid-90s than one played in the mid-80s. But it was a better offensive game than it may have seemed.

Miami’s 50 first-half points were scored on just 39 possessions. And before the 33-5 run started, they had scored 61 points on 54 trips down the floor, an efficiency of 1.13 points per possession, up from 1.02 in Game 1. And this was with LeBron James shooting 2-for-12 at that point.

Other Heat-ers were shooting 23-for-44. They were keeping their turnovers down and giving themselves second chances on the glass. Though the Spurs had already committed more than twice as many turnovers as they had in Game 1 and Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were all having an off night, San Antonio had a one-point lead.

That’s when the Heat locked down, allowing the Spurs to score just five points over their next 15 possessions, a span that included six turnovers. The stops turned into points on the other end for Miami, and by the time that 15-possession stretch was over, the Heat had a 27-point lead and the Spurs’ big three was done for the night.

The lineup that did most of the damage for the Heat (plus-17 in seven minutes) was a unit of Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, James and Chris Andersen. And while the MVP had the ridiculous block on Tiago Splitter, it was Birdman who played the biggest role defensively.

Defensive priority No. 1 for the Heat has been containing Parker, which Andersen did that during the Heat’s run.

With the Heat up seven in the final minute of the third quarter, Andersen stopped two Parker/Duncan pick-and-rolls and then challenged Parker’s short jumper in the lane. After the Spurs got the rebound, Parker isolated on Chalmers, and Andersen was there to help …


.

Duncan would throw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds play.

On the Spurs’ final possession of the quarter, Anderson was there to contain Parker once again …


.

Duncan was open for a flash, but James was on the back line ready to rotate. Getting the ball to Duncan at the dotted circle would have required getting the ball over Andersen, who didn’t leave Parker until he had given up the ball.

20130609_andersen

The Spurs’ first possession of the fourth quarter was one the Heat’s best defensive possessions of the game. Andersen was there to snuff out a Ginobili/Splitter side pick-and-roll (easier said than done when Ginobili is going to his left). Then Mike Miller, after helping on the roll, closed out hard on Gary Neal in the corner. When Neal tried to go baseline, Andersen was there to cut him off and the Heat forced another turnover…


Miller’s defense in this series may be just as important as Andersen’s. We know he’s shooting much better than Shane Battier these days, so if he can hold his own defensively, there are really no questions or issues with Erik Spoelstra‘s rotation. Miller is looking a lot more spry than he did a year ago and he’s busting his tail on defense to make himself even more valuable.

******

Tony Parker in Game 2

Tony Parker’s Game 2 shot chart

Parker was 4-for-9 in the paint in Game 2, not that far off from his 5-for-9 performance in Game 1.

But he had just one bucket from outside the paint, down from the four he had on Thursday, in part because the Heat’s bigs stepped out on those pick-and-rolls and made him give up the ball.

Turnovers were also a big difference. Parker had five of them, with Chris Bosh forcing two straight early in the first quarter by stepping out on screens.

Interestingly, the Heat scored just nine points off the Spurs’ nine live-ball turnovers. So it’s not like the Spurs’ sloppiness really killed them on the other end of the floor. Miami was just much more efficient in half-court situations and on the secondary break.

******

As we saw in the conference finals, the Heat run pick-and-rolls from all angles. They’ll run the standard high pick-and-roll. They’ll set the screen at the elbow (like on Chalmers’ and-one). They’ll run side pick-and-rolls (the Spurs’ bread and butter). They’ll run them toward the baseline. And they’ll run them out of the corner.

One wrinkle we saw on Sunday was the Heat rejecting those screens out of the corner. In fact, here’s a clip of three different Miami ball-handlers — Dwyane Wade, Norris Cole and Chalmers — using a dribble to get their defender’s body moving toward the screen, then crossing over, and taking the open lane on the baseline.

Wade’s drive produces an open three for Chalmers, Cole’s produces an easy tip-in for Andersen, and Chalmers gets a floater for himself…


Game 2: The Impact Plays

a

a

MIAMI — The most important play in a game isn’t always the one you remember most. Sometimes, it’s subtle and doesn’t even make the highlight reel. Sometimes, something as simple as a change in possession can be more important than a shot that does or doesn’t go in.

The NBA has a way to use analytics to figure out just which plays had the biggest impact on a close game. It’s a “leverage” model that was developed to evaluate and instruct referees by pointing out which calls or no-calls had the biggest impact on a game’s result.

Here’s the idea: At every point of a game, each team has a certain probability of winning. Putting the quality of each team to the side, when the game tips off, the home team has a 60 percent probability of winning and the road team has a 40 percent probability of winning. After the first basket, those numbers haven’t changed much. But if the home team is up 10 with the ball and five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, their win probability (WP) is obviously a lot greater than 60 percent.

So, by calculating win probability both before and after a play occurs, it can be determined just how important that play was. Score, possession and location are the factors. And obviously, plays in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter (or overtime) in a close game are more important than any others.

Using the league’s data model, we’ve determined the three most important plays of Game 2 of The Finals, an easy 103-84 win for the Miami Heat.

Because Game 2 was a blowout, the plays that made the biggest impact came late in the third quarter, with the outcome still in the balance…

3. +7.4 percent – Ray Allen drains a 3


The Heat were up just two when Manu Ginobili committed one of the Spurs’ 17 turnovers. LeBron James brought the ball up quickly and got the ball to Mario Chalmers, who made the extra pass to Allen for a wide-open three from the left wing with 2:25 left in the third.

The basket changed the Heat’s WP from 66.2 percent to 73.6 percent.

2. +7.6 percent – A three-point possession


With James in the post and the score tied, Tim Duncan got caught for a defensive three-second violation. Chalmers made the technical free throw, and on the ensuing play, Chris Bosh hit a tough bank shot to put Miami up 61-58 with 4:30 left in the third.

Before the possession, the Heat’s WP was 58.1 percent. After Bosh’s bucket, it was 65.7 percent.

1. +8.1 percent – Chalmers’ and-one


A minute after that three-point possession, the Spurs were back up one and the Heat’s WP was back down to 53.8 percent. But they got a pair of offensive rebounds and were inbounding the ball under their basket with 3:17 left.

Chalmers then went around a James screen at the elbow, drew a foul on Danny Green, and converted a lay-up and the free throw. The three-point play was the start of the Heat’s 33-5 game-changing run and changed their WP from 53.8 percent to 62.0 percent.

Heat Focus On Finishing

a

MIAMI – The Miami Heat made their final preparations for Game 2 of The Finals on Sunday morning, knowing that they need this one almost as much as they needed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

And they know that evening the series against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night (8 p.m. ET, ABC) will take 48 minutes of focus and effort. They believe that they lost Game 1 because they lost their way in the fourth quarter.

The Heat were the best fourth-quarter team in the regular season, but the Spurs have been the best fourth-quarter team in the playoffs, and they outscored the Heat 23-16 in the final 12 minutes on Thursday.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was more disappointed with the 16 than the 23.

“We just need to be more efficient collectively,” Spoelstra said, “to make sure everybody’s getting the ball where they can be effective. And we didn’t do that in the fourth quarter, and everybody paid the price for that.

“Bottom line is we have to respond. We were all disappointed about how that game went down in the fourth quarter. It’s a very close series where there’s not a large margin of error. So all the small things lead to the big thing. We have to concentrate on finishing on both ends of the court.”

“We were just in situations where we found ourselves not being ourselves,” Chris Bosh added. “We understand that happens sometimes, but it can’t happen anymore. So that’s our challenge moving forward, to continue to really have a nice pace and stay concentrated for the whole entire game.”

Heat Look To Get Even In Game 2

a

MIAMI – After a terrific Game 1 and two full days off, it’s finally time for Game 2 of The Finals. And the Miami Heat’s season is likely on the line, because an 0-2 hole, with the next three games in San Antonio, would be nearly impossible to climb out of.

The basics:
The Heat will try to even the series in Game 2 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ABC). If they can do it, this will be the fourth straight Finals tied at 1-1. If they can’t, they’re in trouble, because the Spurs are playing their best basketball of the season and are 41-7 at home.

The winner of Game 1 has won 20 of the 28 Finals since the series went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985. The Spurs are only the seventh road team (of 29) to win Game 1. Previous road teams to win Game 1 have gone on to win the series three times and lose it three times. Only twice — Chicago in 1993 and Houston in 1995 — has the road team won each of the first two games.

The Heat have been excellent in their next game after a loss, but this is easily the toughest opponent they’ve faced in this situation.

The narrative:
It’s always about LeBron James, isn’t it? The four-time MVP recorded a triple-double in Game 1, but scored just 18 points and took just four of his team’s 18 shots in the fourth quarter.

James is going to make “the right play” and pass to his teammates when they’re open. And he’ll still look to get those teammates going in the first quarter. But he admitted that there were plays on Thursday when he could have attacked the Spurs’ defender in front of him, instead of giving up the ball. As much as James needs his teammates to make shots, he needs to understand that he’s not a 6-3 point guard, but rather a 6-8 freak of nature who can make plays that no one else can.

The subplots:
Tim Duncan 
should never be overlooked. His legacy as one of the two or three top players of the last 20 years is cast in stone, but he’s still an anchor on both ends of the floor for a team that’s three games away from a championship, and he’s not taking this opportunity for granted. As Tony Parker was spinning past the Heat and hitting miracle shots in Game 1, Duncan was racking up 20 points, 14 rebounds four assists and three blocks.

Members of James’ supporting cast still need to make their shots when they get them. That starts with Chris Bosh, who has shot 14-for-50 (28 percent) over his last five games. Throw in an average of just 5.0 rebounds over those five games, and there will certainly be a spotlight on Bosh in Game 2. James didn’t get to The Finals by himself, and he’s not going to win four games against the Spurs that way either.

The Heat also need to take better advantage of when the Spurs go small. That’s the Heat’s game, but San Antonio’s small lineups (with just one big on the floor) were a plus-11 in 18 minutes on Thursday.

Xs and Os:
The Heat don’t necessarily need to run anything different, but they do need to attack the basket more after drawing just 12 fouls (their second-lowest total of the season) on Thursday. They need to put more rolls into their pick-and-rolls and put more pressure on the Spurs’ bigs. If Bosh is going to take 16 shots again, more than four of them need to come from the paint.

Defensively, the Heat can’t just hope that the Spurs will turn the ball over more than four times. They must increase their pressure on the ball and in the passing lanes to force more miscues and more transition opportunities for themselves. At the same time, their back-side rotations must be sharp to prevent as many open corner threes as the Spurs got in Game 1.

The Spurs have to be ready for more minutes of James guarding Parker. But if they set good screens, run their offense, and find the open man, they can still get good shots.

Who’s hot?
Parker has been as difficult to stop as James of late, averaging 28.0 points on 57 percent shooting over his last three games. Containing him in the pick-and-roll is priority No. 1 for the Heat, but when he’s not scoring himself, he’s creating good looks for his teammates.

Behind Parker and a defense that has held its opponents under a point per possession, the Spurs have won seven straight games and have lost just one playoff game – Game 2 of the conference semifinals – in regulation.

Whatever happened to …
Shane Battier? The guy who was one of the Heat’s top reserves and best 3-point shooter in the regular season is 14-for-64 (22 percent) from beyond the arc in the playoffs and has played just 19 minutes (two after halftime) over the last four games.

Battier’s minutes have gone to Mike Miller, so the Heat can still play small and spread the floor. But without Battier, their defense is compromised.

The Spurs’ 3-point shooting? The team that ranked fourth in 3-point percentage in the regular season has shot just 16-for-54 (30 percent) from beyond the arc over the last three games. Good defense has played a part, but San Antonio missed some wide open looks from the corners (from where they were 2-for-7) on Thursday.

Will LeBron Be More Aggressive?

 

MIAMI – As expected, the Miami Heat theme of the day, just 14 hours after the conclusion of Game 1 of The Finals, was LeBron James‘ aggressiveness, or lack thereof.

James scored just 18 points on Thursday, the fewest he’s scored in a playoff game since the 2011 Finals. He attempted the same amount of shots (16) as Chris Bosh, and only got to the line four times. He attempted only four of the Heat’s 18 shots in the fourth quarter.

In today’s Film Study post, I addressed one possession in which James could have attacked Tim Duncan off the dribble, but instead passed back to Bosh at the 3-point line. And on the final possession of that post (Bosh’s missed three with 1:02 left), James could certainly have tried to score over Duncan.

On Friday, both James and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra were asked about the MVP’s aggressiveness and willingness to pass to his teammates.

James: “I had some more opportunities where I could have maybe been a little more aggressive or look for my shot. But I don’t want to take away from any plays I made last night. I was able to still find my guys for some shots.

“We missed some shots. We had some wide-open clips where I had two defenders guarding me. Two plays in the third quarter, I was able to find [Mario Chalmers] for two open threes that he just missed, two great shots. I found CB for four really good looks that he missed, that he’s capable of making.

“My guys are open. I’ve got this far with them, I’m not going to just abandon what I’ve been doing all year to help us get to this point. So I know those guys will be ready to shoot again once they’re open.”

Spoelstra: “He’ll do whatever it takes. He’s as a cerebral a player as there is in this league. He’ll read the game as necessary.

“I wouldn’t bet against our open shooters. So we just need to make sure we’re getting the shots that we want to.”

Film Study: Spurs Lock Down In The Fourth

MIAMI – Game 1 of The Finals was one of the best played playoff games you will ever see. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs committed just 13 combined turnovers and 24 combined personal fouls, a Finals record.

But the Spurs took a 1-0 series lead, in part because Tony Parker hit a ridiculous shot and in part because they held down the Heat’s offense in the fourth quarter.

The Heat scored just 16 points on 22 possessions in the final 12 minutes, the only time either team was held under a point per possession in any of the four periods. LeBron James was off the floor for the first 2:59 of the fourth, but Miami still scored just 12 points on 16 possessions after he checked back in.

Those 16 possessions were largely a result of the defensive improvement the Spurs have undergone this season. After an evaluation of what defensive numbers were really important, they improved from No. 11 in defensive efficiency last season to No. 3 this year. And they’ve held their opponents under a point per possession in 11 of their 14 playoff games leading into The Finals.

They forced the Heat into 5-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter (which made for a very bloody shot chart), as well as five turnovers (four of which were live-balls). It was great defensive work by all five guys on the floor, but the Heat also hurt themselves with some sloppiness and poor decisions.

Here are five noteworthy stops from the final seven minutes…

Possession No. 10 – 6:52 left – Bosh misses a three

James attempted just four of his team’s 18 shots (plus two free throws) in the fourth quarter. And if you want to question his aggressiveness, this is the play to point out.

He comes off a Chris Bosh screen and encounters Tim Duncan outside the paint. The rest of the Spurs – other than Gary Neal, who smartly stays attached to Ray Allen in the corner – are in good help position, ready to help on James or a rolling Bosh.

20130606_james_passive

There are two questions for the Heat on this play. First, does James miss an opportunity to drive past Duncan and get to the rim here? He was 5-for-5 in the restricted area in Game 1, but just 2-for-11 outside it.

Second, shouldn’t Bosh be rolling the basket instead of popping out to the 3-point line? If he rolls, there’s only Parker there to stop him. (more…)

Game 1: The Impact Plays

.

MIAMI – The most important play in a game isn’t always the one you remember most. Sometimes, it’s subtle and doesn’t even make the highlight reel. Sometimes, something as simple as a change in possession can be more important than a shot that does or doesn’t go in.

The NBA has a way to use analytics to figure out just which plays had the biggest impact on a close game. It’s a “leverage” model that was developed to evaluate and instruct referees by pointing out which calls or no-calls had the biggest impact on a game’s result.

Here’s the idea: At every point of a game, each team has a certain probability of winning. Putting the quality of each team to the side, when the game tips off, the home team has a 60 percent probability of winning and the road team has a 40 percent probability of winning. After the first basket, those numbers haven’t changed much. But if the home team is up 10 with the ball and five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, their win probability (WP) is obviously a lot greater than 60 percent.

So, by calculating win probability both before and after a play occurs, it can be determined just how important that play was. Score, possession and location are the factors. And obviously, plays in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter (or overtime) in a close game are more important than any others.

Using the league’s data model, we’ve determined the three most important plays of Game 1 of The Finals.

No 3.: +8.7 percent – Kawhi Leonard steals LeBron James’ pass



With the Spurs up 79-78 and the Heat in possession with just over six minutes to go, the Spurs’ win probability is 49.6 percent. But just gaining possession on Leonard’s steal changes it to 58.3 percent. And after Tony Parker puts Norris Cole in the blender and converts the layup, it’s at 65.4 percent. So the whole sequence is an increase of 15.8 percent.

No. 2.: +12.7 percent – Ray Allen gets fouled and hits three free throws



With the Heat down 88-83 with a minute and a half to go, their win probability is 11.2 percent. But Danny Green‘s foul and Allen’s three freebies give them some life and a 23.9 percent WP.

No. 1.: +19.6 percent – Parker’s leaning bank shot



The Spurs are up two with the ball and just 31 seconds left, but the Heat will have a chance to tie or take the lead if they can get a stop and a rebound. San Antonio’s WP is at 78.6 percent, but Parker’s miracle shot is a figurative dagger, increasing their WP to 98.2 percent.

Parker: “It was a crazy play. I thought I lost the ball three or four times. And it didn’t work out like I wanted it to. At the end, I was just trying to get a shot up. It felt good when it left my hand. I was happy it went in.”

LeBron James: “Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession… That was the longest 24 seconds that I’ve been a part of.”

Tim Duncan: “Obviously, Tony makes an unbelievable play. He does just about everything in the book that he had. He fell to the ground, pump-faked, stepped through, and still got it off the ground. It was just amazing.”

Gregg Popovich: “We were very fortunate.”

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 120) The Finals Preview Featuring John Schuhmann

MIAMI — Heat in six. Spurs in six. Heat in six.

Our predictions for The Finals are all over the place, as you might expect with a clash of heavyweights that looks like a pretty fair fight on paper.

In one corner we have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a Miami Heat team that is making its third straight appearance in The Finals, trying to defend its title with one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game in Erik Spoelstra.

In the other corner we have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and a San Antonio Spurs crew that is making its fifth appearance in The Finals in 15 years, trying to add to their dynasty with a coaching master working the sidelines in Gregg Popovich.

NBA.com’s analytics guru John Schuhmann joins us live from Miami on the show this week, replacing a missing-in-action Rick Fox, and offering up his unique insight into the series.

Check it out on Episode 120 of the Hang Time Podcast … 

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.