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November 5, 2010
PBP Roundup
Weekend Edition #2

by Bradford Doolittle

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Basketball Prospectus was all over the TNT doubleheader on Thursday, as I was present at the Bulls' loss to New York at the United Center, and Kevin Pelton was spreading his wisdom at the Rose Garden in Portland. I wish we could do that every Thursday, but BBP's travel budget is, well, we don't have a travel budget. Alas. Thanks to everyone who checked in with ideas on the Roundup box scores. Starting Monday, the playing time component will be expressed as a percentage of available possessions played. Also, I'll start including updated team records in the boxes. There were some other interesting ideas which I will keep in mind as we move forward, but at some point you've got to pick a format and stick with it, so we'll go with these tweaks for now.

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HOT FIVES

POWER RATING (POW)         GR (11/4/10)         WP82 - ALL             WP82 - ROOKIES
heat,miami, 66.9           durant,kevin, 35.9   gay,rudy, 24.6         wall,john, 11.6
lakers,losangeles, 61.9    douglas,toney, 30.1  james,lebron, 23.1     griffin,blake, 8.9
magic,orlando, 59.3        felton,raymond, 25.7 rondo,rajon, 22.3      johnson,wesley, 4.4
nuggets,denver, 56.6       gibson,taj, 24.7     bryant,kobe, 20.3      turner,evan, 2.9
spurs,sanantonio, 51.4     westbrook,russ, 24.1 gasol,pau, 19.3        fields,landry, 2.3
Note: GR leaders are from previous night only.

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THURSDAY'S BOX SCORES & RECAPS

NOTE: Glossary is at bottom of page.

KNICKS 120, BULLS 112 (box): I'll be addressing the Knicks' three-point onslaught in a Five Thoughts, so here I'll just touch upon the fact that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau elected to pull the plug on his first unit with about nine minutes to go in the game. The Bulls had narrowed the Knicks' big lead to 10 points after three quarters and a quick start to the fourth would have set up a great finish. Instead, the Knicks kept right on dropping bombs and Thibodeau yanked his first unit.

There were a couple of things going on here. First off, Thibodeau had played his starters heavy minutes in the first three periods, with no reserve reaching double-digits in minutes. If he'd pushed his starters for another 8-10 minutes in the final period in a game that wasn't that close, he would have been looking at 40+ minutes for Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose and mid-to-upper 30s for the rest of the first unit. The Bulls play on Friday at Boston, so this would have been problematic. Also, the first unit wasn't getting it done, consistently "closing short" on the Knicks' three-point shooters, which is Thibodeau's term for weak close-outs. The second unit came on and did much better and actually cut the lead back to single digits.

At that point, a chant of "We want Rose!" emerged from the fans, but Rose never re-entered the game. I'm okay with this. The second unit was getting it done and I'm a firm believer that if a unit has it going, then you don't disrupt the flow. Remember how effectively the Suns' second unit finished games in the playoffs last spring? However, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry kept a close eye on the group's momentum and when he sensed an ebb, he used it as an opportunity to put Steve Nash back into the game. If Thibodeau is going to play the hot hand, that's great. But at a certain point, the tide will begin to turn, and he's got to be able to recognize that crucial instant and bring back Rose. There's a reason the Bulls have built their franchise around their young point guard. This isn't so much about last night's game as it is a story to watch because of the apparent manner in which Thibodeau prefers to deploy his reserves.

NYK                PLY  USG   PCP  +/-   GR   CHI                PLY  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
douglas,toney       63  25%  1.77  +15 30.1   gibson,taj          67  19%  1.32  +11 24.7
felton,raymond      71  18%  2.03  -8  25.7   korver,kyle         42  22%  1.77  -4  23.0
gallinari,danilo    73  17%  1.83  -7  23.4   rose,derrick        70  28%  1.41  -10 21.4
stoudemire,amare    75  37%  0.47  +1  11.9   noah,joakim         65  15%  1.53  -2  13.7
walker,bill         30  10%  1.93  +20 10.0   deng,luol           67  26%  0.91  -10 11.8
turiaf,ronny        51  13%  1.56  +15  7.8   bogans,keith        51   8%  0.86  +8   5.5
chandler,wilson     49  23%  0.93  +10  7.5   brewer,ronnie       26  12%  1.48  +6   4.9
fields,landry       42   6%  1.98  -8   6.7   asik,omer           36  15%  1.02  -10  4.6
mozgov,timofey      21   6%  1.11  -4   1.4   watson,c.j.         26  30%  0.62  +2   3.6
randolph,anthony     6  16%  0.00  +6   0.0   scalabrine,brian    15   4%  1.56  -12  1.6
mason,roger (DNP)                             johnson,james       17  26%  0.40  -19  1.5
rautins,andy (DNP)                            thomas,kurt (DNP)
PACE: 96.3         ORTG eFG% oRB%  TO% FTA%   PACE: 96.3         ORTG eFG% oRB%  TO% FTA%
knicks,newyork    124.6 .600 .250 .177 .132   bulls,chicago     116.3 .574 .300 .208 .123

---

THUNDER 107, TRAIL BLAZERS 106, OT (box): Alarm bells were sounding about the Thunder's defense after their 25-point loss to the Clippers on Wednesday. Really, even though Oklahoma City won at Portland, the defense wasn't a whole lot better, as the Blazers put up a 115.5 Offensive Rating, a mark that would be second in the league if it were a season total. OKC ranks 25th in Defensive Rating after five games. The offense was better against the Blazers, but the Thunder was only 3-of-15 on three-pointers and ranks next-to-last for the season in eFG%.

I haven't watched the game yet (I will--I've watched at least one quarter of every game this season), but I couldn't help but notice an uprising of "Run something!" tirades on Twitter in regards to the OKC attack. Synergy doesn't have its 2010-11 data going yet, but last season only three teams ran isolation plays more often than the Thunder. Perhaps teams are beginning to catch on a little bit. The more athletically-influenced facets of offense are still strong for the Thunder--foul drawing, offensive rebounding--but they aren't getting quality shots and aren't making the ones they get. The overall result is the league's 18th-ranked offense, down six spots from last season. OKC is 3-2, but its average point differential is -4.6 points per game. This is a pretty pessimistic write-up, so perhaps I should reiterate that indeed Oklahoma City won last night's game.

OKC                PLY  USG   PCP  +/-   GR   POR                PLY  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
durant,kevin        91  29%  0.95  +3  35.9   camby,marcus        74  11%  1.77  +2  21.4
westbrook,russell   76  35%  0.94  +4  24.1   miller,andre        61  29%  1.16   0  21.2
green,jeff          79  17%  1.13  +5  22.2   aldridge,lamarcus   80  20%  0.98  -8  18.0
sefolosha,thabo     40   8%  2.26  -8  11.3   batum,nicolas       81  15%  1.20  -6  16.5
ibaka,serge         53   7%  2.48  +7  11.3   roy,brandon         81  25%  0.93  +3  14.2
krstic,nenad        45  15%  0.68  -1   5.5   johnson,armon       21  10%  2.47  +2   9.6
harden,james        44  10%  1.21  +1   5.0   matthews,wesley     34  28%  1.21   0   8.8
maynor,eric         24  12%  0.31  +1   1.3   cunningham,dante    28  13%  0.86  +2   5.8
aldrich,cole         7  14%  0.00  -7   0.0   babbitt,luke (DNP)
cook,daequan (DNP)                            fernandez,rudy (DNP)
ivey,royal (DNP)                              mills,patrick (DNP)
white,d.j. (DNP)                              przybilla,joel (DNP)
PACE: 91.8         ORTG eFG% oRB%  TO% FTA%   PACE: 91.8         ORTG eFG% oRB%  TO% FTA%
thunder,oklacity  116.6 .512 .395 .185 .125   trailblazers,port 115.5 .489 .319 .120 .096

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NEWS & MOVES

Minutiae from around the league

HAWKS: "Hawks forward Marvin Williams had an MRI this afternoon on his right knee and it was determined that he has a bone bruise. His status is day-to-day. He did not travel with the team to Minnesota for Friday's game." (press release)
Hopefully this won't keep Williams down long because he's been playing well in Larry Drew's egalitarian offense, with an renewed preference for attacking the rim.

HEAT: "Apparently it is never too early to make reservations for the London Olympics, but not all of the of Miami Heatís former Olympians are ready to call travel agents yet. Though the timing seems odd, this week 2008 gold medalists Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard said they plan to rejoin Team USA for 2012. It was more of a surprise for Bryant, who has battled injuries over the last few years, to commit so early. LeBron James seemed eager to follow suit when asked about his long-term plans on Thursday. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh werenít as ready to commit this far out. 'I would love to be a part of that team,' James said. 'If (coach Mike Krzyzewski) needs me to be a part of that team, Iím available. Hopefully Iím healthy enough to be a part of that team. Coach K has my number.' (source)
Good to see the league's stars aren't falling back into the habit of taking international play for granted. However, 2012 is a ways off and there were some members of this summer's FIBA World Championship gold medal USA squad that will be ready for leading roles on the next Olympic team.

GRIZZLIES: "Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins and Assistant Coach Johnny Davis will miss tomorrow nightís game against the Phoenix Suns to attend a private family service in Portland for former teammate Maurice Lucas, who passed away on Sunday, Oct. 31." (press release)
Assistant David Joerger will handle the coaching duties in the understandable absence of Hollins and Davis.

TRAIL BLAZERS: "Center Fabricio Oberto announced today that he has retired from the game of basketball due to recurrent palpitations related to a prior cardiac condition. Oberto experienced lightheadedness and dizziness during the first half of Portlandís game at Milwaukee on Nov. 2. 'I made this decision to put my health and my family in front of basketball,' said Oberto. 'It was a tough decision to make after playing for so many years, but it was the right one.' In his sixth season in the NBA, Oberto appeared in each of Portlandís first five games, averaging 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.0 minutes." (press release)
Scary stuff. I've dealt with palpitations myself and they can be debilitating, as much due to the anxiety they cause as anything else. My condition was fixed by a surgical procedure and, bang, I felt like a new man when it was done. I don't know the specifics of Oberto's condition, but often these kinds of electrical abnormalities in the heart can be fixed. I hope that's the case for him. A Twitter follower noted that the last four words of my write-up of Oberto in the PBP book were, "The end is nigh." That's kind of freaky.

TRAIL BLAZERS: "Guard Elliot Williams will undergo surgery to repair a dislocated right patella, the Trail Blazers announced today. The injury occurred Wednesday, Nov. 3, during court conditioning drills at the team's practice facility. Williams will be re-evaluated after surgery but will likely miss the rest of the regular season. Portland selected Williams with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He has not appeared in a game for the Trail Blazers this season." (press release)
My gosh. What is it with this snake-bitten franchise? Elliot Williams, we hardly knew ye.

WARRIORS: "Lee bounced back from his first scoreless game in three years by making only three of his first 13 shots against Memphis on Wednesday. After finding internal humor in his struggles, Lee finished strong to record his third double-double (15 points, 16 rebounds) in four games. Lee has taken a back seat since he was dealt here from New York this summer. He's been rebounding at a high rate, but he has been deferring to Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright on the offensive end. After being held scoreless by the Lakers in 19 minutes Sunday, Lee looked for his shot more often against Memphis. By the start of the fourth quarter, he had attempted 16 shots, four more than his high since joining the Warriors. 'We have a great scorer in Monta, who we go to a lot early in games,' said Lee, who was one of three NBA players to average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game last season. "That's a change from what I'm used to, but he's a great scorer. I'm going to have to find my points in other places and find a way to be effective in other places.'" (San Francisco Chronicle)
It's sort of surprising that Lee hasn't gotten more looks with Curry out with an ankle injury.

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FAB FIVE

A selection of our favorite NBA links

1. John Krolik of NBC Sports looks at the value of blocked shots as it pertains to one Dwight Howard.

2. George Karl is once again exasperated by mercurial guard J.R. Smith.

3. In this piece, Marcin Gortat says he doesn't think European expansion would work.

4. Despite an iffy start, the Suns and Hedo Turkoglu claim they still believe in each other.

5. With Samuel Dalembert nearing full health, Kings coach Paul Westphal is changing his lineup to improve the team's defense.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ON TAP

This weekend in the NBA

-----------------
FRIDAY'S GAMES
-----------------
WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE    OFFICIALS
+27  mia @ nwo,  8:00 PM EST [ mia by  9 ]   Joey Crawford, Tony Brown, Olandis Poole
+11  chi @ bos,  8:00 PM EST [ bos by 11 ]   Marc Davis, David Guthrie, Tom Washington
+ 9  uta @ gsw, 10:30 PM EST [ gsw by  6 ]   Derrick Stafford, Eli Roe, Zach Zarba
+ 3  tor @ lal, 10:30 PM EST [ lal by 20 ]   Bill Spooner, Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott
+ 1  mem @ phx, 10:00 PM EST [ phx by  8 ]   Scott Foster, Michael Smith, Scott Twardoski
- 3  njn @ orl,  7:00 PM EST [ orl by 25 ]   Ken Mauer, Leroy Richardson, Gary Zielinski
- 9  mil @ ind,  7:00 PM EST [ ind by  1 ]   Dick Bavetta, Derrick Collins, Violet Palmer
-10  cle @ phi,  7:00 PM EST [ phi by 14 ]   Mike Callahan, Scott Bolnick, Sean Wright
-10  lac @ den, 10:30 PM EST [ den by 19 ]   Ron Garretson, Marat Kogut, Leon Wood
-12  was @ nyk,  7:30 PM EST [ nyk by 18 ]   Monty McCutchen, Brian Forte, Eric Lewis
-13  cha @ det,  7:30 PM EST [ det by  0 ]   Steve Javie, Bennie Adams, Mark Ayotte
-28  atl @ min,  8:00 PM EST [ atl by 25 ]   Ed Malloy, Tony Brothers, Kane Fitzgerald
-----------------
SATURDAY'S GAMES
----------------
WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE
+21  den @ dal,  9:00 PM EST [ dal by  7 ]
+ 3  tor @ por, 10:00 PM EST [ por by 12 ]
+ 1  mem @ sac, 10:00 PM EST [ sac by  5 ]
- 3  njn @ mia,  7:30 PM EST [ mia by 31 ]
- 5  nwo @ mil,  8:30 PM EST [ nwo by 13 ]
- 7  orl @ cha,  7:00 PM EST [ orl by 21 ]
-10  lac @ uta,  9:00 PM EST [ uta by 12 ]
-10  hou @ sas,  8:30 PM EST [ sas by 16 ]
-12  cle @ was,  7:00 PM EST [ was by  2 ]
-----------------
SUNDAY'S GAMES
-----------------
WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE
+20  por @ lal,  9:30 PM EST [ lal by 12 ]
+12  phi @ nyk, 12:00 PM EST [ nyk by  6 ]
+10  phx @ atl,  5:00 PM EST [ atl by 13 ]
+ 1  bos @ okc,  7:00 PM EST [ bos by  9 ]
-13  gsw @ det,  6:00 PM EST [ gsw by 10 ]
-28  min @ hou,  7:00 PM EST [ hou by 12 ]

Notes: WTC is a junk stat rating the "watchability" of a game, taking into
account the quality of the opponents and the likelihood of a close game. Referee
assignments are not yet available for the games on Saturday and Sunday.

Through Thursday, 66 of 1,230 games (5.4%) have been played in the 2010-11 NBA regular season.

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GLOSSARY
+/- (Plus-Minus) Raw data is from official box scores from NBA.com.
GR (Game Rating) Reflects a player's Points Created total, or the portion of his team's offense for which he gets credit based on his box score line. This number is then adjusted for estimated defensive performance based on box score counterpart productivity. GR is pace-adjusted so you can compare players from game to game.
PCP (Points Created Per Possession Used) An estimate of each player's points created per possession used, a measure of offensive efficiency. The stat accounts for a player's entire box score line, not just the scoring categories.
PLY (Plays) An estimate of how many possessions on which the player was on the court.
USG An estimate of how many of those plays a player used by shooting, going to the line or committing a turnover, with a portion the team's offensive rebound total subtracted.
TEAM STATS
PACE: Esimated possessions in the game.
ORTG: A team's points per 100 possessions.
eFG%: Team's shooting percentage with an extra half-point added for each made three-point field goal.
oRB%: Percentage of a team's misses that they retrieved off the offensive glass.
TO%: Percentage of at team's possessions resulting in a turnover.
FTA%: Percentage of a team's possessions resulting in a trip to the foul line.

You can follow Bradford on Twitter at twitter.com/@bbdoolittle.

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Bradford Doolittle is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Bradford by clicking here or click here to see Bradford's other articles.

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