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March 2, 2011
The Shootaround
Race to Watch #3

by Bradford Doolittle

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HEADLINER

3. Last two playoff spot in the East.
There is always a lot of attention focused on getting into the playoffs. That's true for any sport. In the NFL, there is always an avalanche of late-December, early-January energy spent on untangling the league's complicated tie-breaking flow chart. In baseball, teams celebrate a wildcard-clinching win as if they just won the World Series. In both of those sports, the focus on "just getting in" is understandable. Two six-seeds have won the Super Bowl in the last six years, including last season's winner, the Green Bay Packers. Baseball's postseason is a notorious crapshoot. Sneaking into the eight-team playoff bracket gives the average team a 12.5 percent chance of winning the World Series and even after you apply all sorts of other factors, that probability doesn't deviate much in either direction because of the inherent randomness of a small-sample of baseball games.

Things are different in the NBA. Randomness plays a part, as it does in all sports, but not nearly to the degree of the NFL, MLB or NHL. Only one eight-seed has ever beaten a one-seed in a best-of-seven series. Two did it in the best-of-five format, including the '99 Knicks, who advanced all the way to the Finals in a strike-season fluke. The Thunder put up a spirited fight against the Lakers in last season's first round, but Oklahoma City was no typical eight-seed--OKC won 50 games in a stacked conference. Generally speaking, eight seeds don't stand a chance. Yet it still seems to matter, doesn't it? Didn't it seem to matter to the Bobcats to earn their first playoff berth last season, even though they harbor any real hopes of beating Orlando in the first round? In a league in which only a handful of teams stand a legitimate chance of traversing the postseason bracket and winning a title, "just getting in" is all the reward many teams are going to get for their 82 games-worth of trouble.

With that in mind, let's look at the bottom of the East playoff ladder, where the Pacers currently sit in eighth with a 27-32 record. This has been a mixed bag of a season for Indiana. They've had stretches where they've looked like a rising team, full of young talent at every position. They've had other stretches where they simply look like the best of a lot of bad options. Coaches refer to teams like the .500 Sixers and say, "No one wants to play them in the postseason." That's not being said of Indiana. Everybody wants to play the Pacers, who look like the only bonafide gimme in either conference. With the top of the East standings more stacked than it's been in years, getting to coast through the first round would be a true luxury for whoever emerges as the circuit's top seed.

The West hasn't had a .500 or worse team make the playoffs since the Timberwolves squeezed in a 25-25 after the aforementioned strike season. The East has had a .500 or worse team in the playoffs in each of the last five postseasons. Sometimes, there has been more than one. As of today, only Indiana currently holds a playoff spot with a losing record, though the Sixers dropped back to the break-even level after losing to Dallas on Tuesday. However, Philly was one of the league's best teams in February and, one would hope, they'll parlay their +1.8 overall point differential into a final win total in the 43-35 range.

The Pacers, despite being five games under .500, have been outscored by just a smidgen, a fact that seems to give them a leg up over the Bobcats, whom they lead by a game. Also working in the Pacers' favor is the fact that Charlotte recently unloaded its second-best player by dealing Gerald Wallace to Portland. It was a big-picture, flexibility-creating move designed to eventually contribute towards a scenario in which the Bobcats can escape the no man's land of the NBA's middle class. It was also a signal that Charlotte owner Michael Jordan isn't particularly concerned with winning now. Usually when teams don't try to win now, they don't.

Both Indiana and Charlotte have more road than home games remaining and both face a collection of opponents that are a shade under .500 in the aggregate. The teams play once more, on March 23 in Charlotte, but the Pacers have won the first three head-to-head matchups, so the season series is theirs. Milwaukee leads the pack of teams lurking behind Charlotte and, really, is likely the only one of the bunch that is close enough to mount a charge. The Bucks currently trail the Pacers by four games. Milwaukee sports a point differential that is more than a point better than Charlotte's, which would indicate that they are the superior team. However, they are 1.3 points back of Indiana in this category, which underscores what is probably the main point: The Pacers are simply better than the teams behind them. That may indeed lock Indy into an eighth-place finish and a first-round series in which the Pacers would be a monumental underdog against the top seed, be it Miami, Chicago or Boston. For a franchise that has missed the last five postseasons, that'll have to be reward enough.

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LIVE AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS

Buyout Rankings: Evaluating the Free Agents (by Kevin Pelton): Tuesday night was the deadline for players to be waived in order to be eligible to compete in the postseason with a different team. We count down the best players who were waived or bought out within the last week. (premium)

The Clipboard: How Mike D'Antoni Can Make the Melo-Amar'e Combo Work (by Sebastian Pruiti): With a few tweaks, the Knicks may be able to capitalize on their new high-scoring combo that, at first glance, doesn't seem like a great fit. (premium)

Tuesday Truths: March-at-Last Edition (by John Gasaway): Notre Dame and Virginia Tech are scoring points, Gonzaga and UCLA are preventing points, and teams on the bubble are trying to earn some points. It's March, at last. (free)

Start/Sit Projections: Week of Feb. 28 (by Kevin Pelton): March comes in like a lamb for Ersan Ilyasova and Ty Lawson, but Mike Miller and Nicolas Batum will be hoping to finish the month better than they will likely start it. (premium)

Transaction Analysis: Deadline-Day Blowout (by Kevin Pelton): Breaking down all eight of the deals completed before Thursday's NBA deadline, including the Boston Celtics unexpectedly breaking up their starting lineup and the Oklahoma City Thunder making a leap toward contention. (free)

Timeline: Their Last Trade (by Dan Feldman): Most of the NBA was busy trading this week. But what about the other teams?

Live Chat: 2011 NBA Trade Deadline (by Basketball Prospectus): Join Basketball Prospectus' NBA analysts to discuss all the deals and rumors leading up to the 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline. (free)

Transaction Analysis: Deron Williams Stunner (by Kevin Pelton): It was a busy deadline eve, headlined by Deron Williams unexpectedly going from Utah to New Jersey. Transaction Analysis breaks down who made out well and who made questionable moves. (premium)

Making a Run: Chances for Denver and Utah (by Kevin Pelton): The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz were the sellers in this week's biggest trades. Can the remaining players still reach the Western Conference Playoffs? (premium)

Poll Position: Florida's Back (by John Gasaway): Since winning their second consecutive national championship in 2007, the Gators have gone 0-1 in NCAA tournament play. But in his feature for ESPN Insider John says this is Billy Donovan's best team since the days of Horford, Noah, and Brewer. (premium)

Follow Unfiltered, the Basketball Prospectus blog.

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HOOPS CHATS

Basketball Prospectus authors take your questions from time to time in always-popular chat format. All chats begin at 1 p.m. EST on the day listed (unless noted), but you can go in and submit a question beforehand if you like, or read the transcript after the fact.

Feb. 24: John Gasaway (TRANSCRIPT)

Feb. 3: Kevin Pelton (TRANSCRIPT)

Jan. 28: Bradford Doolittle (TRANSCRIPT)

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HOT FIVES

POWER RATING (POW)      GR (03/01/11)          WP82 -- ALL         WP82 -- ROOKIES
San Antonio Spurs, 62.6 calderon,jose, 36.9    james,lebron, 26.8  griffin,blake, 13.8
Boston Celtics, 58.8    howard,dwight, 31.4    rose,derrick, 21.5  wall,john, 4.9
Miami Heat, 56.9        billups,chauncey, 30.7 gasol,pau, 20.5     neal,gary, 4.7
Chicago Bulls, 56.8     lowry,kyle, 30.3       howard,dwight, 20.3 fields,landry, 4.5
Dallas Mavericks, 56.3  terry,jason, 29.4      paul,chris, 19.6    turner,evan, 3.4
Note: GR leaders are from previous night only.

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LEADERBOARD

EFFICIENCY MARGIN, FEBRUARY
TEAM, EM                          TEAM, EM
 1. San Antonio Spurs, +9.8       16. Portland Trail Blazers, -2.1
 2. Dallas Mavericks, +9.0        17. New York Knicks, -2.4
 3. Philadelphia 76ers, +8.5      18. Minnesota Timberwolves, -2.7
 4. Orlando Magic, +8.2           19. Milwaukee Bucks, -3.8
 5. Chicago Bulls, +7.4           20. Cleveland Cavaliers, -3.9
 6. Phoenix Suns, +7.2            21. Atlanta Hawks, -4.2
 7. Los Angeles Lakers, +7.2      22. Detroit Pistons, -5.7
 8. Miami Heat, +6.7              23. Golden State Warriors, -6.1
 9. Indiana Pacers, +5.7          24. New Orleans Hornets, -6.3
10. Denver Nuggets, +4.7          25. Utah Jazz, -6.7
11. Oklahoma City Thunder, +4.6   26. Toronto Raptors, -7.1
12. Boston Celtics, +3.4          27. Sacramento Kings, -7.1
13. Charlotte Bobcats, +2.6       28. Los Angeles Clippers, -8.8
14. Memphis Grizzlies, +1.8       29. New Jersey Nets, -9.4
15. Houston Rockets, +1.4         30. Washington Wizards, -12.2

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TUESDAY'S RESULTS

NOTE: Glossary is at bottom of page.

PACERS 109, WARRIORS 100 (box): In a game of extreme runs, the Pacers jumped to a 13-point first quarter lead, withstood a 21-1 Warriors run in the second and survived thanks to a 22-of-23 showing from the foul line in the second half and a 32-13 edge from the line in the game.

GSW (26-33).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  IND (27-32).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
curry,stephen........73%  29%  1.09  -19 24.7  granger,danny........68%  28%  1.19  +10 25.9
williams,reggie......54%  24%  1.91  +14 23.9  hibbert,roy..........70%  18%  1.11  + 5 16.7
lee,david............73%  22%  1.05  -14 16.5  hansbrough,tyler.....46%  24%  1.04  + 8 11.7
ellis,monta..........79%  22%  0.75  -14 13.3  mcroberts,josh.......52%  13%  1.69    0 11.5
wright,dorell........50%  17%  0.78  -26  6.5  george,paul..........35%  31%  0.93  +11 11.4
law,acie.............36%  17%  1.01  + 5  6.4  rush,brandon.........51%  12%  1.33  + 8 10.1
udoh,epke............39%   5%  2.12  +10  4.3  collison,darren......56%  16%  1.06  +12  9.8
radmanovic,vladimir..38%  13%  0.78  + 2  3.6  jones,dahntay........32%  25%  1.02  - 1  6.6
amundson,louis.......19%  13%  1.20  + 9  3.2  stephenson,lance.....29%  28%  0.57  - 2  4.7
biedrins,andris......28%  19%  0.18  -22  1.0  price,a.j............31%  16%  0.45  - 8  2.5
lin,jeremy...........13%   7%  0.30  +10  0.3  foster,jeff..........30%   4%  1.58  + 2  2.1
adrien,jeff..........(DNP)                     posey,james..........(DNP)  
PACE: 96.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 96.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Warriors.........  103.8 .489  .239 .135 .082  Pacers...........  113.1 .443  .250 .104 .164

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MAGIC 116, KNICKS 110 (box): Dwight Howard scored 17 of his 30 points in the first half and Jameer Nelson scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half as Orlando survived the Knicks' three-pronged attack, which saw a combined 85 points and 36-of-42 foul-shooting from Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

NYK (30-28).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  ORL (40-21).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
billups,chauncey.....70%  27%  1.57  + 2 30.7  howard,dwight........90%  30%  1.03  +15 31.4
anthony,carmelo......79%  32%  0.82  -11 25.4  nelson,jameer........73%  28%  1.11  - 5 21.0
stoudemire,amare.....79%  28%  1.02  - 1 24.6  anderson,ryan........50%  12%  2.60  +14 18.2
fields,landry........73%   6%  1.85  + 9 11.2  redick,j.j...........68%  15%  0.86  - 5 11.8
williams,shawne......64%  12%  0.95  -17  8.7  richardson,jason.....71%  14%  0.84  +16 10.5
walker,bill..........23%  22%  0.79  + 1  4.2  richardson,quentin...35%  23%  1.01  +15  9.2
carter,anthony.......34%   8%  1.22  + 4  3.8  bass,brandon.........38%  16%  1.10  - 6  8.2
turiaf,ronny.........28%   7%  1.11    0  2.7  duhon,chris..........27%   8%  1.91  +11  5.0
douglas,toney........40%  17%  0.25  -16  2.1  clark,earl...........22%  15%  0.82  -11  3.2
williams,shelden..... 9%  19%  0.04  - 1  0.1  turkoglu,hedo........25%  14%  0.28  -14  1.2
balkman,renaldo......(DNP)                     allen,malik..........(DNP)  
mason,roger..........(DNP)                     arenas,gilbert.......(DNP)  
PACE: 96.8          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 96.8          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Knicks...........  113.6 .413  .229 .134 .214  Magic............  119.8 .580  .229 .103 .227

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MAVERICKS 101, 76ERS 93 (box): Jason Terry scored 30 points off the Dallas bench, shooting 13-of-18 for the game and 8-of-9 during a 17-point second half as the Mavericks won for the 17th time in 18 games.

DAL (44-16).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  PHI (30-30).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
terry,jason..........64%  34%  1.36  +16 29.4  iguodala,andre.......76%  21%  1.13  - 9 21.8
kidd,jason...........77%  12%  2.69  + 5 24.9  meeks,jodie..........72%  14%  1.88  - 2 19.3
nowitzki,dirk........76%  24%  1.07  + 2 22.9  holiday,jrue.........78%  21%  1.05  - 6 15.0
marion,shawn.........62%  18%  0.94  +12 10.8  young,thaddeus.......63%  24%  0.86  - 6 13.6
barea,jose...........33%  29%  0.82  + 3  9.0  brand,elton..........75%  17%  0.79  - 1 11.0
stojakovic,peja......62%  12%  0.75  + 2  5.8  hawes,spencer........29%  22%  0.93  + 1  6.4
beaubois,rodrigue....26%  30%  0.63  - 8  4.4  turner,evan..........39%  23%  0.81  - 4  6.0
chandler,tyson.......28%  17%  0.70  + 7  3.4  williams,lou.........40%  21%  0.66  - 8  5.6
mahinmi,ian..........24%   3%  0.00  + 9  0.0  speights,marreese....28%  13%  0.80  - 5  3.3
mahinmi,ian..........(DNP)                     battie,tony..........(DNP)  
cardinal,brian.......(DNP)                     nocioni,andres.......(DNP)  
stevenson,deshawn....(DNP)                     songaila,darius......(DNP)  
PACE: 91.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 91.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Mavericks........  110.7 .571  .147 .142 .116  76ers............  101.9 .488  .156 .110 .116

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RAPTORS 96, HORNETS 90 (box): Jose Calderon racked up 22 points, seven rebounds and 16 assists as the Raptors handed the Hornets their 11th loss in 15 games.

NWO (35-27).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  TOR (17-44).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
west,david...........81%  26%  0.95  -13 23.1  calderon,jose........80%  18%  2.29  +18 36.9
jack,jarrett.........56%  21%  1.43  + 3 18.3  derozan,demar........74%  24%  0.77  +25 13.1
belinelli,marco......50%  30%  0.84  +13 16.3  johnson,james........44%  23%  1.51  + 4 13.0
landry,carl..........59%  21%  1.16  + 4 15.8  weems,sonny..........41%  35%  0.92  - 5 12.8
ariza,trevor.........44%  27%  0.84  -17  9.1  bargnani,andrea......70%  28%  0.62  +10 12.3
green,willie.........53%  12%  1.13  -12  8.1  johnson,amir.........77%  14%  1.08  +11 11.1
paul,chris...........79%  14%  0.86  - 7  7.9  davis,ed.............53%   9%  1.65  - 9  6.5
okafor,emeka.........44%  15%  0.41  - 6  3.2  bayless,jerryd.......20%   9%  1.60  -12  2.5
pondexter,quincy.....18%   6%  0.00  + 2  0.0  barbosa,leandro......40%   7%  0.12  -12  0.3
jack,jarrett.........(DNP)                     ajinca,alexis........(DNP)  
andersen,david.......(DNP)                     alabi,soloman........(DNP)  
gray,aaron...........(DNP)                     wright,julian........(DNP)  
PACE: 88.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 88.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Hornets..........  101.8 .476  .179 .147 .075  Raptors..........  108.6 .519  .171 .113 .075

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GRIZZLIES 109, SPURS 93 (box): The Grizzlies, who are second in the league in forced turnover percentage and first in steals percentage, forced 22 San Antonio turnovers and outscored the Spurs in points off miscues 30-11.

SAS (49-11).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  MEM (34-28).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
neal,gary............58%  27%  0.92  -10 17.5  randolph,zach........76%  29%  1.19  + 7 26.6
ginobili,manu........44%  21%  1.36  -11 14.1  conley,mike..........72%  18%  1.88  +10 26.3
duncan,tim...........55%  22%  0.95  -12 11.5  allen,tony...........69%  14%  1.81  +15 20.2
hill,george..........56%  22%  0.80  -13  8.8  arthur,darrell.......64%  35%  0.91  +13 19.4
mcdyess,antonio......45%  15%  1.22  - 4  8.8  mayo,o.j.............41%  25%  0.87  +13  8.9
quinn,chris..........44%  21%  0.91  - 3  8.4  young,sam............58%   9%  1.39  + 7  7.9
splitter,tiago.......31%  22%  1.37  - 5  8.2  haddadi,hamed........10%  28%  2.33  - 2  6.9
anderson,james.......36%  14%  1.55  + 2  8.0  gasol,marc...........26%   9%  2.17  + 3  5.4
blair,dejuan.........33%  28%  0.83  - 9  7.3  williams,jason.......27%  20%  0.86  + 3  4.7
jefferson,richard....57%   6%  2.14  -14  7.2  battier,shane........49%   5%  1.01  +11  2.6
novak,steve..........19%  24%  1.49  + 9  7.1  vasquez,greivis...... 4%  25%  0.00    0  0.0
bonner,matt..........22%  16%  0.92  -10  3.0  carney,rodney........(DNP)  
PACE: 84.6          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 84.6          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Spurs............  110.0 .494  .350 .154 .120  Grizzlies........  128.9 .528  .390 .118 .083

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BUCKS 92, PISTONS 90 (box): In the final 1:08, Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings had a layup, a block of a three-point shot, a rebound and two game-clinching free throws as the Bucks handed the beleaguered Pistons their 12th loss in 17 games.

DET (22-40).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  MIL (23-36).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
stuckey,rodney.......90%  24%  1.21  - 3 24.5  delfino,carlos.......82%  17%  1.68  - 6 25.3
monroe,greg..........76%  16%  1.20  + 9 17.4  jennings,brandon.....74%  31%  1.05  - 2 21.7
villanueva,charlie...52%  26%  1.15  + 1 15.5  salmons,john.........80%  16%  1.14  + 1 14.7
gordon,ben...........73%  15%  1.36  + 6 15.2  dooling,keyon........46%  23%  1.16  + 3 12.3
hamilton,richard.....54%  31%  0.70  + 4 12.4  brockman,jon.........55%  10%  2.02  - 2 11.4
maxiell,jason........24%  17%  2.00  - 9  7.4  maggette,corey.......42%  31%  0.81  + 1  9.5
daye,austin..........57%  12%  0.83  - 1  5.3  barron,earl..........33%  19%  0.99  + 5  5.0
bynum,will...........34%  24%  0.59  - 4  4.4  boykins,earl.........25%  21%  0.69  + 7  3.6
wilcox,chris.........33%   9%  0.85  -10  2.1  sanders,larry........63%  11%  0.44  + 3  2.9
maxiell,jason........(DNP)                     bogut,andrew.........(DNP)  
mcgrady,tracy........(DNP)                     douglas-roberts,chris(DNP)  
prince,tayshaun......(DNP)                     mbahamoute,luc.......(DNP)  
PACE: 86.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 86.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Pistons..........  104.2 .427  .340 .151 .102  Bucks............  106.5 .476  .370 .116 .117

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LAKERS 90, TIMBERWOLVES 79 (box): Kobe Bryant scored 20 of his 24 points in a 50-34 Lakers second-half surge. *yawn*

LAL (43-19).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  MIN (14-47).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
bryant,kobe..........66%  37%  1.01  + 4 20.7  johnson,wesley.......78%  24%  1.22  -11 22.7
bynum,andrew.........58%  26%  1.05  + 2 18.3  love,kevin...........77%  20%  1.06  - 4 18.2
gasol,pau............77%  16%  1.27  + 5 17.3  beasley,michael......80%  29%  0.69    0 17.4
odom,lamar...........65%  19%  1.22  +15 16.7  ridnour,luke.........67%  12%  1.43  - 5 12.6
brown,shannon........34%  22%  1.31  + 7  9.8  flynn,jonny..........33%   8%  3.63  - 6 10.2
artest,ron...........73%  15%  0.76    0  9.4  hayward,lazar........23%  33%  0.76  -13  5.6
fisher,derek.........62%  15%  0.89  + 2  8.9  ellington,wayne......22%  18%  1.07    0  4.2
walton,luke..........27%  16%  1.05  +11  4.4  milicic,darko........53%  17%  0.46  - 5  4.0
blake,steve..........38%   4%  2.15  + 9  3.6  tolliver,anthony.....22%   8%  0.42  - 5  0.8
caracter,derrick.....(DNP)                     tolliver,anthony.....(DNP)  
ebanks,devin.........(DNP)                     randolph,anthony.....(DNP)  
smith,joe............(DNP)                     telfair,sebastian....(DNP)  
PACE: 82.5          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 82.5          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Lakers...........  109.1 .406  .383 .158 .144  Timberwolves.....   95.7 .423  .222 .121 .085

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ROCKETS 103, TRAIL BLAZERS 87 (box): Kyle Lowry had 21 points and 11 assists, dominating his head-to-head matchup with Portland's Andre Miller as the Rockets won their fifth straight and moved back to .500 for the first time since New Year's Eve.

HOU (31-31).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  POR (33-27).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
lowry,kyle...........83%  26%  1.41  +20 30.3  batum,nicolas........76%  19%  1.44  -12 22.2
martin,kevin.........80%  22%  1.37  +21 26.9  wallace,gerald.......70%  24%  1.19  - 8 21.3
scola,luis...........85%  16%  1.61  +18 22.5  aldridge,lamarcus....85%  20%  0.97  -14 17.5
budinger,chase.......64%  23%  0.98  + 8 12.0  miller,andre.........75%  17%  1.24  -15 13.6
hayes,chuck..........71%   9%  1.47  +13 10.2  matthews,wesley......78%  17%  0.72  -16 10.2
lee,courtney.........46%  16%  1.28  + 5  9.6  mills,patrick........24%  34%  0.82  + 1  7.1
patterson,patrick....15%  35%  1.26  - 2  6.0  roy,brandon..........44%  17%  0.73  -10  5.8
miller,brad..........29%  14%  1.03  + 3  4.0  camby,marcus.........39%   6%  1.80  -12  4.6
dragic,goran.........17%  25%  0.43  - 4  1.7  babbitt,luke......... 1%   -%  0.82  + 2  1.6
williams,terrence.... 9%  23%  0.21  - 2  0.4  collins,jarron....... 5%  23%  0.35  + 2  0.4
hill,jordan..........(DNP)                     babbitt,luke.........(DNP)  
thabeet,hasheem......(DNP)                     fernandez,rudy.......(DNP)  
PACE: 83.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 83.3          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Rockets..........  123.6 .632  .143 .156 .058  Trail Blazers....  104.4 .480  .220 .120 .106

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

NEWS & MOVES

Confiremed deadline deals and other minutiae from press releases around the league

HEAT: The Miami HEAT announced today that they have requested waivers on guard Carlos Arroyo.

KNICKS: New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that forward Jared Jeffries has been re-signed as a free agent.

MAGIC: In support of center Dwight Howard and his tremendous play during the 2010-11 season, the Orlando Magic have re-launched www.Dwight4MVP.com.

TIMBERWOLVES: The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team and recently-acquired center Eddy Curry have agreed to terms on a contractual buyout. Subsequently, the team has placed Curry on waivers. Per team policy, terms of the buyout agreement were not disclosed.

WIZARDS: Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has waived forward Al Thornton after coming to an agreement on a contract buyout.

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

ON TAP

Tonight in the NBA

WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE    OFFICIALS
+11  phx @ bos,  7:30 PM EST [ bos by  9 ]   T.Washington, B.Forte, E.Lewis
+10  nwo @ nyk,  7:30 PM EST [ nyk by  2 ]   S.Javie, M.Lindsay, G.Zielinski
+10  chi @ atl,  7:00 PM EST [ chi by  3 ]   S.Foster, D.Collins, V.Palmer
+ 9  ind @ okc,  8:00 PM EST [ okc by  6 ]   R.Garretson, K.Fitzgerald, M.Smith
+ 4  cha @ den,  9:00 PM EST [ den by  8 ]   M.Callahan, P.Fraher, D.Richardson
- 1  hou @ lac, 10:30 PM EST [ hou by  1 ]   J.Crawford, E.Dalen, L.Wood
- 3  min @ det,  7:30 PM EST [ det by  2 ]   D.Crawford, M.Ayotte, M.Kogut
- 3  por @ sac, 10:00 PM EST [ por by  2 ]   K.Mauer, K.Cutler, K.Fehr
- 8  gsw @ was,  7:00 PM EST [ gsw by  1 ]   D.Jones, L.Richardson, E.Roe
-14  sas @ cle,  7:00 PM EST [ sas by 16 ]   E.Malloy, T.Brothers, H.Workman
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.

Through Tuesday, 899 of 1,230 games (73.1 percent) 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% (Play percentage) An estimate of the percentage of a team's 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: Estimated 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 a team's possessions resulting in a turnover.
FTA%: Percentage of a team's possessions resulting in a trip to the foul line.

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