Points in the Paint

» November 11, 2009 4:52 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Brian Windhorst previews tonight’s marquee matchup between the Cavaliers and Magic:  “For the Cavs, the most important thing to watch in this game is the O’Neal-Howard matchup. This is something that can be judged and has an impact on a potential playoff series. It isn’t realistic to think Shaq can shut Howard down. What Shaq has to do is make Howard work. Not let him catch the ball four feet from the basket. Not be dominant to the point where the Cavs have to use double teams that mess up their defensive coverages. The Magic are going to try and counter with pick-and-rolls and that is an excellent strategy. Orlando has great shooters, but in a pick-and-roll the Cavs have to defend two players, not the 4-on-5 stuff when they were doubling Howard in the playoffs that led to many easy 3-pointers. Shaq has to make the defense hold up.”
  • John Schuhmann illustrates Andre Iguodala’s value to the 76ers:  “If you want to stick to standard stats, there are numbers that illustrate Iguodala’s value. Just take a look at the list of players who averaged at least 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals last season: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Iguodala. If you dare go deeper, check out how important Iguodala’s presence on the floor was for the Sixers’ defense last season, when Philadelphia was the 12th best defensive team in the league with a defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) of 104.7. With Iguodala in the game, that rating was 103.5, which would put the Sixers in the top eight defensively. With him on the bench, it was 110.4, which would put them in the bottom three. Iguodala’s on-off-court differential of 6.8 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end was greater than that of every All-Defensive Team selection (first and second teams) except for James. Not coincidentally, Iguodala led the league in minutes played. But while his coaches clearly appreciated his value, other coaches apparently did not. Fifteen players received more All-Defense votes than Iguodala did.”
  • Why do advanced statistics hate Kobe Bryant? Part two of a three-part series.
  • Hornets blog At The Hive on Steve Nash, MVP candidate:  “Considering the trends from 2007-2009 (universally downwards in PER, TS%, eFG%, AST%, and ORtg), Nash has had a very impressive start to 2010. Couple that with team wins, a statistic that people very often use to overrate individual players, and Nash’s value seems to inherently increase. But is Nash’s pace- which, by the way, is just a shade shy of his “MVP” years, a.k.a. Chris Paul’s rookie and sophomore years- sustainable? My initial inclination is no. The primary driver of Nash’s overall efficiency is his assist rate right now. He leads the league, right ahead of Paul, in assists per possession. A huge reason for this is that his team is shooting outlandishly from the field right now.”
  • Britt Robson on the upstart Dallas Mavericks:  “The biggest difference so far this season is Dallas’ decision to make the kind of defensive commitment that gets teams past the first round of the playoffs — and, unlike the productive but turbulent tenure of former coach Avery Johnson, the players seem enthusiastic about embracing the defensive-oriented approach of Rick Carlisle. It’s very early yet, but the Mavs are serving notice that even if Gregg Popovich repeats his typical pattern and has the Spurs in peak form by January or February, the Southwest Division will be a toss-up in Texas (with Rick Adelman’s overachieving Rockets trying to make it a three-way intrastate race). Terry traces the team’s new attitude to the start of the preseason, when strength and conditioning coach Robert Hackett began doling out 50- and 100-yard increments of ‘the lurch walk’ and the ‘defensive slide,’ which requires that the trunk stays low so the legs and torso are able to sustain constant pivots in any direction. ‘It’s helped all of us to move our feet quicker and stay down,’ Terry said. ‘As a shooter, I practice repetition, and this is the same thing; it gives us defensive muscle memory. Has it translated into wins? So far it has.’”
  • Mark Price, recognized as one of the greatest shooters of all-time, analyzes Rajon Rondo’s shooting stroke:  “‘Rajon brings the ball back behind his head a little bit. Good shooters should keep the ball out in front a little bit,’ said Price. ‘The other thing is his elbow has a tendency to fly out a little bit. We tried to keep his elbows in. He also has a tendency on ‘the catch’ to throw his elbows out. When you do that, you have to move them back in to get the shot up. That was one of the things slowing down his release a bit.’ Another issue Rondo has is shooting off the dribble.  ‘He has a tendency to play standing straight up,’ said Price. ‘You want to be in playing position, more in ready position.’” (Via CelticsBlog)
  • Charley Rosen recalls Phil Jackson’s final game with the Albany Patroons:  “The concluding game was played in Albany and ended in a fiercely contested 113-112 win for the Thrillers. Unfortunately, the balance was tipped by a horrendous last-second call by one of the refs. As soon as the final buzzer sounded, Phil’s accumulated frustrations overflowed: He grabbed a folding chair and hurled it on to the court. Not surprisingly, his last official act as a CBA coach, and his not-so-fond farewell to the league was accomplished with admirable technique as the chair slid across the floor, spinning wildly — before coming to rest in the middle of the center-jump circle.”

6 Responses to “Points in the Paint”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    I’m so glad Brian Windhorst is the Cavs beat writer.

    I’m amazed at how arrogant and fan-like some of these writers are. I thought for a while it was just Tom Knott and the Wizards guys, but the Orlando guys are ridiculous too.

    Glad the Cavs handed them a beatdown. Orlando needs to stop whining so much. SVG/Howard/Gortat

    Also, I read that “why PER underrates Kobe” post. What did you think? I thought it was pretty bogus, especially the defense-statistics part. Kobe overplays as much as anyone in the league so if anything, his defensive stats are overrated in PER, not underrated. His defensive efficieny numbers and on court/off court numbers show that too.

  2. john amaechi Says:

    The only thing that I have to say is that LeGone James must be chomping at the bit to get out of Cleveland and get into a Knicks uniform.

    or better yet a Nets uni. “What’s ma mufuggin’ name? Jigga…and who I’m rollin’ wit?… my ni….”

    Can’t wait.

  3. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Nice win for the Cavaliers, although there was little to take away from the game.

    Two of the first three whistles on Howard were questionable at best, which changed the complexion of the game.

    Mo Williams played out of his mind.

    Also, Orlando was missing Ryan Anderson and Rashard Lewis. Delonte West (MIA again) would have had an impact as well, but he doesn’t create as many mismatches as Anderson and Lewis. Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat had a ton of open looks, which Anderson and Lewis, no doubt, would have capitalized on.

    All in all, it was a good win for the Cavaliers. But, again, there were a lot of mitigating factors, not the least of which is the fact that Orlando was playing the second game of a back-to-back, while Cleveland had four days to rest and recuperate.

    Can’t wait to see how the season series shakes out.

    As for the blog at SS&R, I thought C.A. Clark made some good points, especially with regard to Bryant’s assist, steal, and block averages.

    I don’t think Bryant “overplays” the passing lanes as often as you think, but he’s definitely guilty of losing his man from time to time.

  4. Tsunami Says:

    Wow lots of excuses there Hoff.

    I agree with some of them, but it’s funny that similar excuses never apply for the Cavs – when they lose it’s because there was never any reason they were going win in the first place.

    They will continue to get better.

  5. Tsunami Says:


  6. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I don’t see any excuses.

    Looking forward to Game 2.

    Here’s hoping Lewis, Anderson, and West are in uniform, Howard and Shaq stay out of foul trouble, and both teams are rested.

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