Advanced Boxscore for Finals Game 6: The What If Game

“Stercus accidit.”
― David Hume

As game six was ending, I was all set to go with my game review and finals review piece. It was called “Kawhi Legend”, went on at length about the players who were the best players in a Finals at close to his age (Magic and Russell), had the wonderful posterization dunk of Mike Miller as the lead picture, and featured a kick-ass poster of the best Finals performances of the last 28 years. But as you probably know, I actually work for a living, and work has been terribly busy. So I was extremely happy at the prospect of this series ending early. That meant an extra two days to do draft prep. It meant I got to go to the movies with my wife on Wednesday.

It was warranted too. The league was apparently debating bringing out the trophy to the floor in the final minute because the game looked like a foregone conclusion. And really, in my opinion it was. When Popp took Duncan out for Diaw with 28 seconds left, the Spurs had a five point lead. If you run those twenty eight seconds back a hundred times, I think you get it to play out like it did maybe once. But it did play out that way, and the Spurs made well documented errors (taking Tim out, not fouling on the rebounds of the first missed threes, missing free throws) and very likely gave away their fifth banner.

The lesson to be learned is that the high probability of an outcome does not by any means imply certainty. In layman’s terms: shit happens.

Let’s get to game six of my Advanced playoff box scores for the Finals.

A few quick notes before we go:

  1. We are using New Wins Produced numbers. I’m manually compiling them for the playoffs and NBA Geek has compiled them for the season. There will be some drift in the numbers as we go along (don’t worry: it’s a function moving averages), but it’s good enough for horseshoes, hand grenades, and tactical nuclear weapons.
  2. The Boxscore contains:
    • Basic information: Player, Team, Game ID (who, what, and when)
    • Classic Stats: Points, Shots, Offensive Rebounds, Defensive Rebounds, Steals, Blocks, and Assists (because the classics are classics for a reason).
    • Simple spins on classics: % of Team Minutes (player minutes as a % of total minutes available), Position (average player position)
    • Posession and Play stats: Offensive Plays: (Field Goal attempts) + 0.434 (Free Throw Attempts) + Turnovers; Usage of Offensive Plays: % of Offensive plays used by player when in the game
    • All the classic Offensive Efficiency stats (and some slightly modded ones): Effective Field Goal %= (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA; True Shooting %= Pts / (2 * (FGA + 0.44 * FTA), Points per Shot = Pts/FGA, Points per Offensive Play= Pts/Offensive Plays
    • “Do it Yourself” Offensive Point Margin Stats: Offensive Point Margin: this is the marginal value created by the player per offensive play spent. The calculation is: OPM = (Points per Play for Player – Avg Points per play for Player for League)*Offensive Plays for Player. Defensive Point Margin: this is the marginal value surrendered by the player per offensive play spent. The calculation is: DPM = (Points per Play for Opponent – Avg Points per play for Player for League)*Offensive Plays for Opponent. I’m doing this one by position averages per game. Combined Margin: this is just OPM-DPM
    • Rebounding Rates: % of Rebounds on Offense, % of Rebounds on Defense.
    • Points over Par: This is our points version of Wins Produced that tell you the direct effect of a player’s production on the game’s point margin. This is the key number boys and girls. In the interest of keeping it to each series and games I am using Point over Par in comparison to the players on the court for each game. What this means is that each player will not be judged against the average playoff production for their position but rather their opponents. This guarantees that on a game level Points over Par maps to actual point margin.
    • I’ve classified performances on a sliding scale:
      • Hall of Famer: 12.5 POP48 and Above. Submit tape of performance to Hall of Fame voters
      • Superstar: 5 to 12.5 POP48. Lebron on a regular night.
      • Star: 2.5 to 5 POP48. A good night
      • Starter: 0 to 2.5 POP48. Positive contributions to the outcome.
      • Bench: -2.5 to 0 POP48. Not worthy of a starting role.
      • Scrub: -5 to -2.5 POP48. Play only in case of emergency.
      • Traitor: less than -5 POP48. You’re wearing the wrong uniform.

Boxscores first:

Game 6 2

Now for the recap.

Heat-Spurs Game 6

Game 6

The biggest regret the Spurs should have is that they wasted epic performances from Tim Duncan (their past) and Kawhi Leonard (their future) in a closeout game. Miami took away Green, Manu was completely terrible, and Parker got outplayed. For the Heat, Mario Chalmers was utterly deadly. Their big three was not good but they came up big in spots.

I think that a key takeaway for this series is that the level of competition is insane.

Let’s talk series:

Finals thru 6

Kawhi Leonard pretty much locked up the MVP for this series. Remember that he’s only 21 and that he’s sharing the floor with the following likely or probable hall of famers: Tim, Tony, Manu, LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Ray, and T-Mac.

Throw in the fact that San Antonio looks to have cap space for max free agent this summer and the Spurs are sitting pretty even if they lose tonight.

For Miami, I’d give the MVP to Ray who’s consistently been excellent for his team in the Finals. If the Celtics had had this Ray last season they’d have an 18th banner. I need to find a sledgehammer to hit my head with.

Initial Prediction: SA in 6 and really I would do it again.

MVP so Far: Kawhi Leonard is your Finals MVP

LVP: Manu, this is breaking my heart.

Updated Prediction: Miami in 7. I have a hard time seeing San Antonio recovering from giving away game six like that.

With the Heat’s total win percentage at 54% (they should be favored by about a point and a half).


P.S. There’s some question on the model. I’ve put it in below. With a highlight as to what we are most likely seeing:

Right now the third (Mia in 7) and fourth (SA in 7) most likely outcomes are in play.

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