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Dumpy's Statistical Analysis: Boston at NJ, December 9, 2006

Dumpy’s Statistical Analysis
December 9, 2006: Boston 92, New Jersey 90

Team Statistics

Possessions. The number of possessions (i.e., each time a team brings the ball up court) is a way to measure the pace of the game. For games involving running or trapping teams, the number of possessions will be high, possibly more than 100. For more methodical teams, the number of possessions may be closer to 80. Possessions can (generally) end one of three ways: on a field goal attempt that is not rebounded by the offense (this includes successful FG attempts); on a turnover, or through some free throws. Since this is an estimate based upon various statistics, and because the number of possessions should be approximately the same for both teams, we also present the average estimated number of possessions.

Boston 90.8
New Jersey 85.2

Offensive Rating. A team’s offensive rating is just the number of points scored per 100 possessions. The opponent's offensive rating can be considered the team's Defensive Rating. For the past few seasons, the average team offensive rating in
the NBA has hovered around 105.

Boston 104.5
New Jersey 102.3

Mediocre on both counts. Once again, the Nets played just well enough to lose. Or just bad enough to not win. Or something like that . . .

Assist Percentage. The assist percentage measures the frequency that successful field goals have been assisted.

Boston 58.1%
New Jersey 66.7%

"Big Four" Factors. The four primary factors that determine the outcome of a basketball game are: field goal percentage, offensive rebound percentage, turnovers, and the ability to get to the line and hit free throws. Offensive rebound percentage is measured as a percentage of rebound opportunities; turnovers are measured as a percentage of possessions; and free throws are measured by the percentage of time the team got to the line in relation to field goal shot attempts.

Boston New Jersey
FG% 38.8% 42.3%
OREB% 25.5% 35.7%
TOV% 12.5% 15.9%
FTA/FGA 41.3% 33.3%

And the effective field goal percentage:

Boston 41.3%
New Jersey 46.2%

I realize that I sound repetitive, but it is incredible just how many losses can be attributed to the turnover ratio. In this one, the Nets committed three more turnovers than Boston. That doesn’t sound like much, until you recognize that the margin of defeat was just two points. On the plus side, the Nets did create more steals than the opposition for what may have been the first time all season. Still, improvement in the turnover ratios would have to remain the #1 priority for this team. A lot has been written about the inconsistent defense, and yes, the defense would have to improve for the team to be considered a serious contender. However, a mild improvement in the turnover ratios, on both sides of the ball, would go a long way to improving the team record over .500.

In addition, in this particular game, the Nets had trouble getting to the line. This appears to be an isolated occurrence, so there’s nothing to say about this. Also, the Nets continue their strong rebounding, this time led by Jason Collins (five offensive rebounds in 24 minutes).

Scoring Possessions. This figure is an estimate of the number of times a team scores at least one point on a possession.

Boston 43.6
New Jersey 42.4

Field Percentage. This figure is an estimate of the percentage of times a team scores a basket on possessions where no free throws are awarded.

Boston 39.9%
New Jersey 44.1%

Number of plays. This figure is an estimate of the number of times that a team both gains and loses control of the ball, either when the opposing team gains control or when a shot goes up.

Boston 104.2
New Jersey 102.4

Play percentage. This figure is an estimate of the percentage of a team’s plays on which it produces a scoring possession.

Boston 41.8%
New Jersey 41.4%

Individual Statistics

Boston Celtics

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
S. Telfair 1.1 6.5 17.0% 36.2 2.3 0 12.6% -14
T. Allen 2.5 7.8 31.5% 59.5 4.7 5 29.0% 9
R. Gomes 4.9 10.1 48.7% 98.7 9.9 9 19.0% -27
P. Pierce 8.2 21.4 38.3% 82.0 17.6 17 30.7% -5
A. Jefferson 12.5 19.7 63.2% 126.7 25.0 29 27.9% 19
D. West 6.1 10.0 60.8% 154.6 15.4 16 16.6% 20
G. Green 2.9 6.1 47.5% 108.7 6.6 7 13.1% -7
B. Scalabrine 3.3 7.0 47.2% 94.8 6.7 7 17.9% 0
R. Rondo 0.6 0.6 100.0% 200.0 1.2 2 2.7% 15
L. Powe 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
W. Szczerbiak 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
A. Ray 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0

New Jersey Nets

Player Scoring Poss'ns Poss'ns. Floor% Offense Rating Points Prod. Points Scored % Tm Poss Plus/ Minus
J. Kidd 3.8 11.1 34.4% 81.4 9.0 5 17.3% 3
V. Carter 7.8 16.3 48.0% 104.0 17.0 19 22.5% 4
R. Jefferson 6.9 15.2 45.2% 99.7 15.2 17 22.8% -6
J. Collins 1.2 4.2 27.9% 59.2 2.5 0 9.3% 6
N. Krstic 9.0 15.1 59.5% 119.8 18.1 20 26.5% 10
M. Williams 2.1 5.2 40.4% 91.3 4.7 2 18.8% -13
A. Wright 2.5 4.7 52.4% 121.6 5.7 7 11.1% 4
E. House 3.0 5.8 51.1% 127.9 7.5 12 24.4% -15
M. Moore 1.5 2.5 60.6% 123.3 3.1 4 10.7% -4
H. Adams 1.7 1.7 100.0% 210.1 3.5 4 9.4% 1
B. Nachbar 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0
J. Boone 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0.0% 0

What more is there to be said about this game? Well, the big three played poorly, as can be seen in the offensive rating numbers. The bench generally played well, with four of the five reserves obtaining ratings above 120. For Boston, Gomes’ minus-27 is not a misprint. Finally, the trio of Marcus Williams, Antoine Wright, and Hassan Adams did not play together. As mentioned, this is a combination I believe will exhibit success, given the way their skills compliment each other’s. In the game against Phoenix, the trio was fairly successful in limited minutes. The starting five was minus-one in about 11:40 of play.

These individual statistics are estimates based on the premise that teammates should share credit for points and scoring possessions based upon their individual contributions to each play. They are derived from the research of Dean Oliver, and more can be read in his book, "Basketball on Paper."

Glossary for Individual Statistics:

Scoring Possessions: A scoring possession is awarded to an individual when he contributes to a team scoring possession. If multiple players contribute, then credit is split among teammates based upon a formula.

Possessions: Number of team possessions used by a particular player.

Floor percentage: The percentage of a player’s possessions on which there is a scoring possession.

Offensive Rating: Points produced by an individual per 100 possessions, as calculated by a complex formula.

Points Produced: The number of points a player generates through various offensive contributions, including assists, field goals, free throws, and offensive rebounds.

Points Scored: Number of points actually scored by the player in the game, which is included here for comparison to points produced.

Percentage of Team Possessions: How often a player uses a team possession when he is in the game. With five players on the court, an average value would be 20%.

Plus/Minus: How much the team outscores the opposition when the player is in the game.