Tag Archives: Denver Nuggets

East vs. West Week 15-18: FINALLY AN UPDATE

AFTER FOUR WEEKS OFF WE’RE BACK WITH AN UPDATE IN NON-CONFERENCE STANDINGS. My first draft was typed in all caps but I narrowed it down to one sentence. Over the four-week break from posting, I actually did post some statistics I calculated over all-star weekend regarding the two all-star games that you can find in the My Soup section.

Anyway, the East fared okay against the West just before and after the all-star break but also after the trade deadline. From weeks 15 through 18, they finished 27-34 but were 21-20 coming into last week if that makes sense. Many of those losses last week were close games, including Cleveland’s overtime loss to Houston on Sunday, and finished week 18 6-14.

Below is the updated week-by-week breakdown along with non-conference records from teams over the last four weeks.

week182

(Edit: If you compare the previous update to this one, there are slight changes in some weekly stats. I’m pretty sure I re-corrected the same errors I tried to fix in week 14, which was weird to say the least. Now, scoring margins and win totals all add up. Yay.)

So among other teams, Denver stunk, Houston played well, and Brooklyn has scored some wins that might not have been expected from them. They’re still doing that with a win last night over Golden State.

That’s all I have to say, though. WOW, GREAT ANALYSIS, but I don’t have much else to say as I have to post this ASAP and prepare for work way ahead of time than normal because SO MUCH SNOW.

Again, while I haven’t posted much at all on this here blog this season, I added some stats to the My Soup page. Otherwise, I’m writing at Nylon Calculus. In time I’ll add some different posts. I didn’t have time to post another Dream Team over all-star break like I originally planned, so I’ll save that for the season’s end. I already have a bunch of ideas for posts to write in the off-season.

As for the non-conference postings, I’ll include some more stuff next week than I did for this post. That shouldn’t be too hard since this week I just copied and pasted some statistics. Story of my writing lately, actually.

Enjoy the week.

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East vs. West Week 14: The East is rolling, plus some splits

I thought I wouldn’t write any non-conference roundups until the all-star break, but check out Week 14. THE EAST. There were supposed to be 27 games, but two were postponed on Monday:

(Note: There were a couple errors in a master schedule I have in Excel. Correcting them led to some minor changes in this week’s table compared to others. Minor, but noticeable. Most notably, Week 3 changed from 12-7 to 11-8. Simple data entry mistake that I didn’t notice until now.)

Anyway, the East since Week 7 are 81-89 and last week went 14-11 last week against the West, arguably their best stretch of non-conference play this season. Some of that is a little misleading, though. Oklahoma City is clearly better than New York even though the Knicks gave the Thunder a loss that could be huge in the long run, and Phoenix was likely going to win against Chicago and Washington when both were on tail-ends of back-to-backs. I’m not saying the Suns are worse than those two teams, but rest matters and they had an advantage each game.

And I’ve been meaning to run some numbers that paint a better picture than just looking at overall wins and losses, real or Pythagorean, the latter statistic a little goofy when applied the way I’ve been using it in these posts. I mean, I like to think after 450 games there is a large enough sample size to determine just how good or bad each conference was, and it’s not like anything I do will answer all questions, but I played around with some East-West splits anyway.

So below is what I looked at. I find Oklahoma City inconsistent health-wise to the point I left them off all splits save for conference-wide ones. That sounds crazy but I separated the West into the top eight and bottom seven seeds, but the Thunder were so weird to me that I left them off both. Like, when healthy they’re a playoff team, so it’s not totally fair to put them in the bottom seven where I wanted to see how the best and worst of the East performs against the mehhhh section of the West. This all might sound ridiculous and I apologize. If I run similar splits at the end of the season I’ll include the Thunder. Or just remove the top 8 teams and see if anybody notices.

Cleveland was a close call also, but I included them. This is all controversial, probably. The power I have on my own blog is out of control sometimes:

dasidhasda

Surprise, surprise! Good teams beat up on bad ones! Specifically the West though. I think that proves how much more deep the conference is, though most of us already knew and love to complain about that. Sure, the top five in the East can hold up versus the best in the West with an emphasis on the Hawks, but the sixth to eight spots (and possibly ten by the end of the year) in the West are obviously stronger than the same East seeds.

It is nice that the East has a juggernaut in Atlanta, though, and maybe Cleveland in time, making the conference at least tolerable. I might’ve already said this in previous posts, but the second round in the East is going to be pretty damn fun.

Anyway, hope the splits were interesting. Below is a look at this week’s non-conference games:

week15

Three Nuggets and Lakers games for the East to feed off of as well as a 13-9 home-road advantage, and the East has some decent firepower overall. The top five teams play nine of the 22 games INCLUDING A GOLDEN STATE-ATLANTA MATCHUP. That’s probably the game of the week, but I’m writing this before I’ve done the Watchability Rankings so who knows.

Anyway, enjoy the week.

Kevin Durant’s efficient explosion since Christmas

Tonight’s matchup between Oklahoma City and Denver should be another one of those I-CAN’T-WAIT-TO-SEE-THESE-TEAMS-IN-THE-PLAYOFFS kind of games we regularly see out West. Denver’s offense is back to lighting it up, scoring over 110 points in their last three games, with 137 and 129 coming against the Lakers and Celtics, respectively.

The most recent stretch for the Thunder has been bitter-sweet, however. The bitter is from going 4-3 since Christmas, when Westbrook last played. There are losses at Utah and Brooklyn but they took care of a back-to-back between Minnesota and Boston. 

The sweet comes from Kevin Durant‘s explosion while Russell Westbrook works his way back to the court. Obviously winning is more important, but check out Durant’s stat lines before (28 games) and after (seven) Westbrook last played:

durant avgggggggg

Clicking on the image gives you a less blurry view. My apologies.

Durant’s also been both as efficient with his scoring and productive in other areas of the game since Christmas, at least offensively:

durant advanced

Arguably most impressive is Durant taking on a higher usage rate while turning it over only half the frequency as before. Some of that is attributed to taking more shots, but Durant’s also assisting a higher percentage of the time.

As far as being fed the ball, Durant’s field goals have been assisted only 32.1 percent of the time after Christmas compared to 59.0 before. The main feeders have been Jackson and Kendrick Perkins (!!!), according to NBA.com, each recording seven assists to Durant. In the 28 games before, they combined for 31 assists while Westbrook racked up 78.

Here’s the before and after of Durant’s shot chart and shot distribution:

shot chart before

Very few to no corner threes, but still attacking the paint!  (Click to enlarge)

shot dist after

More threes, but also more free throw attempts.

Defensively, the Thunder’s allowed five more points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor but they’re nonetheless elite in either situation. What’s odd about that, though, is the starting lineup being so stingy on that end with Reggie Jackson compared to Westbrook. With Jackson, the Thunder’s allowed 16 less points per 100 possessions than with Westbrook and 25 points better overall, per NBA.com. That net rating with Jackson starting will be put to the test over the next 12 days as Oklahoma City plays the likes of Houston, Golden State, Portland, and San Antonio during that time (and playoff-contending Denver tonight). The other 12 games before the all-star break feature eight on the road.

By then, Westbrook should be nearing a return to the court. It’d be interesting to see him in the situation Durant’s currently in, and maybe sometime in early April that’ll happen if the league’s leading scorer needs a few games off. For now, though, we’ll have to settle for Durant’s remarkable production. Over his career, he’s averaged 30 points per game against Denver.

Let’s see if that gets a swift uptick tonight.

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