Tag Archives: Houston Rockets

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.

Advertisements

East vs. West Week 8: So close, and how this season stacks up with the last 44

Week 8 was another close call for the West, finishing .500 at 11-11 and continuing their possibly never-ending streak of finishing weeks at that mark or better. However, it was the first week the West recorded a negative point differential (only -0.18, but still). I think Atlanta’s victory over Houston was the most impressive Week 8 game for the East, but take a look at the scores for yourself and the non-conference summary below.

week8asa

Seems like the West is cooling off, and with about one-third of non-conference games already concluded, I looked at how this year’s stats measure up against those since 1971. I chose that year as the cutoff since conferences were called divisions before that, and it’s also the cutoff I used in posts like this one.

Stats I looked at were:

  • Point Differential: This is where 2014 separated itself from previous seasons.
  • West PPG/East PPG: This kind of adjusts for high and low scoring games. A 70-60 victory may or may not be more dominant than 130-120.
  • Win Percentage
  • Pythagorean Win Difference: The West’s real record is better than their Pyth one. How unusual is this?
  • Pythagorean Win% Difference

In the future, I’ll look at different stats instead of repeating myself over and over.

So the West currently holds a point differential of +4.06, just short of 2014’s mark but still more than good enough to make the top 10:

pd

Ew, vertical screenshots (there’s a lot of them in this post)

As noted in some other posts, 1972 just wasn’t fair. Milwaukee, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, were new to the Western Conference and it kind of sort of had a huge impact on non-conference statistics. For 2015, there are still about two-thirds of the non-conference schedule to play out, so there’s plenty of room for the West to either pad their point differential or for the East to continue putting a dent into it like they have over the last two weeks.

Also, long live the 1998 East!

Adjusting for high and low-scoring seasons, I also divided the West points by East points and vice versa to find the 10 highest percentages:

pdperc

2014 and 2015 are more close to 1972 according to PD%, and 2015 is oh so close to the best of the last 15 seasons. Kind of crazy that seven seasons since 2000 make the top 10.

When it comes to win percentage, though, 2015 takes the cake. At least so far:

winpe

2014 was so close to topping the list before falling just short. I guess we’ll see if the 2015 West continues fizzling or comes back strong over the next four months (yes, there are still about four months to go).

When looking at how the West’s real win percentage stacks up against their Pythagorean one, 2015 isn’t too unique. According to point differential, the West has performed 1.8 wins better than expected, which is just above average when applying that amount for every ~150 games. From 1971 to 2014 (not including 1999), the average win difference is 4.8.

The difference in win percentage isn’t anything special either, and I’m not sure but maybe it’s a better measurement right now? The West’s real win% is 1.13 percent better than their Pythagorean one, and the average is about 1.33.

Below is look at the top 10 win% and win differences:

winperiffwestdiffsfsf

I suppose it’s worth diving into whether or not the West has had a cake non-conference schedule so far, or not, and has been either taking advantage of an easy schedule or performing strong against a, well, stronger-than-average non-conference schedule (edit: Easy schedule meaning rest advantages, etc.). Maybe in Week 9’s roundup I’ll look into that, and some other things. Maybe.

Below are the non-conference games this week, a smaller slate thanks to the holidays:

week9games

Enjoy the week! Maybe this is the one where the East goes over .500 for the first time. In the meantime, I’ll be ordering some holiday ham off Amazon.

East vs. West Week 4: Here we go again

In Week 2’s non-conference roundup, I noted that last year’s Western Conference began their dominance in weeks 3 through 7. They went 69-23 during that stretch.

Well…

With an 18-3 record and a +10.9 point differential versus the East, last week was arguably the West’s third most impressive since starting these posts. In weeks 3 and 7 last season, the West went 13-1 with a +13.14 point differential and 16-2 with a +10.00 point differential, respectively.

There could a case for last week to be ranked higher. The West went 18-for-21 despite 19 of the games featuring their team going off zero or one day of rest compared to 13 occurrences for the East, plus nine games where an East team had a rest advantage of one day or more. The East also had five more home games with a 13-8 edge.

The issue came, as you might’ve guessed, with talent. Using SRS as one measure, at the time of 15 of the 21 games, the West team had a higher mark, per Basketball-Reference. The West won 14 of those games, their only loss when Chicago defeated the Clippers without Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol. It was a hell of a victory for the Bulls and ended what was a struggle of a Monday for the East. The Lakers won in Atlanta the next day, the West went 5-1 on Wednesday, Sacramento and the Clippers took advantage of some missing players on Chicago and Miami’s squads in their TNT games, and the weekend was quite ugly. The West went 6-1 from Friday to Sunday and outscored opponents by a total of 100 points. Ew.

I’m not sure it gets that much better for the East. Check out what matchups take place in Week 5:

week5

The East has another five-game advantage at home, but as usual the West has some heavy hitters. Golden State and Dallas each play four non-conference games while the Clippers, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, and San Antonio play two each. For the East, most frequently on the menu-I-MEAN-SCHEDULE is Charlotte, New York, and Toronto. Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, Orlando, and Philadelphia combine for eight other games. For the most part, that’s not great.

Some other bad news for the East might be that Houston, without Dwight Howard, does not play another non-conference game for another month after Monday’s matchup versus New York. Minnesota, not doing too hot without Ricky Rubio, among others, is also on a bit of a non-conference break. They play their next non-conference game on December 3 (Week 6) before playing a bunch of East foes in Week 8. The East will avoid Memphis for a while, though, so at least they won’t match up against one juggernaut.

But a few more are looking to feast. Last season, much of the West took advantage of road trips out East and against those traveling on west coast trips. Let’s see if it also continues to be the case this season.

Shot locations and shooting efficiency in graphs

LeagueAvg

The percentage of a team’s points, sorted by location.

Sometimes I get bored and look for unusual topics to post about, which eventually leads to spending too much time on something like making graphs revolving around scoring and defense.

The graphs I made are pretty basic, I suppose. I might have fun with more over the weekend but I’ll just show what I fooled around with already. Basically, there are four different graphs for every team: team point distribution across six locations, team effective field goal percentage in five of those spots, and the same two for a team’s defense. All of the stats I used were from NBA.com.

The point distribution graphs show what percentage of a team’s points come from the restricted area, paint not in the restricted area, mid-range, the corner three, above the break three, and free throws. I experimented with field goal attempts per spot, but the graphs compared to point distribution looked about the same.

Below is a GIF of all 30 teams, sorted in alphabetical order. (The picture above the first paragraph was the league average for point distribution.)

Team points on Make A Gif

I can certainly post individual team graphs at another time, but I chose not to here for the sake of the amount of space it would take up.

That doesn’t mean we can’t compare some, though.

Portland and Houston are quite a contrast in styles, given one’s love for the mid-range jumper (and for a very legitimate reason) while the other neglects that part of the floor.

They both value the three equally, however:

Portland-Hou on Make A Gif

Philadelphia is somewhat similar to Houston except they rarely score from the corner three and their mid-range game is more prevalent. Also, they might have the right idea on offense but as we’ve seen recently they don’t score all that well and they struggle to defend. More on that in a bit. For now: POOR THADDEUS YOUNG.

Among other similarities are Atlanta, Brooklyn, Golden State, the Lakers, and Toronto all looking alike too.

Starting from the restricted area and going clockwise, the leader in points distributed to each category are: the Detroit Pistons (41.72%), Memphis (14.21%), Boston (22.62%), New York (21.41%), Miami (10.68%), and Houston (20.47%).

Below are graphs for where a team allows points:

Defense Distribute on Make A Gif

Among other teams, Indiana’s offense and defense are quite similar, for better or for worse.

The leaders in each category, starting at the restricted area and going clockwise are the Lakers (36.65%), Golden State (12.14%), Indiana (23.19%), Oklahoma City (18.98%), Miami (8.39%), and Phoenix (19.95%).

Effective field goal percentage from those areas of the floor — minus the free throw line — were another batch of charts I made for each team for the heck of it. You can really see where some offenses are great and others struggle from, though it won’t paint the clearest picture. The same goes for defense.

Below is offensive EFG%:

Team EFG% on Make A Gif

Miami’s efficiency is pretty freaky, especially when compared to Philadelphia’s. It helps when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh can score at the rim far above the average accuracy all while having shooters playing alongside them.

For Philadelphia, it doesn’t help when they’re a strong candidate to “Bobcat” and very few of their players can stretch the floor consistently, and Michael Carter-Williams isn’t one of them. Like mentioned earlier, the 76ers have a good idea on where to score on offense while playing at a frantic pace, but they don’t score anywhere near enough and their defense has fallen off a cliff.

Below is their contrast in their own EFG% and their opponents’:

philly on Make A Gif

Possibly noticeable in the GIF of offensive EFG% is Chicago, who also struggles mightily on offense but their defense holds its own.

Miami’s another interesting case. They can light teams up from the corners but that’s also a place opponents have shot well from.

Below is a GIF of the 30 teams and their defensive EFG% at certain spots on the floor:

Def EFG on Make A Gif

I also made GIFs of teams sorted by their offensive and defensive ratings, but overall there wasn’t a clear difference in those highly efficient in one area of the floor and those who struggle. Portland, for example, scores a bunch from mid-range with the help of LaMarcus Aldridge, but they’re also a top-5 team in offensive efficiency. On defense, the percentage they allow at the rim is quite good but they allow a ton of attempts from that area of the floor. Defense is weird.

In the future, I might fool around a little further with these kind of graphs for both teams and players. The ones listed here are pretty basic and obviously won’t paint a clear picture on offense and especially defense, but hopefully they were fun to look at and compare team by team. As (sort of) mentioned earlier, a page with every team’s graphs wouldn’t take long at all, though I chose not to include them here because of the amount of space it would take up when combined with GIFs.

Any thoughts, even if the graphs weren’t all that cool to look at, or requests on these are certainly welcome. Feel free to chime in.

The Texas Triangle and its neighboring franchises

A week ago, the Portland Trail Blazers finished their first road trip through the Texas Triangle since 2007, playing consecutive games on the road against the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets. They survived, which is always a question when teams travel to the Lone Star State for three games over a handful of days. Portland even had a chance to sweep after impressive wins over the Spurs and Mavericks, but they couldn’t muster enough defense to contain a Rockets squad, one that was missing Terrence Jones.

Overall, Portland finished a respectable 2-1. So too did the New York Knicks, who finished their trip through the Texas Triangle three weekends ago.

At least a couple teams each year (2.8 to be exact since 2000) play a combination of the Mavericks, Spurs, and Rockets in consecutive games with the results often disastrous. 42 trips have been made through the Texas Triangle since 2000 with 17 ending in three straight losses. Only nine finished with two or more wins with two leaving with a sweep: the 2002 Sacramento Kings and 2008 Boston Celtics. Since 2000, teams are a combined 30-96 against the Texas Triangle, good for a winning percentage of 28.6.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of their performance against the three Texas teams since 2000, when the West became the premier conference. (Any feedback on how that table looks is appreciated. Trying something new here.)

You might notice some teams missing from that table, specifically six from the East and four from the West. The Bobcats have been lucky enough (especially in 2012) to not slog through a road trip in Texas. Miami last went through the Texas Triangle in 1996 while Cleveland, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Toronto all went through it in 1997. For the West, Denver last took the trip in 1991, Phoenix in 1993, Charlotte/New Orleans in 1997, and the Lakers in 1998. The Lakers actually swept the Texas Triangle that year without Kobe Bryant for all three games, though Dallas was significantly weaker back then. They had neither Steve Nash nor Dirk Nowitzki and finished the season 20-62.

You might also notice the franchises neighboring Texas avoiding the daunting road trip. A factor that impacts scheduling in general, some teams go through the Texas Triangle more or less than others because of geography. Memphis, Oklahoma City, and New Orleans haven’t made the trip since moving from Vancouver, Seattle, and Charlotte, respectively. Also, like mentioned before, Denver and Phoenix haven’t made the road trip in over 20 seasons.

That’s a nice edge to have over the rest of the league, especially for the Grizzlies who went through the Texas Triangle four times in their final two seasons in Vancouver. Another benefit comes from the teams closest to Texas often included in road trips featuring the Mavs, Spurs, and/or Rockets. Portland finished their road trip not with the Texas Triangle but a road loss to Oklahoma City, and from March 7 to March 14 they’ll have another road trip of Dallas-Houston-Memphis-San Antonio-New Orleans. Had New Orleans not been rattled by injuries, the road trips to the that region of the league would only be more brutal than they already are.

Sure, that also means the Southwest Division is more competitive than others, but it’s more of a problem for the entire West with how each team plays each conference foe at least three times per season. Had divisions led to Dallas, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, and San Antonio playing each other six times instead of four, then there might be a problem. 

Right now there just isn’t any other area like Texas and its neighbors just north or east of them. A west coast trip often has Utah or Sacramento to capitalize on. The northern, central area of the league has Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit to feed off of. The entire Atlantic Division has been a mess this year while the southeast has Orlando and Charlotte in rebuilding mode. New Orleans is the only weak link of the south, but they could luck into a top-5 pick next year and already hold one of the best young prospects in Anthony Davis.

%d bloggers like this: