Tag Archives: Washington Wizards

The Wizards and the rare three-second violation in crunch time

The play often discussed from Washington’s 125-124 victory over Portland has been the game-winning basket from Markieff Morris, but just after he stepped out of bounds. Unfortunately for the Blazers, the missed call couldn’t be corrected with a review and the Wizards escaped in overtime. It was a crucial win for Washington after a second straight game on the road, while Portland fell two games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.

But there was another usual play that NEEDS to be talked about, one that happened with a minute left in the fourth quarter. No, not the four-point possession from Washington that put them up six points after trailing by 21 at halftime, but a defensive three-second violation against Morris. We can assume it was the right call (NBA.com’s play-by-play feed doesn’t offer a good look), but it’s one rarely ever made in crunch time.

Since 2002, there have been 12,773 defensive three-second violations in the regular season, or about 0.7 per game. That’s slightly more often than the similar violation on offense (0.5 per game), but they’ve occurred less frequently as the game progresses. The first half has accounted for about two-thirds of defensive three-second violations, 23 percent for third quarters, and 11 percent in fourth quarters and overtimes. Offensive three-second violations are more evenly distributed, though if we divide games not by quarters but four-minute blocks, both occur less often late in games.

Going back again to 2002, Morris’ defensive three-second violation was only the ninth called with one minute or less remaining and the first time since 2012. Even with fouling and garbage time, that seems weird given how much isolation occurs at the end of games as teams trade efficiency for having the final possession of the ball. With less player movement away from the ball, maybe it’s just easier to have those three seconds in a player’s mental clock, though it’s hard to camp in the lane against a high pick-and-roll and/or shooting spread out across the arc anyway. Cleveland, for example, sometimes gets these violations called in their favor not while LeBron James pounds the ball above the arc, but as he posts up on one side of the floor and the help defense waits at the rim for a bit too long. Those are the type of plays that have been pointed out in the NBA’s Last Two Minute Reports when a violation was missed. Who knows, maybe it’s something defenses have commonly taken advantage of, at least in crunch time.

The Wizards were up six points at the time of the call on Morris, still a nice lead (97.6 percent win probability, via Inpredictable) where the Blazers had to score every time they had the ball and get defensive stops each time, but the technical free throw opened more scenarios for how that could be accomplished. Portland scored four points on one possession (the technical free throw plus a three-pointer), two points on another, and stopped Washington twice on defense. They almost prevented another game-winner in overtime, but we know now Morris’ bucket couldn’t be overturned.

All statistics were according to play-by-play data from NBA.com. Violation totals were through March 11.

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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.

East vs. West Week 10: Pythagorean madness

RIP Stuart Scott, who died Sunday at the age of 49.

A little late with the weekly roundup thanks to having the worst sleep schedule on planet earth.

Despite a legitimate Week 10 schedule for non-conference games, the West went 15-7 with a +10 point differential. That margin of victory made for a Pythagorean record of 17.6-4.4. Looking at the season so far, Week 10’s 2.6 win difference between the two win metrics is the largest we’ve seen this season. COOL. PYTHSANITY.

Below is the week-by-week summary below and actual scores from last week:

week10

So some large margins of victory came at the hands of East teams possibly running out of gas during their road trips out west. Philadelphia, Toronto, and Washington got, for the most part, roasted. In particular, this did not look fun for Washington:

Atlanta was/still is in good shape, though, having won at Utah and Portland on a back-to-back and the Clippers yesterday. WHOA. The top-5 or so out East gives the conference hope but it’s only January, for better or for worse.

Week 10 wasn’t pretty for all West teams anyway. The Sacramento Kings continued their downward spiral by going 0-3 on their road trip at Brooklyn, Boston, and the rising Detroit.

That’s about it for the bad times out West, though. A look into Week 11:

week11sched

The West enjoys another week of more home games, 14-9, though they already lost three of them. Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Miami, and Orlando will be traveling while Atlanta and Washington finished up their road trips last night.

Maybe this week will be different for the East. There are a lot of games featuring decent to pretty good teams from that conference and maybe they can squeak out an extra win or two compared to last week. But I’m not that picky. Losing by less than 20 points works, too. We need some more games that go down to the wire, specifically Cleveland @ Golden State on Friday.

Until next week.

East vs. West Week 9: The East finally breaks through

After six weeks of embarrassment and two of mediocrity, the East finally had a breakthrough week in non-conference play, finishing Week 9 10-6. Time for the occasional celebration with a ham sandwich.

Toronto, Atlanta, and Chicago cleaned up for the East while New York, well, no. Just, no. For the West, the Clippers and Nuggets struggled in their multiple non-conference games while Portland took care of business against New York and Philadelphia. Not sure which team is better than the other, but kind of want to lean towards the Sixers.

Anyway, catch up on Week 9 and every other week if you’d like. Below is the week-by-week breakdown and the rest of the latest batch of non-conference scores.

week9

Experimenting with table formatting, if you didn’t notice already.

If you missed Week 8’s summary, I also compared this season’s non-conference numbers with the last 44 seasons. Turns out the West had a record-breaking win percentage, along with the third-best point differential. After Week 9, though, those numbers obviously took a hit and the win percentage is no longer the best mark ever.

It could get worse as the better teams of the East start playing more of the non-conference games. Below is a look at the amount of remaining matchups for every team in both conferences.

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For the West, it’s somewhat balanced between how many of the East-West games have been played by the better or worse teams of their conference. Meanwhile, there’s been a problem in the East. Charlotte and Detroit are already halfway through their West schedule while Atlanta and Washington are only about a third of the way through theirs. The East has five niiiiice teams plus a feisty Milwaukee, but they’ve all played less games against the West than the bottom five in their respective conference.

Which brings us to Week 10. There are 22 non-conference matchups with Atlanta, Toronto, and Washington playing in 10 of them. The West will have a 16-6 home-road edge, though, as that’s one advantage the East had early on in the season, one that will vanish over this week and next.

Below is a look at the full schedule:

week10games

Enjoy the week. Curious how Week 10 ends up for the East. Things are starting to change in their favor, but I also need to dig a little deeper to confirm this, me thinks.


Gilbert Arenas will be the third-highest paid player next season

A player whose career arc I once compared to Myspace, Gilbert Arenas will be the third-highest player in the NBA next season; even though there’s a 99 percent chance he won’t play a single minute on an NBA court.

Also known as ‘Agent Zero’ or ‘The Hibachi’, the total amount of salary Arenas will earn next season will be $22,346,536 according to Hoopshype. It’s the last year of a six-year contract he signed with the Washington Wizards before the 2008-09 season. Knee injuries—and coming back too soon from them—prevented Arenas from performing up to the lavish contract.

One of the most explosive scorers in the league when healthy, Arenas last played in the NBA in the 2011-12 season for the Memphis Grizzlies where he played 17 regular season games and averaged 4.2 points. He also played in six of seven playoff games for Memphis, but shot just 25 percent from the field, totaling only four points. That’s a far cry from the 29.3 points Arenas averaged during the 2005-06 season, only to follow it up with 34 per game in the playoffs.

After his stint with the Grizzlies, Arenas signed a contract to play basketball for the Shanghai Sharks of the China Basketball Association (CBA). During the 2012-13 season in the CBA, he averaged 20.7 points in 27.3 minutes per game. 20.7 is also the career points per game average for Arenas during his 11 seasons in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant ($30,453,805) and Dirk Nowitzki ($22,721,381) will be the highest and second-highest paid NBA players next season, though neither trump Michael Jordan’s 1997-98 salary of $33,140,000.

Edit: Though Arenas didn’t play a single game in the NBA last season, he was still paid the fifth year of the six-year contract he signed in 2008, which was $20,807,922. That means he could make as much as $43,154,458 without playing a lick in the NBA in two years. Must be nice.

(via HoopsHype)

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