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Just The Sports: Western Conference Playoff Breakdown (San Antonio vs. Sacramento)

Just The Sports

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Western Conference Playoff Breakdown (San Antonio vs. Sacramento)

San Antonio (1) vs. Sacramento (8)

The defending champion San Antonio Spurs square off against the Sacramento Kings in what promises to be a complete mismatch despite what Ron Artest may think. Yes, San Antonio had its fair share of injuries during the season, but that did not keep them from wrapping up the number one seed in the Western Conference. And it will not keep them from beating the hapless Sacramento Kings in a seven-game series. As far as the season series goes, San Antonio won it 2-1, but the games a team plays in a series are not always indicative of how good or bad a team really is. Therefore, we must take an in-depth look at these two teams' statistics and the net production so we can make sure that the obvious is really so obvious.

San Antonio Offense: 95.6 ppg
Sacramento Defense: 97.4 ppg

Sacramento Offense: 98.9 ppg
San Antonio Defense: 88.8 ppg

As is usually the case when opponents play at varying tempos, these simple statistics do not tell the whole story. They do, however, hint that Sacramento plays better defense than does Sacramento, but we will have a better idea when we equalize the tempo differences by seeing how each team performs per 100 possessions.

San Antonio Offense: 108 points per 100 possessions
Sacramento Defense: 105 points per 100 possessions

Sacramento Offense: 107 points per 100 possessions
San Antonio Defense: 100 points per 100 possessions

Over the long haul, seven games against the same opponent, look for San Antonio's defense to prove too stifling for the Sacrament Kings. The Spurs give up eight points less than they score per 100 possessions, while Sacramento's defense is almost too porous for its offensive output.

Furthermore, the net contributions the Spurs get in relation to the Kings supplies even more evidence of the Spurs' superiority. I will be using the net PER rating devised by John Hollinger.

Point Guard-Tony Parker, the Spurs' primary point guard, beats out Mike Bibby, the Kings' primary point guard, in a match-up that may be overhyped by the media. At least, in terms of net PER, there is no debate about which player helps out his team more. San Antonio's point guards' net production is +3.6, and Sacramento's point guards' net production is +0.7. Advantage: San Antonio

Shooting Guard-Here, the advantage San Antonio holds over Sacramento at this position is even larger than the advantage it enjoys at the point guard spot. San Antonio gets a net production of +5.6 while the Kings get no production at all with a net PER of -0.2. Advantage: San Antonio

Small Forward-The Sacramento Kings, +0.4, get slightly more production from this position than do the San Antonio Spurs, -0.2. Advantage: Sacramento

Power Forward-The net production for the Spurs, +2.6, is not as high as one would think for a team with Tim Duncan on it. However, he has been hurt throughout the season so the Spurs can use that excuse. Sacramento, with a -0.2 net production, has no excuses. Advantage: San Antonio

Center-San Antonio's centers, net production of +0.4, are just good enough to edge Sacramento's centers, net production of +0.1. Advantage: San Antonio

Prediction: San Antonio wins this series in no more than five games.

Stats courtesy of


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