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Just The Sports: Western Conference Playoff Breakdown (Denver vs. Los Angeles Clippers)

Just The Sports

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Western Conference Playoff Breakdown (Denver vs. Los Angeles Clippers)

Denver (3) vs. Los Angeles (6)

Because of the convoluted playoff format this season, the Denver Nuggets, by virtue of winning the Northwest Division, has the higher seed, but the Los Angeles Clippers, by virtue of having won more games, has home-court advantage. No, it does not make sense.

Getting past that, though, there is still a playoff series that must be played. Of the three games where these teams faced off against each other, the Los Angeles Clippers won two, which would indicate they would have a decided advantage over the Denver Nuggets.

Denver Offense: 106 points per 100 possessions
Los Angeles Defense: 103 points per 100 possessions

Los Angeles Offense: 105 points per 100 possessions
Denver Defense: 105 points per 100 possessions

The advantage does not look quite so decided anymore. In fact, it is only a slight advantage for Los Angeles in terms of how efficient the teams are.

To decide which team will end up winning this playoff series, we must turn to the PER ratings developed by John Hollinger. This will indicate which team gets the most
net production and subsequently has an advantage over its opponents.

Point Guard-Net PER simply does not lie. The Denver Nuggets get more production from their point guards than Los Angeles does from theirs (+0.9 to -0.1). Advantage: Denver

Shooting Guard-Denver also wins this production battle by having less worse shooting guards than Los Angeles (-1.4 to -4.9). Advantage: Denver

Small Forward-Yet another position where Denver gets more production (+5.2 to -0.3). Advantage: Denver

Power Forward-The Clippers have finally found a position where they have better net production, +9.2, than the Nuggets, -1.0. And what an advantage it is. Advantage: Los Angeles

Center-Cementing the fact that their frontcourt is stronger than Denver's frontcourt, Los Angeles has superior centers to Denver's (+1.3 to +0.1). Advantage: Los Angeles

Prediction: Los Angeles wins this series in seven games mainly because their advantage in the frontcourt trumps Denver's advantage in the backcourt by just enough.

Stats courtesy of


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