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

Just The Sports

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Western Conference Playoff Breakdown (San Antonio vs. Dallas)

San Antonio (1) vs. Dallas (4)

With the NBA's wacky playoff seeding, by virtue of these teams being in the same division, the fans are treated to a matchup of the NBA's two best Western Conference teams in the semifinal round, probably leading to an anticlimactic Western Conference final round. Still, whatever round these two teams play in, it will certainly be a treat to watch.

During the regular season, the two teams split the series, 2-2 so they are pretty equal in talent. However, it will be interesting to see how these two teams match up over a seven game series.

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

Dallas Offense: 112 points per 100 possessions
San Antonio Defense: 100 points per 100 possessions

There is very little difference between San Antonio and Dallas in terms of how efficiently the play the game. Dallas scores more points per 100 possessions, but they also allow more points per 100 possessions than does San Antonio. Once the net advantage in points is totaled up, San Antonio comes out on top of Dallas by only one point, a marginal difference.

Since looking at the teams' efficiencies did not supply a clear winner, let's take a look at how the two teams score their points.

San Antonio Jump Shot Offense: 45.0 pts
Dallas Jump Shot Defense: 43.2 pts

Dallas Jump Shot Offense: 49.5 pts
San Antonio Jump Shot Defense: 40.0 pts

As far as San Antonio's perimeter offense goes, there should be no problem scoring on the perimeter in the same manner their average suggests. This is because there is such a small difference in how many points Dallas gives up on jump shots and how many San Antonio scores on jump shots.

Where the disparity comes into play is between Dallas's perimeter offense. Most of their scoring is dependent on how well they can shoot from the outside so if San Antonio can play the same sort of defense they played on jump shots during the season, Dallas will be in trouble. If, on the other hand, Dallas is able to shoot up to or near their average, then San Antonio will be in trouble. This battle will turn out to be a big key to the whole series.

San Antonio Close Offense: 28.9 pts
Dallas Close Defense: 23.1 pts

Dallas Close Offense: 21.2 pts
San Antonio Close Defense: 24.7 pts

Dallas will have to pay close attention to the driving of Tony Parker. He led the NBA in scoring in the paint for much of the season and this is reflected in how many points San Antonio averages in shots close to the basket. Couple that with Manu Ginobili's forays into the lane and Dallas will certainly have its hands full with keeping the Spurs guards out of the lane. Also, Dallas has to worry about Tim Duncan's myriad low-post moves. Where San Antonio has to worry about Dallas's perimeter offense, Dallas has to worry about San Antonio's interior offense.

Since Dallas really has no interest in scoring in close, San Antonio has no reason to worry about their level of interior defense.

San Antonio Dunk Offense: 4.1 pts
Dallas Dunk Defense: 5.4 pts

Dallas Dunk Offense: 4.8 pts
San Antonio Dunk Defense: 4.9 pts

San Antonio Tip Offense: 1.4
Dallas Tip Defense: 1.6 pts

Dallas Tip Offense: 1.7 pts
San Antonio Tip Defense: 1.9 pts

Even though San Antonio plays well offensively around the basket, this not a team with players which play consistently above the rim. Dallas's players also do not concern themselves with playing above the rim. There is a negligible difference here at best.

Now, it is time to look at how much production each team gets from the five positions on the court. To examine the difference in production, we will be looking at the net PER rating.

Point Guard: San Antonio has an edge over how much they will be getting from this position (+3.6 to +0.9). Advantage: San Antonio

Shooting Guard: San Antonio also has a slight advantage at this position (+5.6 to +3.6). Advantage: San Antonio

Small Forward: Here, Dallas reverses the trend and out-produces San Antonio at the small forward position (+0.3 to -0.2). Advantage: Dallas

Power Forward: With Tim Duncan splitting his time between power forward and center while Dirk Nowitzki playing almost exclusively at power forward, it is really not surprise that Dallas has a significant advantage at this position (+8.6 to +2.6). Advantage: Dallas

Center: Here, the two teams give the same amount of production from whoever they plug in at center (+0.4). Advantage: Even

Prediction: With the two teams almost idential in terms of efficiency of play and each having an advantage over the other in where they prefer to score, it really came down to the actual production they get from their players. And overall, Dallas has a net advantage when it comes down to the PER rating so the Dallas Mavericks will win in seven games.


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