“Great Teams Gut Out Close Wins in the NBA”: WRONG!

The NBA is a league where point differential is the single strongest predictor across an 82-game season of success and failure. 30 points is worth a win (give or take, and adjusted for pace, but it’s right around 30.) Which is to say, for every plus-one in point differential over a season, it’s good for about 2.7 wins. Every major advanced stat that deals with wins (from playoff-odds projections to Estimated Wins Added/WAR) is based on this principle. Which, in turn, creates a simple maxim. If you want to win lots of games, you need to win by big margins, …

Read More

The Indiana Pacers Are Golden State Lite

It is a maxim here at Pace and Space that “great teams win big and lose close.” Basic point differential theory dictates that a team that “guts out close wins” isn’t a good team, nor are they particularly better per se than a team that goes 72-10 but goes 5-3 in games decided by three points (IE one possession or less). After all, the 2016 Grizzlies went 8-3 in one-possession games. Were they “grittier” than the ’96 Bulls? Of course not! And part of that is the fact that Chicago was blown out exactly once in that greatest-of-all-time season, a …

Read More

How Good NBA Teams Lose And Bad Teams Win

There are, at present, three NBA teams that are indisputably good in the sense that they win at least 75 percent of the time, the bar a team needs to clear to go 62-20 or better; the Boston Celtics (18-3), Houston Rockets (15-4), and Golden State Warriors (15-5). There are also three teams in the Association that are so utterly putrid that they are on pace to win 20 games or fewer over an 82-game season; the 3-14 Chicago Bulls, 4-16 Atlanta Hawks, and 5-15 Dallas Mavericks. But if the best teams always won and the worst teams always lost, …

Read More

NBA Breakfast Special: Jeff Van Gundy Is A National Treasure

Jeff Van Gundy, national treasure, got assigned to a game that was competitive for about two quarters before the Golden State Warriors ran away with it in the second half to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 125-101. The game was dull, a mismatch, an exposure of Minnesota’s greatest weakness—their Letter League-quality defense. Luckily, this gave the Notorious JVG a chance to take a good swipe at the Ball family; LiAngelo Ball got busted for petty theft in China, and that…well, see it for yourself: Jeff Van Gundy and Dave Pasch discussing the UCLA incident in China, and also college athletics. pic.twitter.com/llrdhqt1vs …

Read More

NBA Breakfast Special: Dub Nation Defense

The Golden State Warriors are good at defense. Everyone always forgets this. Dub Nation got to see a slugfest at the Oracle Arena Monday night, as the Warriors beat Miami 97-80, dominating the boards 51-44 including a 13-7 edge on the offensive glass. They held the Heat to just 36.1 percent shooting from the field and limited Hassan Whiteside to only three points and six rebounds. Nobody on Golden State made more than five shots; all of their Big 4 made that many, but Stephen Curry missed 14 shots, Klay Thompson missed ten, Kevin Durant whiffed on eight, and Draymond …

Read More

NBA Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball Still Sucks

Damian Lillard was a hero on national television. Lonzo Ball continued to live up to his moniker of Dollar Store Westbrook, managing to fail to score, get rebounds, and dish assists. Ball had zero points on 0-of-2 shooting as he got frozen out of the Lakers’ offense at a time when if he’d been as good as the idiot yahoo on Twitter who once tried to tell me that Ball would average a triple-double (this was after that game in Phoenix the first week of the season), Los Angeles might not have lost the game. Instead, Lillard did this… IT'S …

Read More

Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Golden State Warriors

by Fox Doucette Are the Golden State Warriors any good? Well hmmmm, let me think about it for a minute. Hold on, this might take me awhile to decide, because… …are you flipping kidding me? Of course they are! They’re the overwhelming favorite to win the title for the third time in four years, it’ll be 2019 before they run into potential contract trouble (when Klay Thompson might up and decide to take a max deal somewhere else because he’s tired of winning all the time and wants to be Raptors-era Chris Bosh for a change…) So rather than make …

Read More