Monday, November 15, 2010

Heat-Raptors: Where Garbage Time Didn't Happen



The Miami Heat had an 18-point lead on the Toronto Raptors three minutes into the third quarter after a monster dunk and three-point play by Chris Bosh. The most likely outcome seemed to be garbage time in the fourth quarter.

Only one problem - it didn't happen.

The Raptors went on a 16-3 run over the next six minutes as 12 of the Heat's next 14 plays ended in missed shots or turnovers. With a 2-7 team in the building on the second night of a back-to-back and the taste of a foul, two-game home losing streak in their mouths, why didn't the Heat finish the blowout of Toronto in the third quarter and render the entire fourth quarter garbage time?

This article will use Win Score and Estimated Wins Produced, statistical models created by Professor David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal, to measure how much a player's box score statistics contributed to their team's performance. An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (EWP48), a star player produces 0.200+ EWP48 and a superstar produces 0.300+ EWP48. More information on these stats can be found at the following links:


Game Recap
The Heat didn't blowout the Raptors because they played their worst third quarter of the season with an average EWP48 of -0.097. Only four of the nine Miami players that saw the court in the third quarter made a positive contribution - Dwyane Wade (0.086 EWP48), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (0.287 EWP48), James Jones (0.268 EWP48) and Eddie House (0.336 EWP48).

Those four players combined to score eight points and grab five rebounds with only one missed shot and one turnover to produce an estimated 0.112 wins in 41.8 percent of the minutes played in the  third quarter.

The other five players combined to wipe out that production with an estimated -0.233 wins produced. The worst players in the period were the two that have taken the most criticism this season: Carlos Arroyo (-0.516 EWP48) and Joel Anthony (-0.974 EWP48).

Anthony lost his starting spot to Ilgauskas, who came through with 0.196 EWP48 for 29.8 minutes. I don't know how often Big Z will be able to play that many minutes. He has only played more than 30 minutes per game once in the last six seasons.

The change in coach Erik Spoelstra's rotation resulted in Anthony's minutes getting cut in half because he continued to play Bosh at center for 10+ minutes/game. I mentioned in the preview for this game that Bosh didn't match-up well with Toronto's power forwards. Spoelstra minimized this weakness by giving Bosh 48 percent of his minutes at center against the weaker Andrea Bargnani and David Andersen.

Before this game, Bosh's production at center was below average with just 0.056 EWP48, but he dominated Bargnani and Andersen to produce 0.745 EWP48 for 10.5 minutes. Bosh's domination was limited by foul trouble and he only played 21.7 minutes.

The odd thing was that Spoelstra kept Bosh on the bench for the rest of the game after he got his fifth foul with 9:50 left in the fourth quarter but I couldn't find any articles stating it was an issue. I still think it was odd...

The spotlight may have been on Bosh before the game, but once the lights go on in the American Airlines Arena it's always about Dwyane Wade. Wade led the team in wins produced for the sixth time this season with 0.485 EWP48 but only 22.8 percent of his production came after halftime.

Miami's own James Jones protected the Heat lead in the second half. He was the second-most productive player for the Heat with 0.428 EWP48 and 57.7 percent of his wins produced came in the fourth quarter.

Joey Dorsey kept Toronto in the game with an insane rebounding night. Dorsey grabbed 40.5 percent of available rebounds for the 15.9 minutes he was in the game. He got the Raptors so many possessions at such an incredible rate that he was their most productive player with a phenomenal 0.901 EWP48.

Like Bosh, Dorsey was saddled with foul trouble and didn't play much in the fourth quarter. Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon kept the fourth quarter from becoming garbage time. Along with Dorsey, they were the only Raptors that performed above average in that quarter.

Calderon produced 0.201 EWP48 in the fourth quarter and 0.323 EWP48 for the game with a great shooting night (5-7 from the floor, 2-2 from the three-point line and 3-3 from the free throw line).

Bargnani produced 0.302 EWP48 in the fourth quarter by scoring nine points on 4-6 shooting from the floor, but he shot terribly for the game with just 22 points on 23 shots and four free throws (his adjusted shooting percentage was 39.1 percent). Bargnani also had a good second quarter with 0.347 EWP48 by scoring nine points on 4-6 shooting from the floor. Unfortunately, Bargnani missed all 11 shots he took in the first and third quarters to end the game with -0.088 EWP48.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Raptors. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled RAPTORS-111310).



The Big Picture
In addition to starting Big Z over Anthony, Spoelstra also changed his point guard rotation. He used Mario Chalmers as the first point guard off the bench instead of Eddie House. House usually comes into the game for Arroyo, but Spoelstra brought him in for Wade in the first quarter instead.

Chalmers made no positive contributions at point guard and House didn't do anything at shooting guard, either. The problem is that Chalmers has been below average all season at point guard (0.064 EWP48) but House had been very productive with 0.177 EWP48 for 67.7 minutes at the point. House has actually been below average at shooting guard all season with 0.056 EWP48 for 132.7 minutes.

When House plays point guard he obviously doesn't handle the ball but he does provide the knockdown shooting that Miami needs from that position. I don't know why he struggles with his shot in the shooting guard role but his adjusted shooting percentage is 11 points lower in lineups that use him at shooting guard.

Unless Chalmers picks his productivity up, I think Spoelstra needs to keep tinkering with the point guard rotation.

While I'm on the subject of point guards, the Heat's 6'8" point guard had a terribly unproductive game against the Raptors with just 0.011 EWP48. Thirteen missed shots from the floor, four missed shots from the line and just two rebounds in 39 minutes were the cause of LeBron's low productivity number. It was the first time LeBron's production was below 0.200 EWP48 since the second game of the season on October 27, 2010 against the 76ers.

The Bigger Picture
The Heat struggled defending another point guard but the problems guarding Calderon were more like the problems the Heat had guarding Ray Allen and not Rajon Rondo. According to the ESPN.com shot chart, the closest shot Calderon took was 17 feet away from the basket but Miami's defense allowed him to shoot 5-7 from the floor. With all the focus on better defense against penetrating point guards, Heat fans shouldn't overlook the team's recent defensive problems against perimeter shooters, either.

If the Heat do start to force more missed shots, then Bosh will need to maintain the improved rebounding he showed against his old team. He grabbed boards at a rate of 13.2 per 48 minutes against the Raptors. His season average is just 8.9 per 48 minutes.

If Bosh could average 13.2 rebounds per 48 minutes, then I think he would be back in the discussion of players that deserve to make the all-star team. Wade and LeBron's spots are secure with productivity numbers above 0.200 EWP48 but Bosh's spot is not with a 0.115 EWP48.

If Bosh rebounds every night like he's facing the Raptors, then his EWP48 would nearly double to 0.227 and put him above the threshold for NBA stardom. It would also leave just three eastern conference power forwards with a higher level of productivity - Al Horford, Josh Smith and Kevin Garnett (see the Wins Produced Viewer).

Of those three players, only Al Horford has a higher scoring average than Bosh per 36 minutes, according to basketball-reference.com. Since scoring dominates perception in the NBA, I think the odds of Bosh making his sixth straight all-star game would improve tremendously if he increased his rebounding.

Finally, back on the Heat side of things, Wade's great game and LeBron's sub-par game caused them to switch places on the Heat Produced list. Wade is once again the most productive player for Miami this season. The top five is listed below.

Player (Est. Wins Produced)
1. Dwyane Wade (1.92)
2. LeBron James (1.69)
3. Udonis Haslem (0.88)
4. James Jones (0.87)
5. Chris Bosh (0.77)

You can find all of the updated stats for the Miami Heat's Estimated Wins Produced on the Heat Produced page.

Unless referenced otherwise, original game data used for this post was taken from popcornmachine.net and espn.com
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