Thursday, November 18, 2010

Phoenix Suns Get Crushed In The Bosh Pit

Chris Bosh scored 35 points in his best game for the Miami Heat but the last seven were the most important. Bosh's last seven points were nails in the coffin of a 21-8 Suns run in the third quarter that had cut the lead to 12. Bosh's last seven points started an 18-3 run by Miami that effectively put the game out of reach.

That was the good part of the game. The crazy part? It wasn't even the best part of the game for the Heat.

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 best part of the game for the Heat was the second quarter. The second quarter against the Suns was the second biggest gap in wins produced by the Heat and an opponent. 

Miami produced an estimated 0.8 wins more than Phoenix in that period. The only quarter the Heat produced a bigger gap than that was the third quarter against Orlando. The figure below shows the Heat performance against opponents by quarter.

One of the crazy things about the second quarter was that it was Bosh's least productive quarter, but he still managed to produce 0.373 EWP48. His worst quarter in the game was as good as Dwight Howard was all season!

The real story in the second quarter for the Heat was LeBron James. LeBron produced 1.44 EWP48 for 10 minutes in the second quarter, including a four minute stretch from the 5:16 mark when he produced 1.94 EWP48! Yes, there will be a lot of exclamation points in this article.

Foul trouble limited LeBron's playing time in the third quarter and that limited playing time resulted in Bosh being the most productive player against the Suns. LeBron was more productive than Bosh on a per-minute basis (0.767 EWP48 vs. 0.723 EWP48), but Bosh played 7.2 more minutes which resulted in him producing an estimated 0.455 wins compared to LeBron's estimated 0.368 wins.

As good as the Heat were in the second quarter, the Suns were just the opposite. Only two players made a positive contribution in the second period for Phoenix - Josh Childress (0.008 EWP48) and Grant Hill (0.032 EWP48) - and they were well below average.

In the third quarter, the Suns tried to prevent the game from descending into garbage time but they weren't as successful as the Raptors in the last game. The Suns comeback attempt was aborted by the lineup of Eddie House, Dwyane Wade, James Jones, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh. Here are the productivity numbers for that lineup in the third quarter:

Eddie House (PG) - 1.526 EWP48, 0.130 EWP
Dwyane Wade (SG) - 0.882 EWP48, 0.221 EWP
James Jones (SF) - 0.264 EWP48, 0.045 EWP
Udonis Haslem (PF) - 0.704 EWP48, 0.075 EWP
Chris Bosh (C) - 0.725 EWP48, 0.168 EWP

The players in that lineup combined to produce an estimated 0.639 wins for the Heat in the third quarter! The Heat produced an estimated 1.2 wins for the game! More exclamation points, please!

Oddly enough, the third quarter was the only productive stint in the game for James Jones. His productivity was below zero in every other quarter.

The figure below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Suns. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled SUNS-111710).

The Big Picture
The Heat ended their four-game losing streak to elite point guards with their win over the Suns. Steve Nash entered the game as the fourth-best point guard in the NBA with a 0.282 WP48. He only managed to produce an estimated 0.003 WP48, but he was struggling with an injured groin.

The most impressive part of the Heat defense was that they limited Nash to two assists and I don't think that had anything to do with his groin injury. The other three elite point guards Miami has played so far averaged 20.1 assists per 48 minutes, so the Heat defense definitely stepped it up.

The Heat don't play another elite point guard until December 8th when they go to Utah seeking revenge against Deron Williams and Paul Millsap. John Wall could be an interesting test before that on November 29th.

The Bigger Picture
The Suns were the fourth team this season the Heat reduced a team's productivity below zero. The other three teams are listed below.

Orlando Magic (10/29/10): -0.089
New Jersey Nets (10/31/10): -0.375
Minnesota Timberwolves (11/2/10): -0.509
Phoenix Suns (11/17/10): -0.207

Bosh's big game pushed him ahead of Udonis Haslem and James Jones on the Heat Produced list and he joined Wade and LeBron at the top of the Heat Produced list. I guess you could call the game Bosh's official coronation as one of the Three Kings. Here is the list of the top five players on the Heat in estimated wins produced:

1. Dwyane Wade (2.25)
2. LeBron James (1.986)
3. Chris Bosh (1.226)
4. Udonis Haslem (0.975)
5. James Jones (0.728)

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 and

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