Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Timberwolves' Bane: With LeBron James On Point, James Jones and the Miami Heat Shoot Down Minnesota 129-97

Kevin Love made  two free throws and the Minnesota Timberwolves only trailed the Miami Heat by eight points with 75 seconds left in the first half.  Then LeBron James and James Jones decided to initiate the blowout sequence:

MIN 53-61 MIA
1:07 53-64 James Jones makes 25-foot three point jumper (LeBron James assists)
0:52 Nikola Pekovic traveling 53-64
0:43 53-66 LeBron James makes driving layup
0:33 Luke Ridnour misses 26-foot three point jumper 53-66
0:32 53-66 James Jones defensive rebound
0:17 53-69 James Jones makes 23-foot three point jumper (LeBron James assists)
0:00 Chris Bosh blocks Wesley Johnson's driving layup 53-69
0:00 53-69 Zydrunas Ilgauskas defensive rebound

Eight points, two assists, one rebound later and the lead was extended by the LeBron-Jones connection from eight to 16 by halftime.  The Heat came out of the locker room and went on a 20-1 run in the third quarter to really put the game away.

The Heat produced 91 percent of their win over the Timberwolves from the beginning of the second quarter to the end of the third quarter.  Thanks to LeBron and Jones, Minnesota's chances of winning were gone in 75 seconds.

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
As a team, the Miami Heat produced an estimated 1.51 wins versus the Timberwolves (see the box score below).  Ninety-one percent of that production came in the second and third quarters.  James Jones single-handedly provided 11 percent of the win in the last 75 seconds of the first half with his illmatic accuracy from three-point range.

LeBron James was straight-up dominant in the second and third quarters as he slid between point guard and point-forward with ease.  LeBron produced 0.604 EWP48 in the second quarter and 0.957 EWP48 in the third quarter.  That level of production is two to three times the amount expected from a superstar! Bow down to something greater than yourselves!

LeBron and Jones weren't the only superstars for the Heat in the second and third quarters.  They got plenty of superstar-level assistance from Joel Anthony (0.384 EWP48), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (0.353 EWP48) and Mario Chalmers (0.514 EWP48) in the second and third quarters.

Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carlos Arroyo also pitched in with stretches of superstar play in the second or third quarters.  The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the game's box score. You can also view an easier-to-read version at Google Docs by clicking on the spreadsheet labeled WOLVES-110210.

The Big Picture
The game against the Timberwolves was another big performance by the Heat reserves.  The bench provided 58 percent of the production in just 47 percent of the minutes.  Every player off the Heat bench was well above average except for Jerry Stackhouse and Juwan Howard.

The Timberwolves had the opposite problem. Only three Minnesota players had an above average performance - Kevin Love (0.234 EWP48), Nikola Pekovic (0.136 EWP48) and Lazar Hayward (0.259 EWP48).

Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, those players only accounted for 26 percent of the minutes played.  The rest of the team's performance wasn't just below average - it was below zero.  The other nine Timberwolves weren't producing wins, they were producing losses - and that made it an easy win for the Heat.

The Bigger Picture
LeBron got off to a rough start this season with 17 turnovers in the first two games.  His production has improved every game since and Tuesday night's game was his best yet.  He produced an estimated 0.3 wins with 0.444 EWP48 against the Timberwolves and had an assist-to-turnover ration of 12:1.

The season has not progressed as well for Bosh.  His EWP48 has been up and down in the first five games.

Opponent (Bosh EWP48)
vs. BOS (-0.056)
vs. PHI (0.211)
vs. ORL (0.157)
vs. NJN (0.293)
vs. MIN (-0.133)

The game against Minnesota was his worst performance of the season so far, mostly due to his poor 4-12 shooting effort.  His per-minute productivity for the season has fallen below average with 0.094 EWP48.

The problems for Bosh have been pretty obvious - his shooting percentage and rebounding are below average this season.  Spoelstra said that he has not implemented a lot of the team's offensive playbook, so perhaps the additional sets and plays will get Bosh better scoring opportunities.

As for the rebounding, Bosh is only averaging 1.5 offensive rebounds per 48 minutes.  That's two rebounds less than his career average.  He's averaging three rebounds less per 48 minutes than the average power forward in a Heat game.

I'm not sure if the Heat defensive scheme is keeping Bosh's offensive rebounding numbers low by requiring him to get back on defense instead of crashing the boards, but it could be something to watch if his productivity doesn't improve as the season progresses.

Player (Est. Wins Produced)
1. Dwyane Wade (0.840)
2. Carlos Arroyo (0.744)
3. James Jones (0.741)
4. LeBron James (0.595)
5. Eddie House (0.563)

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

Unless referenced otherwise, original game data used for this post was taken from and


  1. It's taken me a while to get around to reading this blog, I read the first couple posts but then got behind...

    Anyway, I really like your game recaps. The quarter by quarter EWP48 is great as well as your description of pivotal turns. The only Heat game I've caught so far was against the Celts on opening, which was pretty underwhelming, as you know. Looks like I've been missing out though.

  2. Shawn:

    Glad you liked the game recaps. I'm open to suggestions for improvement, so if you have any then please leave them in the comments. This is definitely a work in progress.