Sunday, January 16, 2011

Heat Produced: A Cold Road Home From 1/7 - 1/15/11

The Heat Produced Page has been updated with stats from the Miami Heat's five-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls.

It was a long, cold trip for the Heat with a 2-3 record and efficiency differential of just -5.2. The defensive efficiency was 9.8 points worse per 100 possessions during the road trip and the offensive efficiency declined by 5.1 points. With that efficiency differential of -5.2 points per 100 possessions, the Heat were only expected to produce 1.7 wins on the road (see

So which players were responsible for the few wins they did get, and which players were responsible for the losses?

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 efficiency differential and wins. 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:

Stealing a Win with Teamwork & Defense in Milwaukee
The Heat only produced an estimated 0.431 wins in Milwaukee, according to Win Score, which implies they lost the game (since you would need at least 0.501 wins for a victory). The spreadsheet below contains the Estimated Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Bucks. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @BUCKS-010711).

So what happened? Did they steal a win on the road?

Not exactly. According to, the Heat's efficiency differential for the game was +5.9, which translates to an expected 0.684 wins.

The issue is that Win Score is just an estimate of wins produced. Thanks to Andres Alvarez from NerdNumbers, I also have access to the actual wins produced stats for that game against the Bucks. With Wins Produced stats from NerdNumbers and the allocation of positions and minutes based on substitution patterns from the play-by-play box scores at, I calculated that the Heat produced 0.682 wins in Milwaukee.

Miami Heat Wins Produced (WP) in Milwaukee:
  • LeBron James: 0.258 WP48, 0.220 WP
  • Carlos Arroyo: 0.254 WP48, 0.175 WP
  • James Jones: 0.399 WP48, 0.127 WP
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas: 0.177 WP48, 0.104 WP
  • Chris Bosh: 0.063 WP48, 0.044 WP
  • Juwan Howard: 0.136 WP48, 0.042 WP
  • Erick Dampier: 0.070 WP48, 0.029 WP
  • Mario Chalmers: -0.030 WP48, -0.009 WP
  • Dwyane Wade: -0.059 WP48, -0.049 WP
  • Team Total: 0.136 WP48, 0.682 WP

Milwaukee Bucks Wins Produced (WP) vs. Miami Heat:
  • Andrew Bogut: 0.320 WP48, 0.289 WP
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts: 0.364 WP48, 0.285 WP
  • Ersan Ilyasova: 0.240 WP48, 0.106 WP
  • Keyon Dooling: 0.131 WP48, 0.063 WP
  • Luc Mbah a Moute: 0.008 WP48, 0.006 WP
  • Jon Brockman: -0.076 WP48, -0.014 WP
  • Larry Sanders: -0.600 WP48, -0.035 WP
  • Earl Boykins: -0.202 WP48, -0.104 WP
  • John Salmons: -0.193 WP48, -0.142 WP
  • Corey Maggette: -1.146 WP48, -0.144 WP
  • Team Total: 0.062 WP48, 0.311 WP
A key difference between Win Score and Wins Produced is that the latter accounts for the impact of teammates' blocked shots and assists on a player’s productivity as well as team defensive stats such as Opponent's Three Point Field Goals Made, Opponent's Two Point Field Goals Made, Opponent's Turnovers, Team Turnovers and Team Rebounds. Once these factors were accounted for, the Heat players were more productive than the Bucks. Since the Heat had the better defensive efficiency, it makes sense that their players would be more productive once defensive efficiency was added to the measure of their productivity.

Moving forward, I would like to use the full Wins Produced model instead of estimated Wins Produced, but I haven't quite worked out the kinks of calculating full wins produced in the same format that I use for estimated wins produced. Once that's worked out, I'll convert all of the old box scores from estimated Wins Produced to full Wins Produced.

LeBron & Wade Takeover Crunch Time in Portland
The Heat have produced an estimated 30.6 wins this season. The third quarter has been the most productive with an estimated 9.1 wins produced, and the fourth quarter has been the least productive with an estimated 5.1 wins produced.

The story was different in Portland, however.

The Heat flamed out in the third quarter with an estimated -0.025 wins produced, but LeBron James and Dwyane Wade made up for it in the fourth quarter and overtime with a combined 0.443 wins produced. In fact, they were the only Heat players with an average WP48 greater than zero for the fourth quarter and overtime.

Wade averaged an estimated 0.476 WP48 in crunch time (which was amazing), but LeBron was twice as good with an estimated 0.948 WP48 for 15.6 minutes across the fourth quarter and overtime. That's what the best player in the NBA looks like, ladies and gentlemen.

Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @BLAZERS-010911).

Things Fall Apart
Things fell apart for the Heat after stealing a win with teamwork and defense in Milwaukee and a superhuman performance from LeBron James in Portland. 

First, the Heat's 13-game road-winning streak crumbled in Los Angeles against the Clippers. The Clippers came out and posted the best quarter in a Heat game this season with an inexcusable 0.737 estimated wins produced in the first 12 minutes.

The Heat got back into the game as Chris Bosh (0.230 EWP48, 0.190 EWP) battled Blake Griffin (0.233 EWP48, 0.209 EWP) to a virtual standstill and Dwyane Wade (0.323 EWP48, 0.276 EWP) outplayed Eric Gordon (0.168 EWP48, 0.146 EWP) but the starters weren't the problem for the Heat, despite below average production from LeBron and Carlos Arroyo. The Heat starters combined to average an estimated 0.162 WP48 while the Clippers starters only averaged an estimated 0.089 WP48.

The problem was that the Heat bench looked like a sinkhole and averaged an estimated -0.153 WP48 while the Clippers bench looked like superstars and averaged an estimated 0.308 WP48. To make matters worse, the Heat bench played more minutes than the Clippers and just dug a deeper hole for the team.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Bobcats. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @CLIPPERS-011211).

Rocky Mountain Horror Picture Show
Things didn't get any better in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back, at a high altitude. The Nuggets gave the Heat their worst loss of the season and became the first team to hold Miami's production below zero.

Wade led a race to the bottom with his third-worst performance of the season (estimated -0.435 WP48). In fact, Wade has the three least productive Heat games this season:

Five Worst Games This Season by a Heat Player
  1. Dwyane Wade, Nov. 22nd vs. Pacers: -0.494 Est. WP48, -0.387 Est. WP
  2. Dwyane Wade, Nov. 11th vs. Celtics: -0.400 Est. WP48, -0.335 Est. WP
  3. Dwyane Wade, Jan. 13th at Nuggets: -0.435 Est. WP48, -0.282 Est. WP
  4. James Jones, Dec. 23rd at Suns: -0.309 Est. WP48, -0.223 Est. WP
  5. James Jones, Jan. 12th at Clippers: -0.620 Est. WP48, -0.205 Est. WP
With LeBron out with a sprained ankle, James Jones got to start against the Nuggets and, as you can see in the list above, he went into the game coming off his second-worst performance of the season versus the Clippers. 

How did he do? Terrible. 

Jones only produced an estimated -0.142 WP48 in Denver and followed that up with his third-worst performance of the season in Chicago (which was the 10th worst game by a Heat player). The result is that Jones has declined from being an above average player before the road trip to a sub-par player averaging an estimated 0.072 WP48 for the season.

When I wrote about James Jones' decline last week, I mentioned that it was important for Mike Miller to step up and replace his production. Well, Miller got a chance to play without LeBron in the lineup and he took advantage of it to make his first positive contribution to the Heat this season. Unfortunately, it was only an estimated 0.009 wins produced in 33.3 minutes.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Bobcats. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @NUGGETS-011311).

Back in the House
Since LeBron James couldn't go against the Bulls, Eddie House decided to make up for his production off the bench. House was the most productive player for the Heat with an estimated 0.612 WP48. On a per-minute basis, it was the best performance in a game for the entire road trip.

The Heat managed to make the game appear closer than the final score indicated thanks to some great individual performances by Wade, Bosh and House.

The Heat got dominated in the first quarter as the Bulls ran out to a nine-point lead with an estimated 0.605-win gap in production. Wade and House turned it around in the second quarter and combined to produce an estimated 0.535 wins. Miller and Joel Anthony chipped in an additional 0.216 estimated wins to make it the Heat's fourth-most productive quarter of the season and helped the team take a five-point lead at the half.

The third quarter, however, was a different story. The Bulls came out with a 17-0 run and held the Heat to their second-least productive quarter of the season with just -0.316 estimated wins produced. It looked the game was going to get out of hand like it did in Denver until Bosh single-handedly kept the team from falling into the brink.

Bosh scored the Heat's first points in the third quarter with 6:59 left. He then scored or assisted the next 14 points for the Heat until Spoelstra took him out with 30 seconds left. Bosh produced an estimated 0.609 WP48 during his personal 14-2 run to keep the Heat within three points.

Unfortunately, Bosh's ankle was sprained in the fourth quarter and the Heat didn't have enough to pull off the upset without him. Despite Wade's heroics from beyond the arc, he finished the quarter with a slightly below average 0.092 EWP48 because he missed all three of his shots from inside the arc and three shots from the free throw line. If he knocks down those shots with his normal efficiency, then the game would have gone into overtime.

Instead, it ended with the Heat's third consecutive loss.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Bobcats. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @BULLS-011511).

Heat Produced for the Week Ended 1/15/11
The figure below illustrates the Heat production for the last five games, from 1/7/11 to 1/15/11. You can view the full spreadsheet HERE.

The only Heat player that performed above their season average for the week was Eddie House. In fact, House, LeBron and Wade were the only players that performed better than the average player last week.

The Heat's problems at center also returned over the last five games as they literally got zero wins from that position. The team took a beating from opposing centers like Andrew Bogut (0.254 EWP48), Marcus Camby (0.321 EWP48), DeAndre Jordan (0.132 EWP48), Nene (0.546 EWP48) and Kurt Thomas (0.338 EWP48) last week.

While the beatdown the team took at center could have been expected, the beatdown at power forward was not. Bosh and Juwan Howard only managed to produce an estimated 0.1 wins while getting outplayed in matchups with LaMarcus Aldridge (0.368 EWP48), Blake Griffin (0.233 EWP48), Kenyon Martin (0.376 EWP48) and Carlos Boozer (0.225 EWP48).

Lastly, the Heat went from dominating third quarters to losing them. The team produced an estimated -0.5 wins produced in the third quarter over the last five games. 

I like to give coaches credit for the way their teams perform after halftime, but it seems like Coach Erik Spoelstra deserves some blame for last week's poor performance, too. An estimated two-thirds of opponents' wins were produced in the first and third quarters of the last five games. Spoelstra has to have the team better prepared than that.

You can find all of the Estimated Wins Produced stats for the Miami Heat this season on the Heat Produced page.

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

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