Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heat Produced: Three Wins in Four Nights, Can Miami Do It Twice?

Last week, the Heat won three games in four nights against the Pistons, Thunder and Cavaliers. The team produced an efficiency differential of +11.9 in those three games, which translates to an expected 2.6 wins produced. The Heat actually produced an estimated 2.3 wins.

This week, the Heat play three games in four nights against the Magic, Bobcats and Clippers. Can they do it again?

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:

Game 1 Last Week: Heat 88, Pistons 87
  • 7 PM on the way to AAA: It's announced Dwyane Wade won't play. Wade came into the game producing an average 0.246 wins per 48 minutes. Without him and Bosh in the lineup, the Heat went from a team expected to win 59 games to one only expected to win 47 games. Throw in the fact that it was the second night of a back-to-back for the Heat, and the Pistons chances to win the game doubled before it even started.
  • 8:30 PM Doc made the King's head erupt: In the span of 30 seconds, LeBron James tweaked his injured ankle and hit his head on Joel Anthony's knee in the second quarter. In the first quarter, LeBron dominated the Pistons with 13 points on six shots, two rebounds, one assist, no turnovers and no fouls to produce an estimated 0.831 wins per 48 minutes. That's eight times better than the average player, for the mathematically-challenged.
  • 9 PM Couldn't get with Greg and Ben: Mike Miller and Eddie House played the entire 2nd quarter and kept the Heat within three points of the Pistons by combining to produce an estimated 0.132 wins, but Greg Monroe and Ben Gordon were a problem. They combined to produce an estimated 0.158 wins in just 11 minutes of playing time for 0.689 est. WP48.
  • 9:30 PM T-Mac & Daye split the D up: In the third quarter, Tracy McGrady and Austin Daye exploited mismatches with Heat defenders that were either too small (Eddie House, Mario Chalmers) or too hurt (Mike Miller). T-Mac and Daye combined to shoot 7-9 from the floor, score 15 points, grab five rebounds and dish out four assists with just one turnover. They both played the entire quarter and combined to produce an estimated 0.311 wins for 0.622 est. WP48 and pushed the Pistons lead to four points going into the fourth quarter.
  • 10 PM The Heat escape with a win: By now, everybody's seen James Jones' block of Austin Daye's alley-oop dunk at the buzzer. If not, check it out here. While Jones' block preserved the win, LeBron's nine points on three shots with three boards, five assists, one turnover and one foul put the Heat in a position to win. LeBron played the entire fourth quarter and produced 1.033 est. WP48. Juwan Howard also stepped up big and grabbed four rebounds in the 6:35 he played in the fourth quarter to produce 0.801 est. WP48. Those rebounds were crucial because they fed a Heat offense that was scoring 130.8 points per 100 possessions in the final period, which was 22.7 points higher than the season average. In the first three quarters, the offense sputtered along at 100 points per 100 possessions, which was 8.1 points lower than the season average. 
LeBron (0.551 est. WP48, 0.509 est. WP for the game) and Juwan (0.565 est. WP48, 0.179 est. WP) were the most productive players in the game for the Heat. Mike Miller kept the team in the game in the first half with 10 rebounds (0.310 est. WP48 in the first half), but the injuries he sustained hobbled him too much to really contribute in the second half. He ended the game with 10 rebounds.

How good is LeBron James? He played all of the first quarter and the entire second half. The Heat's efficiency differential for those 36 minutes was +10.9 (which is how a 69-win team would be expected to perform) . For the season, lineups featuring LeBron without Wade and Bosh have an efficiency differential of +15.3 (which is how an 80-win team would be expected to perform). Original data for lineup stats taken from

The spreadsheet below contains the Estimated Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Pistons. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled PISTONS-012811).

Game 1 This Week: Heat at Magic

  • 8 PM Can they do it again? The Heat have a 45.3 percent chance of defeating the Magic tonight in Orlando, according to this formula.
  • Here's a breakdown of the numbers used to determine the Heat's probability of winning:
    • Miami Heat (34-14)
    • Orlando Magic (31-18)
      • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.136 (Powered by NerdNumbers
      • Average Possessions Per Game: 92.1
      • Days Rest: Two (last game was 97-100 loss at Memphis on 1/31/11)
      • Location: Amway Center in Orlando, FL (low altitude)

Game 2 Last Week: Heat 108, Thunder 103
  • 12 PM Three Kings, "What up?": It's announced Wade (0.246 est. WP48) and Bosh (0.191 est. WP48) will play, returning the Heat to the level of a 59-win team.
  • 1:30 PM First quarter, Thunder erupt: The Thunder opened the game with the 3rd most productive first quarter by a Heat opponent this season with 0.489 est. wins produced for a three-point lead. Oklahoma City's young trio combined to produce an estimated 0.686 wins in 32.6 minutes for 1.010 est. WP48 with 12-16 shooting from the floor, 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers. The Three Kings were slow out the gate and only managed produce an estimated 0.125 wins in 30.2 minutes for 0.199 est. WP48 with 9-14 shooting from the floor, 22 points, three rebounds, eight assists and four turnovers.
  • 2 PM OKC can't get with the Heat: Wade, LeBron and Bosh responded in the second quarter to produce an estimated 0.172 wins while Durant, Westbrook and Green's production was crippled to an estimated -0.201 wins produced. The Heat produced an estimated 0.252 wins in the second quarter while holding the Thunder to an estimated -0.133 wins produced. Miami took a three-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
  • 3 PM Heat can't get with OKC: The trios were closer to one-man shows in the third quarter, but the Thunder young 'uns had the advantage with a combined 0.102 est. WP48 compared to the Three Kings' -0.063 est. WP48. After Durant's big first quarter, LeBron continued the dominance he asserted over him in the second quarter. The King produced an estimated 0.520 wins per 48 minutes as he played the entire third quarter and scored 10 points on six shots with one rebound, two assists and two blocks. Durant folded under LeBron's pressure and didn't make a shot from the floor ,but he managed to go 7-8 from the line to produce a rather average 0.117 est. WP48 as he played the entire third quarter, too. Westbrook led the Thunder attack with 0.503 est. WP48 while Wade struggled with fouls and turnovers to produce -0.545 est. WP48.
  • 3:30 PM Heat dominate the fourth for a win: The fourth quarter wasn't about either team's trio as each combined to produce just -0.005 estimated wins in the final period. The fourth quarter was about the supporting casts. The Heat had one and the Thunder didn't. Miami's supporting cast produced an estimated 0.258 wins in the fourth quarter while Oklahoma City's supporting cast only produced an estimated  -0.196 wins. The fourth quarter heroes for the Heat were Eddie House and Joel Anthony. House produced an estimated 0.133 wins with five points and one steal in 34 seconds, and Anthony produced an estimated 0.110 wins with two points, four rebounds and three blocks in the fourth quarter. Mike Miller also came through with five rebounds in the fourth quarter, including a big offensive board that led to House's game-breaking shot, to produce an estimated 0.073 wins in the final period. For the game, Miller led the bench with 0.336 est. WP48. The Heat bench produced 0.173 est. WP48 for the game while the Thunder bench only produced -0.039 est. WP48. Nick Collison was the only Thunder reserve whose production resulted in a positive contribution at the end of the game but his productivity was below zero in the fourth quarter.
The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Thunder. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @THUNDER-013011).

Game 2 This Week: Heat at Bobcats
  • 7 PM Can they do it again? The Heat have a 63.5 percent chance of defeating the Bobcats in Charlotte on Friday.
  • Here's a breakdown of the numbers used to determine the Heat's probability of winning:
    • Miami Heat
    • Charlotte Bobcats
      • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.080 (Powered by NerdNumbers)
      • Average Possessions Per Game: 90.1
      • Days Rest: One (last game was 97-87 win at Detroit)
      • Location: Time Warner Cable Arena (middle altitude)

Game 3 Last Week: Heat 117, Cavaliers 90
  • 7 PM On the way to the AAA: The Cavs injury report included Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson, Mo Williams and Leon Powe. Those four players have accounted for 86 percent of the Cavaliers wins produced this season (see NerdNumbers). Without those four players, the roster the Cavs brought into Miami's American Airlines Arena was a five-win team. Karma indeed.
  • 8 PM It's all about Wade: The Heat destroyed the Cavs out the gate with an efficiency differential of +55.4 in the first quarter! Wade led the Heat to a 15-point lead with an estimated 0.206 wins produced in nine minutes for 1.100 est. WP48! The world needs more exclamation points!
  • 8:30 PM It's a different game: In the second quarter, the Cavs scored 37 points and produced the eighth-best quarter of any Heat opponent with an estimated 0.480 wins produced. Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson combined to account for 55 percent of that production with 0.715 est. WP48. Bosh struggled with foul trouble in the first half and Anthony only managed to produce two fouls in twelve minutes. They combined to produce an estimated -0.107 wins in 17.1 minutes for -0.300 est. WP48. The Heat may not have gotten out of the first half with a nine-point lead if Wade didn't put together another monster performance in the second quarter with 0.610 est. WP48 and several highlights.
  • 9:30 PM The defense is to blame: In the third quarter, the Heat and Cavs combined for 38 points - just one more point than the Cavs scored in the second quarter. The Heat turned up their defensive efficiency to hold the Cavs to 68.4 points per 100 possessions and push the lead to 17 points.
  • 10 PM Three Kings, no James: LeBron didn't play in the fourth quarter for two reasons - the Heat had a big lead and Miller was the most productive player on the floor. He knocked down two 20-footers and a three-pointer for seven points on three shots with three rebounds, one assist and no turnovers or fouls to produce an estimated 0.180 wins in 9:17 for 0.931 est. WP48. He also had plenty of help. Wade also scored seven points on three shots and dished four assists with only one turnover to produce an estimated 0.130 wins in 7:28 for 0.833 est. WP48. Bosh was also big in the fourth quarter with four points, three boards and one block to produce an estimated 0.103 wins in 6:23 for 0.773 est. WP48.
The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Cavaliers. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled CAVALIERS-013111).

The Heat ended their three games in four nights with an estimated 2.3 wins produced and three ticks in the win column. LeBron led the way with an estimated 0.8 wins produced (0.351 est. WP48) and Miller was second with an estimated 0.7 wins produced (0.322 est. WP48).

Miller's production will be important to replace Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo in the lineup during the playoffs because neither have been productive lately. Chalmers has only averaged 0.042 est. WP48 since becoming the starter and Arroyo has been the least productive player on the team since then with an average of -0.481 est. WP48 in 32 minutes off the bench over the last five games.

Spoelstra went with a lineup of Wade-Miller-James-Bosh-Anthony for 7:21 in the fourth quarter against the Thunder but the result was a -5 on the scoreboard. Miller wasn't the problem in that lineup, however. The problem was that Wade (-0.119 est. WP48) and Lebron (-0.185 est. WP48) were terrible. Spoelstra may have to go back to the pie charts to ensure those two can be productive together with Miller on the floor.

Game 3 This Week: Heat vs. Clippers

  • 12 PM Can they do it again? The Heat have an 86.4 percent chance of defeating the Clippers at home on Sunday.
  • Here's a breakdown of the numbers used to determine the Heat's probability of winning:
    • Miami Heat
    • Los Angeles Clippers
      • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.085 (Powered by NerdNumbers)
      • Average Possessions Per Game: 92.2
      • Days Rest: One (previous game vs. Hawks)
It looks like the Heat have a good chance of ripping off another three wins in four nights if they can beat the Magic tonight. Personally, I'm looking forward to the Clippers game because I want LeBron to posterize Blake Griffin for beefing with Mario Chalmers when they played them in L.A. I just don't know if his ankle will be up to it...

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

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

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