Unselfish Play Spurs San Antonio Streak
By Brian Martin
The San Antonio Spurs matched their franchise-record by picking up their 17th consecutive win on Saturday and will attempt to set a new mark on Monday against the suddenly struggling Indiana Pacers.
The numbers the Spurs have posted during this stretch of play, which began on Feb. 26, have been remarkable.
Scoring (Last 17 games)
The Spurs have outscored opponents by an average of 16 points during their 17-game win streak. The next highest differential is 11.2 by the Oklahoma City Thunder (11-6), followed by 7.2 by the Houston Rockets (12-5).
Shooting (Last 17 games)
You can't average nearly 112 points per game without shooting the ball well. And the Spurs have done it better than any team in the league – both overall (49.4 FG%) and from long-range (43.8 3FG%).
Rebounding (Last 17 games)
Since the Spurs are shooting so well, there are limited offensive rebounds available for them to grab. They are averaging just 9.4 offensive rebounds (26th in the NBA) during the streak, but lead the league in defensive rebounds at 36.9 per game. Overall, they sit just 0.3 rebounds per game behind league-leading Sacramento, a team with plenty of missed shots and offensive rebound opportunities.
Defense (Last 17 games)
The Spurs don't just put up gaudy numbers on offense; they have also been outstanding on the defense during their recent run. Not only do they lead the league in blocks over the past 17 games, they are also ranked first in defensive efficiency, giving up just 97.0 points per 100 possessions.
Combine their league-best defensive efficiency (97.0) and their league-best offensive efficiency (112.0) and you end up with a net rating of 15.0, which towers over the rest of the league. The L.A. Clippers are next at 12.1, followed by Brooklyn at 8.8 over the past 17 games.
But the statistic that truly represents the Spurs is assists.
San Antonio's motion offense is predicated on player movement, ball movement and unselfish play. There are no ball stoppers on the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, they lead the league in total passes at 24,102. They constantly bypass good shots for better shots and better shots for great shots. And thanks to SportVU technology we can measure this beautiful display of basketball with new assist metrics.
But first, lets start with the basics. The Spurs lead the league in assists per game on the season at 25.2 per game. They were at 24.3 assists per game prior to the streak and have increased that mark to an incredible 29.1 over the past 17 games.
Assists (Last 17 games)
During the streak, the Spurs are assisting on 68.8% of their field goals, tops in the league by nearly four percent; the Bulls are second at 64.9%. Before the streak began, the Spurs were assisting on 60.6% of their field goals, the seventh highest mark in the league.
When we look at the SportVU data, we can hone in on the Spurs' ball movement, thanks to the addition of the secondary assist metric. Often referred to as a hockey assist, the secondary assist is essentially the pass that set up the assist. Or the pass that set up the pass that set up the basket.
It is defined as a pass made by a player to the player who earned an assist on a made basket. The assister must make the assist within two seconds and one dribble for passer to earn a secondary assist.
On the season, the Spurs lead the league in secondary assists per game at 7.38 per game.
Here is a look at top 5:
San Antonio Spurs: 7.38
Los Angeles Clippers: 7.09
Atlanta Hawks: 6.94
Memphis Grizzlies: 6.89
Miami Heat: 6.10
Prior to the streak, the Spurs averaged 6.68 secondary assists per game. They have increased their secondary assists by 45.4% during the streak to reach their 9.71 mark over the last 17 games.
Season: 1,858 in 73 games: 25.45 per game
Streak: 494 in 17 games: 29.06 per game
Pre-Streak: 1364 in 56 games: 24.36 per game
Season: 539 in 73 games: 7.38 per game
Streak: 165 in 17 games: 9.71 per game
Pre-Streak: 374 in 56 games: 6.68 per game
Free Throw Assists (Any time a player makes a pass and the receiver is fouled within 2 seconds and 1 dribbles and makes a free throw)
Season: 198 in 73 games: 2.71 per game
Streak: 59 in 17 games: 3.47 per game
Pre-Streak: 139 in 56 games: 2.48 per game
Adjusted Assists (sum of assists, secondary assists and free throw assists)
Season: 2595 in 73 games: 35.55 per game
Streak: 718 in 17 games: 42.24 per game
Pre-Streak: 1877 in 56 games: 33.52 per game
Thanks in part to their offensive philosophy and willingness to share the ball, the Spurs have distributed their scoring very evenly during their win streak as no player averages 15 points per game. The Spurs are leading the league in scoring with 111.7 points over the past 17 games and their leading scorer (Tony Parker) is posting just 14.6 points per game.
Last season saw two winning streaks of at least 17 games -- the Miami Heat had the second-longest streak of all time with 27 straight wins in February and March of 2013, and the Los Angeles Clippers rattled off 17 straight wins in November and December of 2012.
Comparing Win Streaks
San Antonio Spurs (17 games, 2014)
Averages: 111.7 pts, 29.1 ast, 49.4 FG%, 43.8 3FG%
Scoring Leaders (over 9.0 ppg)
Tony Parker: 14.6
Tim Duncan: 14.3
Kawhi Leonard: 14.2
Manu Ginobili: 13.6
Marco Belinelli: 12.0
Danny Green: 10.9
Patty Mills: 9.9
Tiago Splitter: 9.2
Miami Heat (27 games, 2013)
Averages: 105.3 pts, 23.8 assists, 50.8 FG%, 40.3 3FG%
Scoring Leaders (over 9.0 ppg)
LeBron James: 27.0
Dwyane Wade: 22.8
Chris Bosh: 15.6
Ray Allen: 10.2
Mario Chalmers: 9.8
Los Angeles Clippers (17 games, 2012)
Averages: 104.7 pts, 25.6 ast, 48.5 FG%, 34.7 3FG%
Scoring Leaders (over 9.0 ppg)
Blake Griffin: 18.6
Chris Paul: 16.4
Jamal Crawford: 15.2
Matt Barnes: 12.9
Caron Butler: 9.8
DeAndre Jordan: 9.1
The top three scorers for both the Heat and the Clippers were all above 15 points per game. The Spurs have none that have reached that average. Miami was led by LeBron James (27.0 points per game), Dwyane Wade (22.8) and Chris Bosh (15.6). They had just two additional players average more than nine points during their streak.
The Clippers showed more balance, without a single player averaging in the 20s. They were paced by Blake Griffin (18.6), Chris Paul (16.4) and Jamal Crawford (15.2) and had three additional players average more than nine points during their run.
The Spurs have eight players averaging at least nine points during this streak and six are averaging in double figures. The Spurs have three players -- Duncan (14.3), Leonard (14.2) and Ginobili (13.6) -- all within a single point of their leader (Parker at 14.6).
Season Stats -- Passing and Assists
|Total Passes||24,102||1st||Next is Bobcats at 24,007|
|Passes Per Game||330.2||2nd||Behind Bobcats at 333.4|
|Total Assists||1,858||1st||Next is Clippers at 1818|
|Assists Per Game||25.5||1st||Next is Hawks at 24.7|
|Secondary Assists||539||1st||Next is Clippers at 525|
|Free Throw Assists||198||T-4th||Tied with Clippers, behind T-Wolves at 239, Bulls and Nuggets|
|Adjusted Assists||2,595||1st||Next is Clippers at 2,541|
|Potential Assists||3,523||1st||Next is Hawks at 3,488|
|Points Created||4,383||1st||Next is Clippers at 4,251|