Stats & Info: Danny Green

Guarding LeBron is Spurs' top priority

June, 5, 2014
Jun 5

AP Photo/Kevin C. CoxWhat can the Spurs learn from guarding LeBron in last year's NBA Finals?

Do the San Antonio Spurs NBA Finals hopes hinge on simply stopping LeBron James?

The stats from last year’s NBA Finals would suggest so. But how should the Spurs handle controlling James and what can be learned from last year’s NBA Finals, when the Spurs gave James plenty of cushion on the perimeter?

Over or under the screen?
Because of James’ decision making, going over or under the screen is almost a moot point.

When James was the pick-and-roll ball handler last NBA Finals, the Spurs went over the screen 58 percent of the time and under the screen 42 percent of the time. The Heat were almost equally efficient in either scenario.

When the Spurs went under a James pick-and-roll, James shot more but as a team the Heat went 10-of-20 with 1.08 points per play.

When the Spurs went over a James pick-and-roll, James passed more but as a team the Heat went 11-of-23 with 1.03 points per play.

Giving too big of a cushion
The Spurs were able to limit damage on James' drives last NBA Finals, holding him to 40 percent shooting on those plays. To put that into perspective, James shot 64 percent on drives this regular season and is shooting 69 percent this postseason, both according to Player Tracking Data.

But giving James spaces to shoot didn’t work out as well as the Spurs may have planned, as he made 50 percent of his uncontested jumpers.

Who should guard LeBron?James’ three most common defenders in the half-court offense last NBA Finals were Kawhi Leonard (44 percent of plays), Boris Diaw and Danny Green (15 percent each).

James had his best success against Leonard, who may be the closest physically to James. Against the smaller Danny Green and thicker Boris Diaw, James struggled.

James vs. Green
Green’s quickness helped keep James away from the basket. James was able to drive on Green only four times in the series, and had a higher rate of taking jump shots off the dribble against Green than anyone else, going 2-of-9 on those attempts. James was also unable to get to the line against Green, drawing only two shooting fouls against him.

James vs. Diaw
James went 3-of-21 when guarded by Diaw last postseason and averaged 0.40 points per play (he averaged nearly 1.0 point per play against everyone else). Diaw’s size and speed created major problems for James. James was 1-of-6 posting up Diaw, 1-of-5 when driving on him and 1-of-10 when guarded by him outside 10 feet.

James vs. Leonard
James didn’t shoot well on drives against Leonard (2-of-7 FG), but found other ways to score.

James answered the inability to drive by posting up more, shooting 6-of-11 when posting up Leonard (2-of-14 versus all other Spurs).

When James had to shoot over Leonard, he started to do so with a quicker release. Only five of his 14 jump shots against Leonard in Games 1-3 were uncontested last Finals, but in the final four games of the series, 13 of his 22 jumpers against him were uncontested. James shot 50 percent overall (41.7 percent from the 3-point line) on uncontested jumpers against the Spurs last Finals.

Top stats to know: Spurs 112, Thunder 77

May, 22, 2014
May 22
Danny Green was lights-out from 3-point range again.
The San Antonio Spurs made it look easy ... again.

The Spurs routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-77 in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

It was the third-largest playoff win in Spurs history and tied for the worst playoff loss for the Thunder.

The Spurs improved to 8-1 at home this postseason, with seven straight home wins.

The Spurs have outscored the Thunder by 52 points through two games, the most a team has ever outscored its opponent in the first two games of a conference finals.

Difference-Maker: Danny Green
Danny Green tied his playoff career high with seven 3-pointers (he had seven in Game 3 of last season’s NBA Finals against the Heat).

Green is now 15 for 21 on 3-point attempts in the last three games, with at least four made 3-pointers in each game.

The Spurs are 17-0 this season (combining regular season and postseason) when Green makes at least four 3-pointers in a game.

Spurs dominate the paint
The Spurs scored 54 points in the paint in Game 2 after scoring 66 paint points in Game 1. This is the first time this postseason they've scored at least 50 points in the paint in consecutive games.

San Antonio has scored 46 more points in the paint than the Thunder in the first two games of the series.

Durant and Westbrook make a minimal impact
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 13 for 40 for the Thunder in Game 2.

Durant has had a hard time getting easy looks this series.

In fact, 64 of his 84 offensive touches against the Spurs have originated above the free-throw line. This has led to a near four-foot increase in average shot distance this series compared to the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Thunder were outscored by 34 points with Westbrook on the floor, giving him his worst plus-minus in any game in his career.

Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Night
The Spurs now have the winningest trio in NBA postseason history. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have played in 111 postseason wins together, one more than Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper.

Looking Ahead
The Spurs are 18-2 in best-of-7 series when leading 2-0 in the Gregg Popovich era. Their only series losses came in the 2004 conference semifinals versus the Lakers and 2012 conference finals versus the Thunder.

Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 series with double-digit wins in each game go on to win the series 95 percent of the time (77-4).

Keys to victory: Spurs 122, Thunder 105

May, 20, 2014
May 20
The San Antonio Spurs showed the Oklahoma City Thunder that the 2014 Western Conference finals won’t resemble the way things went during the regular season.

The Spurs pulled away late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter to win Game 1 of the series handily.

The Spurs have now won 10 straight Game 1s in postseason play (tied for the third-longest streak in NBA history), one shy of the record, last done by the Chicago Bulls from 1996 to 1998.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the Spurs “Big 3” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili has now won 110 playoff games, tying Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper for the most such wins by a trio in NBA history.

The Thunder went 4-0 against the Spurs in the regular season but could not finish this game off in a good way.

Difference-Maker: Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan scored 21 of his 27 points in the first half, making all seven of his shots in the paint in that time.

Sixteen of Duncan’s 27 points came when he was cutting to the basket. Five different players had an assist on Duncan’s baskets off cuts.

The Spurs outscored the Thunder 66-32 in the paint and shot 58 percent from the field overall (their best shooting game this postseason). The Thunder allowed 41.5 paint points per game against the Spurs in the regular season.

San Antonio also thrived when it drove to the basket, with no Serge Ibaka there to protect the rim for the Thunder. The chart on the right shows how well the Spurs fared.

Defensive specialist: Danny Green
Danny Green proved to be a shutdown defender for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Thunder missed 14 of 16 shots from the field and committed three turnovers in situations in which Green was the primary defender. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were a combined 2-for-9 when guarded by Green.

Green had held opponents to 42 percent shooting from the field in the first two rounds.

The Spurs outscored the Thunder by 30 points in Green’s 27 minutes on the floor.

Looking Ahead
The Spurs are 22-4 in best-of-7 series when winning Game 1 with Gregg Popovich as their head coach.

The Thunder are 3-2 all time when losing Game 1 of a playoff series since moving to Oklahoma City. Notably, they lost Game 1 of the 2012 Western Conference finals in San Antonio and recovered to win the series in six games.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

David Freese
1. FREESE PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF: The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Miami Marlins 4-1 in the first regular-season game at Marlins Park. FROM ELIAS: David Freese had three hits with two RBI. The only other reigning World Series MVP to have at least three hits and two RBI in his team's season opener was Pete Rose, who had three hits and two RBI for the Reds in their 1976 opener.

2. LeBRON ON FIRE: In a potential NBA Finals preview, the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 98-93. LeBron James scored 34 points. NEXT LEVEL: James accounted for 59.2 percent of the Heat’s points (58 of 98), his highest percentage in any game this season.

3. DYNAMIC DUO: The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 113-108. Andrew Bynum scored a game-high 36 points, and Kobe Bryant added 31. FROM ELIAS: Since 1990, the only other pair of Lakers teammates to each score 30 or more points and make at least 65 percent of their shots in one game was Bryant (35 points, 11-16) and Shaquille O'Neal (31 points, 15-23) against Golden State on Feb. 18, 2004.

4. SPURS SPREAD THE WEALTH: FROM ELIAS: The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Boston Celtics despite no San Antonio player scoring 15 points. (Danny Green led the team with 14 points.) It was the fifth win in the Spurs' NBA history in which they didn't have a player score 15 points, and their first since March 27, 2004 against Phoenix.

5. MASTERS TEES OFF: The Masters Tournament begins on Thursday, and since the Augusta National Golf Club added length in 2006, the Elias Sports Bureau says that no champion has finished the first round outside of the top seven on the leaderboard.