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John Schuhmann

StatsCube: Playing the best lineup in the postseason

Posted Apr 15 2011 7:24PM

With the postseason set to begin on Saturday,'s StatsCube allows us to dig deep into the numbers and see what lineups have been most effective for each playoff team.

Sometimes, the numbers confirm what you see with your eyes. Sometimes they don't. But when taken in context, they always allow give you more information as you watch the games.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
Off.. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions


Most used San Antonio Spurs lineups

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1 Parker Ginobili Jefferson Duncan Blair 64 688 109.1 97.8 +11.3
2* Parker Ginobili Jefferson Duncan McDyess 41 229 115.0 101.8 +13.2
3 Parker Hill Jefferson Duncan Bonner 42 132 107.2 102.6 +4.6
4 Hill Neal Ginobili Bonner Blair 30 123 111.3 104.3 +7.0
5 Hill Neal Ginobili Bonner McDyess 26 108 128.0 94.7 +33.4
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 94.7 (14), Off. Eff.: 109.4 (2), Def. Eff.: 102.8 (11)
Post-break -- Pace: 94.5 (16), Off. Eff.: 110.1 (3), Def. Eff.: 107.1 (19)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 5

When you win 61 games, you have a lot of good lineups. Of the Spurs' 14 most used lineups, 13 outscored their opponents over the course of the season.

DeJuan Blair was the starter for most of the year, but he was replaced by Antonio McDyess in early March. And from the data, we see that McDyess' mid-range shooting clearly gives the Spurs a boost offensively.

Amazingly, lineup No. 5 above was the best lineup in the league among those (161 total) that played at least 100 minutes together, dominant on both ends of the floor. But its numbers are somewhat skewed by a five-minute, plus-17 stretch against the Mavs in Dallas on Dec. 30. And Gregg Popovich has only used it for 19 minutes since the All-Star break.

Against Memphis: 2-2, Off. Eff. = 107.6, Def. Eff. = 109.9

No Spurs lineup played in more than two games together against the Grizzlies. Their original starting lineup of Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Duncan and Blair was a plus-16 in 16 minutes total.

Most used Memphis Grizzlies lineups (not including Rudy Gay)

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1* Conley Allen Young Randolph Gasol 33 404 107.7 96.9 +10.8
2 Conley Allen Mayo Randolph Gasol 25 79 109.0 118.3 -9.3
3 Conley Mayo Young Randolph Gasol 23 61 102.4 112.4 -10.0
4 Conley Allen Young Randolph Arthur 17 54 102.5 97.5 +5.1
5 Conley Allen Battier Randolph Gasol 15 50 109.7 105.7 +4.0
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 94.6 (15), Off. Eff.: 104.4 (16), Def. Eff.: 102.5 (8)
Post-break -- Pace: 93.9 (17), Off. Eff.: 107.8 (10), Def. Eff.: 102.8 (10)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 6 (1 that doesn't include Rudy Gay)

With Gay out for the season, we have to ignore lineups that include him. That makes analyzing the data tough, because Gay was a part of seven of the Grizzlies' nine most used lineups.

With Tony Allen and Sam Young at the wings, the Grizzlies have been great defensively. And they clearly suffer on that end when O.J. Mayo checks in.

Up front, the Grizzlies get better defensively when Darrell Arthur replaces Zach Randolph or Marc Gasol, but they suffer offensively when Randolph steps off the floor.

Against San Antonio: The Grizzlies' starters were a minus-2 in 24 minutes over three games against the Spurs. Lineup No. 1 was a plus-four over two games, scoring 71 points in 30 minutes.

Spurs-Grizzlies matchup focus: Over the last four seasons, Randolph has shot 50-for-124 (40.3 percent) against the Spurs with Tim Duncan on the floor and 30-for-59 (50.8 percent) with Duncan on the bench.


Most used Oklahoma City Thunder lineups (with current roster)

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1* Westbrook Sefolosha Durant Ibaka Perkins 17 271 103.0 97.6 +5.3
2 Westbrook Harden Durant Ibaka Collison 51 160 111.3 96.1 +15.2
3 Maynor Cook Harden Collison Mohammed 18 120 113.6 101.0 +12.6
4 Maynor Harden Durant Ibaka Collison 41 117 108.6 101.9 +6.7
5 Westbrook Sefolosha Durant Ibaka Mohammed 12 99 107.2 100.3 +6.9
6 Westbrook Sefolosha Durant Ibaka Collison 30 92 103.9 105.1 -1.2
7 Westbrook Harden Durant Ibaka Perkins 15 90 107.9 97.9 +9.9
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 95.3 (13), Off. Eff.: 108.6 (4), Def. Eff.: 104.0 (13)
Post-break -- Pace: 94.7 (14), Off. Eff.: 109.5 (5), Def. Eff.: 102.3 (8)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 9 (4 with current roster)

Five of the Thunder's seven most used lineups included Jeff Green or Nenad Krstic. But while they've only had Kendrick Perkins healthy for a month, their new starting lineup has already logged a good amount of time together. And Perkins has clearly made an impact defensively.

The Thunder's old starting lineup (with Green and Krstic) was pretty bad defensively, allowing 107.4 points per 100 possessions. All season long, the OKC bench has done a better job of defending and moving the scoreboard in the right direction. Nick Collison (plus-309), James Harden (plus-209) and Eric Maynor (plus-195) ranked first, third and fourth on the team in raw plus-minus.

Against Denver: 3-1, Off. Eff. = 112.9, Def. Eff. = 105.1

The Thunder's current starting lineup was actually a minus-5 in 32 minutes in their two games against the Nuggets in early April. Typical of the Thunder's season, their bench was most responsible for the two wins. Lineup No. 3 was a plus-10 in 14 minutes. Maynor was a plus-11 in each game, and in the April 8 win, Collison, Daequan Cook and Nazr Mohammed were a plus-22, plus-18 and plus-13 respectively.

Most used Denver Nuggets lineups (since trade)

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1 Lawson Chandler Gallinari Martin Nen 9 99 89.5 92.0 -2.5
2 Lawson Afflalo Chandler Martin Nen 7 98 100.9 92.6 +8.4
3 Felton Smith Chandler Harrington Andersen 13 58 115.9 105.4 +10.5
4 Lawson Felton Chandler Martin Nen 9 51 124.4 88.8 +35.5
5 Lawson Felton Smith Harrington Andersen 7 36 141.2 114.0 +27.2
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 98.0 (3), Off. Eff.: 109.5 (1), Def. Eff.: 104.8 (16)
Post-break -- Pace: 97.6 (6), Off. Eff.: 109.0 (6), Def. Eff.: 99.4 (5)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 3 (0 with current roster)

The Nuggets have dealt with a slew of injuries over the last month, so George Karl has had to mix and match quite a bit, and it's unclear who will be starting against the Thunder on Sunday night.

It's also unclear just how good these lineups are, because with the sample sizes so small, one or two good games can skew the numbers. What is clear is that the Nuggets are at their best defensively when Kenyon Martin is on the floor and Carmelo Anthony is in New York.

Against Oklahoma City: Lineup No. 1 was a minus-4 in 29 minutes in the two April games, shooting just 18-for-49 from the field.

Thunder-Nuggets matchup focus: Denver's point guards (Ty Lawson for four games, Chauncey Billups and Raymond Felton for two each) averaged a total of 34.3 points on 56.4 percent shooting in four games against the Thunder.


Most used Los Angeles Lakers lineups

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1 Fisher Bryant Artest Odom Gasol 75 953 113.2 100.5 +12.7
2* Fisher Bryant Artest Gasol Bynum 51 762 110.0 99.7 +10.3
3 Blake Brown Barnes Odom Gasol 45 209 105.3 93.8 +11.5
4 Blake Brown Barnes Odom Bynum 25 150 94.0 95.7 -1.7
5 Fisher Bryant Artest Odom Bynum 42 147 112.3 91.3 +20.9
6 Blake Brown Walton Odom Gasol 22 127 103.9 95.1 +8.8
7 Blake Brown Bryant Odom Gasol 33 110 119.4 103.0 +16.4
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 93.4 (20), Off. Eff.: 107.9 (7), Def. Eff.: 101.3 (6)
Post-break -- Pace: 91.9 (25), Off. Eff.: 106.3 (12), Def. Eff.: 99.2 (4)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 7

The Lakers had six guys in their rotation play 82 games and made only one minor in-season trade, so they have two of the five most used lineups in the league. Their core has been together for 3 seasons now, so you know what you're getting when guys step on the court.

The Lakers are at their best defensively when Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom are on the floor together, and at their best offensively with Pau Gasol and Odom. Lineup No. 1 ranked fourth offensively among lineups that played at least 300 minutes.

Against New Orleans: 4-0, Off. Eff. = 116.2, Def. Eff. = 101.5

Bynum played in all four games and lineups 1 and 2 were dominant, outscoring the Hornets by a total of 38 points in 95 minutes. All other Laker lineups were a plus-5 in 97 minutes.

Most used New Orleans Hornets lineups without David West

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1* Paul Belinelli Ariza Landry Okafor 10 162 104.6 110.5 -5.8
2 Paul Green Ariza Smith Okafor 19 50 116.1 92.5 +23.7
3 Paul Belinelli Ariza Smith Okafor 19 50 98.6 103.7 -5.0
4 Jack Green Pondexter Smith Gray 8 38 103.6 107.2 -3.6
5 Paul Jack Ariza Landry Okafor 8 30 109.9 94.5 +15.4
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 90.9 (29), Off. Eff.: 103.8 (19), Def. Eff.: 102.5 (9)
Post-break -- Pace: 90.7 (28), Off. Eff.: 104.7 (16), Def. Eff.: 106.3 (17)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 3 (1 without David West)

When David West blew out his knee on March 24, the Hornets' chances of making noise in the playoffs were damaged. So was our ability to analyze their potential postseason lineups. The Hornets' new starting lineup, with Carl Landry replacing West, outscored its opponent in only three of its 10 games, and was outscored by 33 points over the last four.

The Hornets were a plus-6.3 points per 100 possessions with Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor and West on the floor together. And they've clearly suffered defensively in replacing West with Landry.

Against L.A.: The Hornets' second game after West's injury was against the Lakers in L.A., and their new starting lineup was outscored 44-37 in 20 minutes.

Lakers-Hornets matchup focus: Against the Lakers over the last two seasons, Emeka Okafor has scored 19.1 points per 40 minutes and shot 66 percent with Andrew Bynum on the floor. In the same time, he's scored 12.0 points per 40 minutes and shot 48 percent with Lamar Odom on the floor.


Most used Dallas Mavericks lineups (without Caron Butler)

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1 Barea Terry Marion Nowitzki Haywood 47 350 111.8 103.5 +8.3
2 Kidd Terry Marion Nowitzki Chandler 44 187 118.8 98.9 +20.0
3 Kidd Terry Stevenson Marion Chandler 24 151 109.1 113.8 -4.7
4 Kidd Beaubois Marion Nowitzki Chandler 13 130 97.5 90.1 +7.4
5 Barea Terry Marion Nowitzki Mahinmi 24 113 115.7 97.1 +18.7
12* Kidd Stevenson Marion Nowitzki Chandler 10 53 114.5 87.5 +27.0
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 93.5 (19), Off. Eff.: 107.6 (8), Def. Eff.: 102.3 (7)
Post-break -- Pace: 95.3 (11), Off. Eff.: 108.4 (9), Def. Eff.: 101.1 (7)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 7 (5 that don't include Caron Butler)

The Mavs are an interesting study, because their most used lineup contains four guys that started a total of 47 games. And just before the playoffs began, Rick Carlisle settled on a starting lineup that can't have all that much chemistry.

The Mavs' new starting lineup has spent more than five minutes on the floor together in only four games. And while its numbers look impressive, they're skewed by a plus-17 performance back on Nov. 10 in Memphis.

Against Portland: 2-2, Off. Eff. = 110.9, Def. Eff. = 111.0

Only three Mavs lineups played in more than one game together against the Blazers. And the most used lineup against Portland didn't include Dirk Nowitzki, who didn't play in the Mavs' 84-81 victory on Jan. 4. Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, DeShawn Stevenson, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler were a minus-4 in 26 minutes together.

Most used Portland Trail Blazers lineups (with current roster)

No. PG SG SF PF C GP Min. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
1 Miller Matthews Batum Aldridge Camby 40 452 103.7 100.3 +3.4
2 Miller Matthews Batum Wallace Aldridge 23 303 122.0 108.9 +13.0
3 Miller Roy Batum Aldridge Camby 16 229 112.7 106.4 +6.2
4 Miller Matthews Roy Aldridge Camby 18 196 106.7 101.6 +5.1
5 Miller Matthews Fernandez Batum Aldridge 35 165 115.5 104.7 +10.7
6* Miller Matthews Wallace Aldridge Camby 6 60 94.9 87.5 +7.4
*Current starting lineup
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Overall --
Pace: 90.5 (30), Off. Eff.: 105.6 (11), Def. Eff.: 104.2 (14)
Post-break -- Pace: 89.2 (30), Off. Eff.: 107.2 (11), Def. Eff.: 104.1 (13)
Lineups with 100-plus minutes: 8 (5 with current roster)

Nicolas Batum started 67 games and was a part of six of the Blazers' seven most used lineups. But when he had everybody healthy in the final weeks of the season, Nate McMillan chose to go big with his starting lineup, bringing Batum off the bench.

Lacking perimeter shooting, the big lineup has struggled offensively. It has shot 47 percent from the field, but attempted only eight of its 96 shots from 3-point range. If McMillan uses this lineup against the Mavs, expect Dallas to play a lot of zone.

Otherwise, Gerald Wallace has given the Blazers an offensive boost. The Blazers scored 112.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor overall, clearly more potent when he plays the four.

Against Dallas: The lineup of Andre Miller, Wesley Matthews, Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby is the only one to play in all four games against the Mavs. And it was pretty successful, outscoring Dallas 62-53 in 31 minutes.

Mavs-Blazers matchup focus: Gerald Wallace is known for his defense, but he's not exactly a Dirk stopper. Nowitzki has shot 50 percent from the field over the last four years when Wallace has been on the floor, including 32-for-50 (64 percent) this season.

Click here for breakdown of the playoff lineups in the Eastern Conference.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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