Playoffs 2017: West First Round -- Spurs (2) vs. Grizzlies (7)

Numbers preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

The San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies have a history; This will be the fifth time they’ve met in the playoffs. The Spurs have swept the Grizzlies in three of the previous four meetings, but the Grizzlies’ win (in 2011) was one of three times that a No. 8 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven series.

This time, for the second straight year, Spurs-Grizz is a 2-7 series. A year ago, the Spurs’ sweep came by an average of 22 points.

The Grizz are much healthier this year, though they’re likely to be without Tony Allen, who has a strained calf and was the primary defender on MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard in the regular season. Once again, the Grizzlies limped into the playoffs in more ways than one, winning only seven of their 21 games in March and April.

The Spurs were a regular season juggernaut again. They are, seemingly, the biggest threat to the 67-win Golden State Warriors. But San Antonio’s depth won’t be as much of a factor in the playoffs, when matchups can dictate success or failure. And this matchup won’t be nearly as easy as it was a year ago.

Spurs-Grizzlies series hub | Fran Blinebury’s series preview

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 2-7 series in the West, with links to let you dive in and explore more.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions

DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

San Antonio Spurs (61-21)

Pace: 96.4 (27)

OffRtg: 108.8 (7)

DefRtg: 100.9 (1)

NetRtg: +7.9 (2)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

vs. Memphis: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Spurs notes:

Had the league’s best record (29-14) in games that were within five points in the last five minutes and were one of two teams – Golden State (15-11) was the other – with a winning record (17-14) after trailing by 10 or more points.

Allowed 101.6 points per 100 possessions in 26 games against the league’s top-10 offenses, 4.0 fewer than any other team against that group.

Led the league in 3-point percentage (39.1 percent) and catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage (40.9 percent).

Took 29.5 percent of their shots from mid-range (between the paint and the 3-point line), the highest rate in the league. They had the league’s best field goal percentage from outside the paint (40.5 percent), but just the sixth best effective field goal percentage from outside the paint, because they were one of seven teams that took more mid-range shots (2,025) than 3-point shots (1,927). LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard ranked sixth and 12th in mid-range field goal attempts.

For the second straight season, they had the league’s best aggregate bench NetRtg (plus-8.9), which takes the per-possession plus-minus for bench players and weighs it by minutes played.

Had the league’s biggest drop in OffRtg (3.8 points per 100 possessions) after the All-Star break. They ranked fifth defensively (110.0 points scored per 100 possessions) before the break and 16th (106.2) after the break, finishing seventh overall.

Kawhi Leonard’s usage rate of 31.2 percent was the highest for any Spurs player since Tony Parker had a usage rate of 31.6 percent in the 2008-09 season.

Pau Gasol shot 54.4 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, the best mark among players who took at least 100.

Patty Mills shot 14-for-22 (64 percent) on clutch 3-pointers, by far the best mark among players who attempted at least 20.

Memphis Grizzlies (43-39)

Pace: 94.7 (28)

OffRtg: 104.7 (19)

DefRtg: 104.5 (7)

NetRtg: +0.1 (13)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

vs. San Antonio: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Grizzlies notes:

One of only four teams that allowed fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season.

Ranked last in field goal percentage, 2-point percentage, and field goal percentage in the restricted area.

One of two teams (Brooklyn was the other) that was better offensively on the road than at home. Had the 27th best home offense (103.4 points scored per 100 possessions) and the 13th best road offense (105.9).

11.6 percent of possessions were post-ups, the highest rate in the league.

Had the league’s biggest increase in DefRtg after the All-Star break. They ranked 4th defensively (102.8 points allowed per 100 possessions) before the break and 20th (108.8) after the break, finishing seventh overall. They regressed in regard to opponent shooting, defensive rebounding, and forcing turnovers.

Starting lineup of Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Vince Carter, JaMychal Green and Marc Gasol outscored their opponents by 19.6 points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break, the second best mark among lineups that played at least 100 post-break minutes.

Most-used lineup that doesn’t include Allen or Chandler Parsons (James Ennis III with the other post-break starters) has played just 74 minutes together, but has outscored its opponents by 21.5 points per 100 possessions in those minutes.

Were outscored by 13.3 points per 100 possessions in 368 minutes with Conley off the floor after the break.

The matchup

Season series: Tied 2-2 (Home team won all 4 games)

Feb. 6 @ MEM – Grizzlies 89, Spurs 74

Mar. 18 @ MEM – Grizzlies 104, Spurs 96

Mar. 23 @ SAS – Spurs 97, Grizzlies 90

Apr. 4 @ SAS – Spurs 95, Grizzlies 89 (OT)

Pace: 90.1

SAS OffRtg: 98.2 (25th vs. MEM)

MEM OffRtg: 100.2 (17th vs. SAS)

Matchup notes:

None of the four meetings were the second game of a back-to-back for either team.

Kawhi Leonard (quad contusion) and Pau Gasol (broken finger) missed the first meeting (Feb. 6). Tony Allen missed the last meeting with an eye injury and Mike Conley was knocked out of that game in the fourth quarter with an eye injury of his own.

The pace of 90.1 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes was slowest among first-round playoff matchups.

The two teams combined to score just 88 points per 100 possessions in the four first quarters. The Grizzlies led the first and fourth meetings, respectively, by scores of 17-14 and 16-14 after the first quarter. But they combined to score 121 per 100 in the four third quarters.

The Grizzlies outscored the Spurs, 60-24, in second chance points (37-9 in Memphis’ two wins).

The Spurs had the league’s best aggregate bench NetRtg at plus-8.9 overall, but it was minus-4.5 against Memphis. Manu Ginobili’s minus-20 over the four games was his worst plus-minus against any opponent.

According to SportVU, the players who defended each other most over the four games were Tony Parker and Mike Conley. Parker scored 21 points on 10-for-21 shooting with Conley defending him (for 23:18), while Conley scored 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting with Parker defending him (for 23:58).

LaMarcus Aldridge shot 10-for-17 (59 percent) with JaMychal Green defending him over the four games, but 19-for-48 (40 percent) otherwise.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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