Game Time Start: 7:00 PM ET
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: T. Washington, O. Poole, Z. Zarba
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Miami Notes
Television: FOX Sports Indiana / Sun Sports / ESPN
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WAXY 790 AM
NBA Feeds:*NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
*NBA League Pass Broadband (subscription req'd)
REMINDER: Per PD policy, please do not share a link to, describe how to search for, request a link to, or request a PM about streaming video of a NBA game that is not coming directly through the NBA. Not even in a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge, know-what-I-mean" round-about sort of way. Thank you
Season Records: (W-L) 27-19 Home: 17-3
29-13 Away: 11-10
Upcoming Games: Feb 04 Feb 05 Feb 06 Feb 08 vs vs at vs 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: BOSH DJANGO JAMES WADE CHALMERS
Danny Granger - left knee tendinosis (out)
Perpetually Disappointing Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:
ESPN: Fill in the blank: ESPN doubleheader
What do we make of the four teams heading into Friday night's national spotlight (ESPN,
7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET)? Our team thinks deep about the Heat, Lakers, Pacers and
Timberwolves, as well as the league at large.
1. The Miami Heat are __________.
Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: Counting down the days until April. If there is any
team with a legitimate on/off switch, it's the Heat. The team has the fourth-best record
in the league, but it feels like a disappointment. But when the playoffs arrive -- when
the team will be able to devise team-specific strategies and matchups -- we'll start
seeing the genius of last season emerge again.
Aaron McGuire, Gothic Ginobili: Coasting. Some defending champions emerge from
their championship primed to obliterate the league in their title defense. Miami is
emphatically not one such team; they prefer the Phil Jackson route. Of course, it barely
matters. They're still great enough to take half the nights off and stay healthily atop a
poor Eastern Conference. Still coasting, though.
Benjamin Polk, A Wolf Among Wolves: Biding their time. The season is long; the
Eastern Conference is soft; the champs know this. As these Heat jaunt through the
playoffs, I would not be the least bit surprised to see their defense slowly become the
suffocation machine that it was last season.
Jared Wade, 8 Points, 9 Seconds: The only team in the East worth taking seriously.
The Knicks were great early, the Nets have been riding a wave since they canned
Avery Johnson, the Pacers have a world-class defense, and the Bulls could beat
anyone if Derrick Rose comes back healthy. But all these "contenders" are a clear tier
below the reigning champs.
Michael Wallace, ESPN.com: Right on schedule. What other team that has been in
first place in either conference this season has been as criticized as much as the Heat?
Yes, the defending champs will have bouts of boredom, stints of less-than-stellar play
and a few mind-boggling losses. But as long as they remain relatively healthy through
the rigorous regular season, they're fine.
2. The Los Angeles Lakers are __________.
Chau: Making some riveting television. Kobe has assumed a new character, and things
were going remarkably well with the increased ball movement. But like any good
drama, it never lasts, and the last few minutes are never predictable. Every game has
become a matter of life or death in the standings and it's must-see TV, no matter
where your allegiance lies.
McGuire: Blundering. What else do you call a team that thoroughly outplays the West's
best team one night and gives up a 21-4 run to squander a 13-point 4th-quarter lead
against one of the worst teams in the league not two days later? Inconsistent,
incoherent and tough to crack.
Polk: Really hoping that Dwight Howard's shoulder is OK. It's true that Howard is
nowhere near the MVP-caliber destroyer he was before his back surgery and also
that he hasn't exactly assimilated into the cutthroat, grim-faced culture of Kobe Bryant.
But its also true that, without Howard, the Lakers' defense goes from mediocre to
Wade: Toast. If they weren't in the West, they might have a chance to turn this
around, limp into the playoffs and advance to the conference finals. But even if the
Lakers do play a postseason series in April, it will be against a heavyweight team they
Wallace: Disjointed. Disappointing. Disturbing. Pick a word that starts with "d" and it
probably applies. Well, with the exception of "defense." At this pace, the Lakers
will produce the most disappointing season in recent pro sports history, based on
expectations. When Michael Beasley is lighting you up, all hope is gone.
3. The Indiana Pacers are __________.
Chau: Ready for Danny Granger to return. There's no guarantee his incorporation
will be a smooth one, but the team needs him. Whether it means Lance Stephenson --
a pleasant surprise for Indiana this season -- being demoted to sixth man, or Granger
assuming that role himself, the Pacers are in dire need of a boost in their weak second
McGuire: Plodding, above all else. The Pacers have been many things this season.
Disappointing to shocking. A punching bag to an elite unit. Dominant to docile. Through it
all? They've been one of the slowest-paced teams in the entire league, a plodding bunch
that grinds out tough wins and kills their opponents' spirit.
Polk: In desperate need of...CONTINUE READING 5-ON-5 AT ESPN
Hardwood Paroxysm: Kyle Soppe: Correlation Between NetRtg and Quarter
What quarter deserves the most attention when trying to draw a link between NetRtg
(points scored per 100 possessions minus points allowed per 100 possessions) and
dwinning? What does it take to be number one?
In each season, beginning with the 2007-2008 campaign, the most linked quarterly
Rtg (offensive or defensive) was the first quarter. A poor DefRtg in the first 12 minutes
resulted in the highest Loss Correlation in each of the past five seasons.
Also, fans like to obsess over the fourth quarter scoring (How often have you heard,
“Kobe is the most clutch player of all time” or early in his career “LeBron freezes up
down the stretch and couldn’t finish a game is his life depended on it”?), but is that
really all that important? The average Win Correlation for OffRtg (how directly tied the
game result is to the number of points scored per 100 possessions) is lower in the
fourth quarter than the average of quarters one through three in every single season
since 2007. This stat indicates that the offensive efficiency prior to the fourth quarter
is consistently more crucial to winning that what a team does in the final 12 minutes.
In fact, if you’re still going to look at the fourth quarter as the most crucial of quarters,
you’re better off looking at the defensive efficiency. In three of the five seasons studied,
the average Loss Correlation for DefRtg was higher in the fourth quarter than the average
of the first three quarters three times.
When analyzing the data from the past five seasons, it becomes obvious that games are
won in the early going, as opposed to the final few minutes. Success is ultimately
determined by victories and the wins leader (Lakers with 277) has the greatest
cumulative first quarter NetRtg (48.2) over the last five seasons. Coincidence? I think not.
The total number of wins by the quarterly NetRtg leader decreases as you progress
through the game. But this trend isn’t only true for the elite teams, it holds true for the
NBA as a whole. The top 17 teams in terms of wins over the last five seasons are the
exact same 17 teams that lead the way in cumulative first quarter NetRtg. Here is a look
at how each team stacked up in total wins and cumulative NetRtg by quarter since 2007.
Further disproving the myth of fourth quarter efficiency and its overall importance is the
overall trend of the top teams in NetRtg and the bottom teams in NetRtg . Now, one must
acknowledge the fact that blowouts do play a role in the late game data and not the early
game stats, but with five years of games (394 games per team), the vast majority of
games are competitive throughout. Even during a game which has for all intensive
purposes been decided with considerable time left on the clock, both teams will turn to
their reserves, thus not skewing the data a whole lot. Take a glance at the trend of the
best team/worst team in terms of cumulative NetRtg by quarter.
As you can see, the worst team in the league (in terms of cumulative NetRtg) improves as
the game progresses while the best team gets worse. The gap from the best team to the
worst team shrinks from 94.5 in the first quarter to 59.4 in the fourth stanza, a 37.1%
With all of this data surrounding...CONTINUE READING AT HARDWOOD PAROXYSM