Game Time Start: 7:00 PM EST
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: B. Salvatore, H. Workman, Z. Zarba

Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Los Angeles Notes
Television: FOX Sports Indiana / Prime Ticket
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / KFWB 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
NBA Feeds:

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Season Records: (W-L)
Home: 24-5
West: 13-9
Away: 18-12
East: 14-8
Upcoming Games:
Mar 01
Mar 03
Mar 06
Mar 08

Projected Starting Lineup:
Projected Starting Lineup:

Roy Hibbert - Getting Lance lined up for some sweet Entertainment 720 cash (out)

Eric Bledsoe - Sore Left Calf (day-to-day)
Trey Thompkins - Left Knee Bone Bruise (out)

Perpetually Disappointing Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:

Semi-Relevant Video:

Eight Points Nine Seconds:
Avi Friedman: The Evolution of Lance Stephenson

While the whole world speculates whether Danny Granger’s return will slow down the
juggernaut that is the Indiana Pacers, at least one person has no concerns. The team’s
leader doesn’t think there is any chance that the return of the team’s captain will disrupt
anything — either chemistry-wise or on the court.

Last year Lance Stephenson hardly played at all. This year he’s played a large role in
helping the Pacers gain the second best record in the Eastern Conference and has done
a far better job of replacing Danny Granger than anyone would have expected.

In the 2011-2012 season Lance had the 11th most minutes played on the Pacers with
just 10.5 minutes per game (442 in total) in the regular season. He played no more than
12 minutes during any game in the entire playoffs. This season he has already tripled
those 442 minutes with just 29 games left in the season while logging 28.9 minutes per

In many ways Lance has been able to make Danny’s absence nearly unnoticeable on the

He is one of the main reasons the Pacers are on track to nearly replicate their winning
percentage from last season (.618 now compared to .636 last year.)

Stephenson had a storied high school career, becoming the all-time scoring leader for a
school where Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair both played. Lance won four
straight New York City high school championships in division AA, an unprecedented feat,
and by scoring 2,946 points in his career, became the all-time leading high school scorer
in New York state.

Despite the fame, championships and ungodly point totals, Lance had minimal success in
college. Many attribute this to similar off-court problems to the ones he had in high
school. In his one year with Cincinnati, he failed to make the NCAA tournament and
decided to enter the NBA draft after one year of college.

Going into the 2010 NBA draft, Lance was predicted to go early in the second round. He
slipped all the way to to the tenth pick in round two. The Pacers were on the clock and
couldn’t pass on the potential.

For a long time, that’s all they had drafted: potential.

Lance hardly played at all his first season, and we’re only now getting a chance to see
him live up to his amateur hype. Based on the 53 games he has appeared in this season,
he has arguably been...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s

D.J. Foster: Looking at the Clippers' Lineups

Here’s Jacob Frankel checking in with a look at some lineup data for the Clippers this
season. How are the two starting lineups performing? Who should play in crunch time?
Jacob has it all here:

The trade deadline has come and gone and—despite the rumblings—the Clippers abstained
from a trade. This is the team Los Angeles will be going into the playoffs with and whether
or not it will be able to beat San Antonio and Oklahoma City is the looming question. We
can break this roster down into sub-units: lineups. Vinny Del Negro’s oft-criticized rotation
methods have been fairly successful this season. What are the keys of some of the
Clippers’ most used lineups and how can these translate to the playoffs and against the
Spurs and Thunder?

LA’s most used lineup is obviously their starters, but there are really two versions of this
lineup: with Chauncey Billups or without (where Willie Green starts on a Finals caliber
team). Due to his injury, we only have a limited sample of data on the first lineup (114
minutes). It posts an insane offensive efficiency of 119.3—NBA average is 106.3—but has
trouble on the other end of the court. The defensive efficiency of 107.6 is easily the
highest among all the Clippers’ units with 100+ minutes played and would rank 27th in the
league. Of course, both the stellar o-rating and ugly d-rating are both somewhat functions
of the teams the Clippers have played since they’ve had Billups back.

To get a more balanced sample size, lets look at this lineup’s stats from last season. In
2011-12 this unit’s offensive rating was lower, but one that would still rank 1st in today’s
NBA. The defensive efficiency posted would be percentage points better than Indiana’s
league best mark. It’s fair to say with more minutes, this unit’s statistics will even out and
fit more into what we’ve seen in the past.

The Green unit posts a lesser offensive efficiency, albeit one that would still rank 3rd in the
league, and a better defensive efficiency (than this year’s lineup). Again: the Billups lineup’s
statistics will likely regress on offense and improve on defense as the season goes on.

Blake Murphy: DeAndre Jordan and the Crunch Time Conundrum

DeAndre Jordan is a worse free throw shooter than some players are three-point shooters.

With a 44% career free throw rate, Jordan is a huge liability late in close games, enough
so that coach Vinny del Negro has to be wary of playing him in such situations.

In fact, Jordan averages 26.5 minutes per game but has played just 4.5 minutes per fourth
, well below what you’d expect for a starter and one of a team’s core players. He’s
been protected on the offensive end such that he’s actually yet to take a free throw in the
fourth quarter, and has only been afforded 0.5 field goal attempts per fourth quarter.
Basically, when Jordan plays in the fourth, he is there for defense only.

I was interested to see if Jordan (a) is in a unique situation with limited fourth quarter
minutes and (b) should be a better free throw shooter given his shooting rates elsewhere.

Is this unique?

For the first point, I used’s Advanced Stats Tool to find players in “crunch time”
(last five minutes, ahead or behind five points) who had the lowest usage rate.

We are, of course, dealing with very small samples at this point in the year, so Jordan is
one of many players with a miniscule usage rate in small crunch time minutes. He’s
certainly not unique in this regard, but it warrants further and more detailed study
controlling for FT%, position, etc.

Should he be better?

For the second part, I had planned to compare Jordan’s shooting percentages from
different distances and come up with a sort of “expected FT%.” However, Jordan shoots
so exclusively inside of five feet that the exercise would have been pointless.

Just how limited is Jordan’s range? Well, he’s taken just 23 shots outside of five feet this
season, and just five outside of nine feet. He’s a 65% shooter within five feet and shot
66% from there last year (when he took just 32 shots outside of five feet and just 10
outside of nine feet). It makes sense for him to stay there since he’s so effective, and the
samples are too small to know if he’d be any good from elsewhere (anecdotally, I doubt
he would).

Are they right to bench him?

So the question for the Clippers...CONTINUE READING AT HOOPDATA

140 Characters of (Non-PD) Coverage

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