LeBron vs. San Antonio: the numbers

The series isn’t over yet:

First of all, the Cavaliers won both games [against San Antonio].  It was 88-81 back in November, and 82-78 in January.

that’s only the beginning of the story.  The main point is that when
LeBron James got the ball against San Antonio’s defense, the Cavaliers
managed to get a good shot an alarming percentage of the time.  There
were a smattering of offensive fouls, certainly. And a couple of times
James forced a pass that was picked off.

I watched 50
possessions, between the two games.  Eight times (nine if you count a
pretty amazing Tim Duncan block of Anderson Varejao) the Spurs forced
the Cavaliers into a turnover, an offensive foul, or a truly difficult
shot.  Trusting my observations, that means the Cavaliers had
good looks 84% of the time.  Seems like a high number against any team,
but especially San Antonio.   

Of course the Lucas critique is relevant; the numbers don’t mean that Cleveland can replicate those shots at will.  The betting markets are giving Cleveland about twenty percent.  Matt Yglesias offers numbers on offensive and defensive efficiency, and writes of the coming blowout.  I’m picking San Antonio in six.


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