Monday, May 16, 2011

ADS Round 3 Preview: Mavericks v Thunder

The Dallas Mavericks capped off one hell of a series sweep against the back to back defending NBA Champion Lakers. They did it in rare ADS+ fashion too.

Prior to entering the series, Dallas was 1-6 (including a GM 4 collapse in Portland) when their ADS+ was over 14, not a promising sign. However, upon returning to their home floor they posted an ADS+ of 15.6 in GM 3 (highest of the season) and an ADS+ of 14.3 in GM 4.

Their GM 4 performance from behind the arc was their best of the entire season as far as 3P-Made and 3P FG% are concerned. We are talking a staggering 6 more MADE 3pters than their 2nd highest total of the season, in a playoff game, versus the LAKERS!! It would be foolish to expect the Mavs to duplicate that performance again this postseason, much less next season (although they are capable).

Their next round opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, yielded a low ADS+ of 9.4 in the season series against the Mavericks, while Dallas sits at and ADS+ of 12.1. And even though season series sits in Dallas' favor right now at 2-1 (their 1 loss without Dirk in the lineup), the Thunder have upgraded their squad significantly since then.

The Kendrick Perkins deal sends Jeff Green away to Boston and opens up more playing time for a seemingly huge upgrade of James Harden. Oh, not to mention they got Kendrick Perkins bringing in playoff experience to upgrade Nenad Krstic at the center position.

This is a completely different team the Mavericks face since their last meeting in early January. A young group of up and coming superstars who stand between the NBA Finals, a shot at redemption, and the final piece to HOF careers for some Dallas veterans.

Lets breakdown the regular season and postseason ADS statistics for this Western Conference Final matchup.

Guards (1-3)


*Assuming Terry and Harden as starters since they plays the most minutes.

Westbrook and Durant will provide most of the offensive fire power for the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

The PG matchup will feature one player who was probably getting a super high and fresh fade cut for his driver's license picture, while the the other one was just entering the world having never picked up a basketball. Yes, the 16 year age difference between Jason Kidd and Russell Westbrook is, no doubt, one that is cause for concern.

Westbrook had a nice low ADS+ of 8.3 against Dallas this season, 13.4ft closer to the rim per shot than Jason Kidd's ADS+ of 21.7. The speed and ability to get to the rim is a cause for concern for Dallas and Kidd in this matchup. Mav's fans shouldn't hang their heads in defeat yet because if the Dallas "D" can pack the paint and force Westbrook to take outside shots, his effectiveness as a scoring threat could be offset by his ineffectiveness as a shooter.

Westbrook shot a pedestrian 31.8% (14/44) against the Mavericks in the regular season. He never was really able to "go off" either, only averaging 14.3PPG (7.6 Points below his season average of 21.9PPG). Westbrook's FG-Made against Dallas had an ADS of 7.4 while his FG-Miss had an ADS of 10.8.

His playoff differential is similar, ADS Made- 11.9 & ADS Miss-14.8. He notably had a much further ADS against the younger PG's of Conley and Lawson, thus showing he has been able to create closer shots against the older Jason Kidd & Co.

The key to slowing him down will be for the Mav's to pack the paint and make him settle for mid range jumpers, which he struggles at. According to, for FGA's between 3-23ft, Westbrook averaged 2.9 of 8.9 FGM-FGA for 32.6% shooting on the season (at the rim he shot 60.4%). He is not a consistent threat from 3pt range either shooting 31.6% in the playoffs. Basically, the further away from the rim he has to shoot, the better for Dallas.

Jason Kidd looked very refreshed after some rest at the end of the regular season and hopefully for Dallas that can be duplicated at the beginning of the WCF series. Offensively, Kidd is the bigger PG and has about 30lbs on Westbrook. I would not be shocked to see Kidd have a lower ADS+ in this series if Dallas lets him post up on Westbrook. Getting Kidd closer shots by taking advantage of his size will also slow the game down a little bit and make Westbrook spend energy on defensive possessions and reduce fast break attempts for OKC.

The headache of containing Russell Westbrook should be upgraded to a migraine when it comes to Kevin Durant. In three regular season games against Dallas, Durant posted an ADS+ of 13.1 and averaged 29.3PPG while shooting 52.4%.

The key to slowing Durant will be the same as Westbrook, make him shoot as far away as possible. Durant's FG-Made ADS is 10.7 while his FG-Miss ADS is 18.1 against Dallas in the regular season- a massive 8ft differential.

In the playoffs, Durant has an ADS+ of 14.5, FG-Made ADS of 14.3, FG-Miss ADS of 16.9, and FG% of 45.1%. The higher ADS+, lower FG-Made ADS, and lower FG% suggest Dallas struggles more defending Durant than the younger Nuggets and Grizzlies.

The height and length for Durant will be a tough matchup for Dallas. I would imagine defending him will be a task given to Shawn Marion and possibly Corey Brewer?

Shawn Marion had a lot of success against the Thunder this season and stepped up in Dirk's absence in GM 2 and Gm 3. In Dirks absence, Marion had 20pts in GM 2 and 25pts in GM 3 (19PPG overall) and an ADS+ of 6.1 on the series. The Mavericks will need Shawn Marion's offense and defense to have a positive effect on the ADS numbers to help along the Mavericks chances of advancing to the finals.

A man emerging into his own is representing OKC's 6th man and main scoring threat off the bench is none other than James Harden. Since the All Star break (post Jeff Green trade), Harden is averaged 15.8PPG to finish the regular season. Harden has been efficient in the playoffs as well with an ADS+ of 13.9 and 12.4 PPG.

Harden will continue the trend amongst the young Thunder shooters. With such a drastic difference of his FG-Made ADS of 12.5 and a FG-Miss ADS of 20 throughout the playoffs, the key for Dallas will be to keep Harden out of the paint and make him settle for long jumpers.

Last but not least, Dallas will hope their 6th man, Jason Terry, can continue his hot hand from games 3 and 4 against the Lakers. There's not much to say about his regular season performances against the Thunder as his ADS+ and PPG averages were pretty much on par with his normal numbers.

The key for JET will to be to keep his ADS+ under 14. In the regular season Dallas was 15-5 overall when JET had an ADS+ under 14. Four of those losses were games when Dirk was out and as we know Dallas did little winning without him. So, if you wanted a true "Robin" stat for JET, exclude the 4 games he played without Batman and Dallas was 15-1 in that situation.

Overall, this is a very close matchup between the 1-3 positions of Dallas and OKC. Its hard to cast a vote against a veteran filled group that has been performing so well in the playoffs. The numbers are hard to ignore though and the Thunder bunch have a lower ADS+ and higher PPG average than Dallas.

Conclusion: Advantage Thunder

Bigs (4-5)


*Played GM 1 and injured in 2Q of GM 2, missed GM 3.
**Stats from 1 GM as member of Celtics playing the Mavs

If Tyson Chandler would've passed a physical we would be talking about the difficult matchup Dallas would be facing inside. Instead, he will be making life difficult for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oh the sweet irony.

Tyson Chandler had a nice ADS+ of 2.1 and 12.7 PPG this season against the Thunder. All of those games were before the Kendrick Perkins trade and it is worth noting Chandler had an ADS+ of 1.4 and 14 points in one game against Perkins with Boston this season.

Even coming off their en fuego shooting performances against the Lakers, the Mavs would be wise not to forget about feeding the ball inside to Chandler. Dallas is 13-2 this season when Tyson Chandler has 8+ FGA's in the game. More attempts for Chandler will result in more high percentage shots and a lower ADS for the Mavericks.

While Ibaka and Perkins have not been extreme offensive threats in the playoffs (combining for 13.7PPG), lets not count them out yet. Their combined ADS+ of 5.1 against Dallas is 2.4ft closer than the ADS+ of 7.4 they posted against their opponents in the playoffs, a significant differential for post players. Dallas cant gloss over the fact they've been able to get shots closer to the rim in the season series as compared to other playoff opponents they faced this postseason.

The regular season ADS statistics for Dirk against the Thunder were great for the 1.5 games he was healthy and on the floor. In GM 1 he had 34pts with an ADS+ of 10.6 and his overall average ADS+ was 9.6 if you add in the extra half of basketball he played. Great news for Dallas, he should have a similar defensive matchup in this series as well.

Dirk Nowitzki must continue to be the in the paint banger who wont settle for a jump shot or shy away from contact leader he's been throughout the playoffs. Facing tough defensive opponents like Portland and LA, Dirk has managed an ADS+ of 11.5 throughout the playoffs. The Mavericks are better off when Dirk shoots closer and gets to the line, here's why:

-When Dirk's ADS+ is under 11, the Mavs are 16-1 including 3-0 in the playoffs this season

-When Dirk has 10+ FT-A's, the Mavs are 16-0 including 4-0 in the playoffs this season.

They are great stats, indicators, and the main ingredient for a successful playoff run for Dallas. Do not be surprised to see Dirk getting double teamed early and often. Let's just hope Peja and JET are ready to capitalize when he kicks it out for three.

Conclusion: Its not even close. Advantage Dallas.



*Indicates player did not accumulate any stats in the regular season against opponent
**Stats accumulated for 2 GMs as a member of the Bobcats against Dallas

The contributions from the Dallas bench have been tremendous. They outscored the Thunder in the regular season and have done the same in the playoffs thus far.

The Mavericks have scorers on the bench in Peja and Barea who are capable of going off for 20+ points in any given game (they've done it 3 times in the playoffs so far).

Only one Thunder player has scored 20+ points the entire season, Daquan Cook in February against the lowly Kings (Nazr Mohammed did once as the starting center for the Bobcats in November if you want to count that).

That's not a lot of weight being taken off the shoulders of the young superstars. A weight which gets heavier and heavier as you get later into the basketball postseason. The Dallas bench has provided some key moments so far in the playoffs and you have to expect that trend to continue.

Their ADS will be generally be higher (not by much) given they have the luxury of leaning on a sharp shooter like Peja to keep their opponents defense honest.

The fact is, they've been outstanding this postseason and i see no reason they wont continue to out perform the Thunder's bench by a long shot.

Conclusion: Advantage Dallas

Here are the overall series statistics comparisons per team:

PlayerADS+ (Dallas)PPG (Dallas)PPG (Season)FG% (Dallas)FG% (Season)

PlayerADS+ (Thunder)ADS+ (Season)PPG (Thunder)PPG (Season)FG% (Thunder)FG% (Season)

The ADS statistics will show you that if the Mavericks want to help themselves they must try and force the Thunderous Three to shoot as far away from the rim as possible.

A lot of OKC's buckets at the rim will be scored in fast break points, which the Thunder outscored Dallas 56-22 in the regular season. If the Mav's can try to force a half court game and limit these easy buckets at the rim, the Thunder's overall ADS and the Miss/Made numbers should increase at a very noticeable rate.

Offensively for Dallas, the key should be to continue to pound the post and get into the lane. This should help create wide open looks for the hopefully hot hands of the Serbian Sniper Peja Stojakovic and Mr. Runway himself, Jason Terry.

Dirk and the Mavericks definitely have the advantage of being the better shooting team. If they can get close shots and post a low ADS+ as a comparable in the paint team to the Thunder, it will all but put them one step closer to their ultimate goal of winning a championship.

Thanks to Heath Huston, Tim Krajewski, and Ted Miles for help with the data.

What is ADS? Read the FAQ and find out.

Posted By: Adam Rosen

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