Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs

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Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#1 » by HotRocks34 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:06 pm

You would never expect this to be the case for a team that had the best Offensive Rating in the league during the regular season and the second-highest Pace in the league during the regular season (highest Pace among winning teams), but it's true. At least against elite teams in the 2016 postseason.

The data seems clear. I would need to gather more information to try to figure out why this is the case, but the numbers speak for themselves.

WARRIORS VS THUNDER
Game 1 --------- OKC wins ------------ 102.1 pace*
Game 2 --------- GSW wins ----------- 092.4 pace
Game 3 --------- OKC wins ------------ 104.3 pace*
Game 4 --------- OKC wins ------------ 104.5 pace*
Game 5 --------- GSW wins ----------- 101.7 pace ---- (aberration game)
Game 6 --------- GSW wins ----------- 097.4 pace
Game 7 --------- GSW wins ----------- 086.8 pace

Thunder 3-1 against Warriors in games played at 100+ pace


WARRIORS VS CAVS
Game 1 --------- GSW wins ----------- 089.5 pace
Game 2 --------- GSW wins ----------- 093.2 pace ---- (aberration game)
Game 3 --------- CLE wins ------------ 093.7 pace*
Game 4 --------- GSW wins ----------- 084.3 pace
Game 5 --------- CLE wins ------------ 098.9 pace*
Game 6 --------- CLE wins ------------ 093.9 pace*
Game 7 --------- CLE wins ------------ 090.7 pace*

Cavs 4-1 against Warriors in games played at 90+ pace


Cavs coach Ty Lue seemed to understand this situation before the series was played (and during the series as well). Despite the apparent foolishness of taking on the Warriors at what you would think would be Golden State's strength of playing fast, Lue made sure to be clear as to what Cleveland would try to do in the Finals:

http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2016/05/cleveland_cavaliers_plan_to_ru.html

However, teams seldom try to beat Golden State at its own game.

Puzzled by why I would ask in Tuesday's media availability if he thinks the Cavaliers can play run-and-shoot against the defending champs, Lue emphasized his point when he walked toward me afterward.

"We want to push the pace!" Lue yelled in jest for everyone to hear. "You know what I'm saying. Put that on record. Push the pace. You think I'm going to walk it down every time?"


As you might expect, this gameplan wasn't exactly being lauded by the media when Lue announced it:

http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/tyronn-lue-nba-finals-adjustments-pace-transition-golden-state-warriors-lebron-james/186ixrz9zha31qcil6ws6vo90

Trying to speed up against the Warriors sounds a bit like challenging Secretariat to a footrace.


Lue never wavered from his conviction, however, during the Finals:

http://www.espn.com/nba/playoffs/2016/story/_/id/15936845/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-told-coach-tyronn-lue-play-faster-pace-golden-state-warriors-nba-finals?ex_cid=espnapi_public

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is pushing LeBron James to pick up the pace in Game 2 of the NBA Finals in hopes it can jump-start an offense that struggled in a Game 1 loss to the Warriors.

"I just told LeBron I need him to play faster," Lue said Friday. "I need him to pick up the pace for us offensively, getting the ball out and just beginning to play faster."

...

"They make you stagnant and make you play one-on-one basketball because that's all you can get," Lue said. "So if we pick up the pace and play with a faster tempo offensively, I think we'll be fine."


And Lue was right in the end.

For some reason, whatever it is or was, the Warriors did not perform as well against top competition in the 2016 playoffs whenever the speed of the game was increased. Instead, Golden State did its best in games where the pace was lower.

Because I don't know why this happened, it's hard for me to say anything meaningful about how Kevin Durant might affect this dynamic.

One thing that you would expect, however, is for Warriors opponents to pick up on this. Lue himself may have taken the pace information from the OKC/GSW series and used it to his advantage in the 2016 Finals.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#2 » by YogurtProducer » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:21 pm

Wanna grab what the pace was for their 9 regular season losses?
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#3 » by HotRocks34 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:25 pm

YogurtProducer wrote:Wanna grab what the pace was for their 9 regular season losses?


That's a good point.

I will say this, though -- this pattern (high pace = loss) did not bear out in the series against the Blazers or Rockets. So the effect might be limited to higher-level opponents as well as to the playoffs (shorter rotations, etc).
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#4 » by Senior » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:30 pm

That's pretty interesting. First thing I thought of with OKC/CLE was able to force a lot of turnovers in those higher paced games (or at least win the turnover battle) and then punished the Warriors in transition. Golden State was pretty shaky with turnovers in the RS (15.2% TO, 24th), and it seems like OKC/CLE won the TO battle in all the games you mentioned (apart from 2 games but the difference was .5% or less). Missed threes might've played a part too. GS shot 42% from three in the RS which fell to 40% vs OKC and 37% vs CLE, so there were probably more chances to run out and score, which makes sense because GS' set defense was outstanding in the RS (well at least for a while...they definitely had the talent but I think they coasted at times)

OKC/CLE really had the athletes (Russ, KD, Roberson, Ibaka, Lebron, Kyrie, TT, JR...) to move on turnovers and missed threes.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#5 » by og15 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:31 pm

We're considering pace over 90 "high" pace though? The average pace during the regular season was 95.8. You found a pattern, and a correlation, but I don't believe you found a causation here when the 6/7 finals games were played under the league average regular season pace. There was really only one "high pace" game in the finals. The OKC series is closer to being real, but of course now we're down to a 7 game sample size, and only two games in that series, game 2 and game 7 should be considered "slow pace". So Warriors still won 2/4 games in a higher paced environment.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that there aren't other hidden factors in there such as high live ball turnovers leading to transition opportunities for the opponents which in turn increased the pace and gave the opponent a better winning chance. Of course the actual factor there would be turnovers, not the pace itself.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#6 » by HotRocks34 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:36 pm

og15 wrote:We're considering pace over 90 "high" pace? The average pace during the regular season was 95.8. You found a pattern, and a correlation, but I don't believe you found a causation here when the 6/7 finals games were played under the league average regular season pace. There was really only one "high pace" game in the finals. The OKC series is closer to being real, but of course now we're down to a 7 game sample size, and only two games in that series, game 2 and game 7 should be considered "slow pace". So Warriors still won 2/4 games in a higher paced environment.


It's a relative thing. The commonality being that when the game was played more slowly against both the Thunder and the Cavs, the Warriors always won.

So if you are an opponent in a series against Golden State (last year) and you're in a game that was played at a relatively lower pace, you're almost certainly going to lose.

This might have something to do with what Lue said about the Warriors "forcing" teams to play in a stagnant fashion and that results in lower pace and opponents' losses, I'm not sure.

"High pace" may not be the best characterization here. Maybe "higher pace" works better. Still, the effect seems to be there. At least for the Thunder and the Cavs against the Warriors in the 2016 playoffs, the best chance to beat the Warriors was to get the game at a higher, rather than a lower, pace.

Agreed on your point about turnovers and so on. It could be that something else explains this data. I just don't know and wanted to share what I had found to this point.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#7 » by HotRocks34 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:41 pm

YogurtProducer wrote:Wanna grab what the pace was for their 9 regular season losses?


Here's the information:

Warriors average regular season pace = 99.3 or so

1. @ Milwaukee ------- 101.1 pace
2. @ Dallas ------------ 093.3 pace
3. @ Denver ----------- 100.2 pace
4. @ Detroit ----------- 098.5 pace
5. @ Portland ---------- 108.7 pace
6. @ Lakers ------------ 098.0 pace
7. @ Spurs ------------- 087.1 pace
8. Boston -------------- 100.7 pace
9. Minnesota ---------- 101.6 pace

5 losses at above-normal pace
4 losses at sub-normal pace
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#8 » by HotRocks34 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:59 pm

Senior wrote:That's pretty interesting. First thing I thought of with OKC/CLE was able to force a lot of turnovers in those higher paced games (or at least win the turnover battle) and then punished the Warriors in transition. Golden State was pretty shaky with turnovers in the RS (15.2% TO, 24th), and it seems like OKC/CLE won the TO battle in all the games you mentioned (apart from 2 games but the difference was .5% or less). Missed threes might've played a part too. GS shot 42% from three in the RS which fell to 40% vs OKC and 37% vs CLE, so there were probably more chances to run out and score, which makes sense because GS' set defense was outstanding in the RS (well at least for a while...they definitely had the talent but I think they coasted at times)

OKC/CLE really had the athletes (Russ, KD, Roberson, Ibaka, Lebron, Kyrie, TT, JR...) to move on turnovers and missed threes.



Great points.

The one thing I know is that in Cavs/Warriors Game 2, when the pace was 93.2, the Cavs shot something like 35% from the field. So even though the Cavs got the pace above 90.0 (good indicator for them in the series), they simply didn't shoot well enough to 'take advantage' of this relatively higher pace.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#9 » by LakersLegacy » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:13 am

Let's consider Bogut was injured, Finals MVP Iggy couldn't even dunk it to win a championship because he played injured. Iggy seriously looked like a 50+ year old man out there. Barnes lost his confidence. That is 3/6 of their best players. The Warriors were out of sink and mentally they didn't do enough to win.

Also, Kyrie had some of the hottest fire ever in a Finals game. LeBron was determined. He put up huge #s. The role players played better after LeBron and Kyrie got going. I think Cavs played hungry after they were down 3-1. It was a different mentality. It was the same mentality that the Warriors had after going down 3-1.

The pace was more a byproduct of match ups in the Cavs series. According to my eye test anyway. The Warriors were hungrier in the WCF when the Thubder tried to slow the game down. The Cavs were hungrier in the Finals and took advantage the way they should have of Boguts presence, slow Iggy, left Barnes open (that created a lot of Cavs rebounds into fast breaks) and no Green for a game. The Warriors bench also didn't step up in games 5,6 or 7.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#10 » by HotRocks34 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:28 am

I just went and looked up how the CLE/GSW series went last year (2015 Finals) as regards pace. The effect seems lesser but it's still the same basic thing.

CLE 2-1 against GSW in 2015 Finals games played at 90.0+ pace (GSW wins series 4-2).
CLE 4-1 against GSW in 2016 Finals games played at 90.0+ pace (CLE wins series 4-3).

The "aberration game" in the 2015 Finals as regards pace was Game 6 (closeout game in Cleveland). Warriors won even though it was the highest-pace game of the series at 96.9 pace.

So even last year, this seemed to be the case for the Warriors (at least as regards the Cavs match up).

Warriors had the #2 ORTG in the regular season last year and the #1 pace.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#11 » by HotRocks34 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:37 am

LakersLegacy wrote:Let's consider Bogut was injured, Finals MVP Iggy couldn't even dunk it to win a championship because he played injured. Iggy seriously looked like a 50+ year old man out there. Barnes lost his confidence. That is 3/6 of their best players. The Warriors were out of sink and mentally they didn't do enough to win.

Also, Kyrie had some of the hottest fire ever in a Finals game. LeBron was determined. He put up huge #s. The role players played better after LeBron and Kyrie got going. I think Cavs played hungry after they were down 3-1. It was a different mentality. It was the same mentality that the Warriors had after going down 3-1.

The pace was more a byproduct of match ups in the Cavs series. According to my eye test anyway. The Warriors were hungrier in the WCF when the Thubder tried to slow the game down. The Cavs were hungrier in the Finals and took advantage the way they should have of Boguts presence, slow Iggy, left Barnes open (that created a lot of Cavs rebounds into fast breaks) and no Green for a game. The Warriors bench also didn't step up in games 5,6 or 7.



Whatever the case is, at least pre-Durant, if you are a member of the Cavs (or other possible Warriors challengers) this data has to give you some hope.

As I said earlier in the thread, it just seems totally counter-intuitive that the best way to have a chance to defeat the Warriors in a playoff game is to raise the pace. But, at least for the Cavs (and OKC with Durant) against pre-Durant GSW, that's what it was. The normal thing to think would be "Warriors want to play fast, so we have to slow it down." But if you do slow it down, you lose and the Warriors win.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#12 » by Little Digger » Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:20 am

LakersLegacy wrote:Let's consider Bogut was injured, Finals MVP Iggy couldn't even dunk it to win a championship because he played injured. Iggy seriously looked like a 50+ year old man out there. Barnes lost his confidence. That is 3/6 of their best players. The Warriors were out of sink and mentally they didn't do enough to win..
All true..then throw in the fact that Steph Curry had a bum knee that he still hasnt recovered from..I'm guessing he played at 70 to 85%..Props to him for not even using it as an excuse one single time.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#13 » by cw3k » Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:23 am

If Barnes would just hit his open 3, the series would be done in G5.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#14 » by infinite11285 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:04 am

I'm starting to think HotRocks is secretly John Hollinger. His statistical handle on the game is on another level from that of a casual fan. Lol
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#15 » by Mr. E » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:05 am

As always, I appreciate the detail you put into your posts, HotRocks34!
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#16 » by HotRocks34 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:35 am

infinite11285 wrote:I'm starting to think HotRocks is secretly John Hollinger. His statistical handle on the game is on another level from that of a casual fan. Lol


I wish bro, I wish.

Be a lot more coin in my pocket.

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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#17 » by HotRocks34 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:38 am

Here's something else from the 2016 Finals.


Total Fastbreak Points In The 2016 Finals

CLE == 115 (16/gm)
GSW = 066 (09/gm)

So part of Cleveland's "pace push" attack was to get out in transition against Golden State. They established a significant edge here.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#18 » by zimpy27 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:44 am

You should submit some of your work as a written piece to SB nation or something.
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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#19 » by Domejandro » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:58 am

HotRocks34 wrote:
YogurtProducer wrote:Wanna grab what the pace was for their 9 regular season losses?


Here's the information:

Warriors average regular season pace = 99.3 or so

1. @ Milwaukee ------- 101.1 pace
2. @ Dallas ------------ 093.3 pace
3. @ Denver ----------- 100.2 pace
4. @ Detroit ----------- 098.5 pace
5. @ Portland ---------- 108.7 pace
6. @ Lakers ------------ 098.0 pace
7. @ Spurs ------------- 087.1 pace
8. Boston -------------- 100.7 pace
9. Minnesota ---------- 101.6 pace

5 losses at above-normal pace
4 losses at sub-normal pace

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Re: Golden State's Secret Weakness -- High Pace In The Playoffs 

Post#20 » by 76ciology » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:10 am

For me the secret weakness is SWITCHING THE SCREENS, SLOWING DOWN THE PACE and turning the game into an 1 ON 1 GAME.
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