Let's take a break from the positional breakdowns for a couple of hours and take a look back at a key facet of the Sixers regular season, clutch performance. Throughout the year, Statman has been tracking how the Sixers perform at the end of close games, it's time to take a look at the numbers and see if we can't figure out what the Sixers should do if they're lucky enough to get into a couple of games that go down to the wire against Miami.
Back in February, I wrote a post detailing how the Sixers had done in clutch situations to that point in the season. Now I've updated the numbers, so we can look at how they did in the latter part of the year. Short answer: much better during their 6-week hot streak, as poor as ever recently.
To review, I define three different levels of clutch situations as follows:
- Clutch: the possession begins with the scoring margin at
5 points or fewer and ends with 5 minutes or less on the clock (4th
quarter or OT)
- Super-Clutch: the possession begins
with the scoring margin at 3 points or fewer (one possession) and ends
with 2 minutes or less on the clock (4th quarter or OT)
- Ultra-Clutch: the possession begins with the scoring margin at 3 points or fewer and ends with 24 seconds or less on the clock (4th quarter or OT)
Now let's look at the final numbers more closely. First the team comparison.
As I noted in February, these numbers are astounding. The more pressurized the situation, the worse the Sixers play (both offense and defense) and the better their opponents play. I still can't get over the 90% collective foul-shooting of Sixer opponents in Ultra-Clutch situations, a number that was even higher before the lowly Pistons went 2-of-4 on Wednesday. The rest of the numbers speak for themselves, though it's worth calling attention to the fact that the Sixers have drawn exactly one non-intentional foul in Ultra-Clutch situations all year (Iguodala drew it vs. the Kings), while they have fouled the opposition 9 times.
Below are the individual numbers for the three types of clutch situations. The Sixers' 7 most prominent performers are included, who have played about 90% of the Sixers' clutch time minutes (though Hawes has played more recently). Comments follow below the tables.
- Since there were so few Sixers made baskets in Ultra-Clutch situations this year, we can review them all: Iguodala scored 3 times in isolations (twice vs. the Celtics, once vs. the Warriors), Brand scored on two jumpers (once assisted by Lou vs. the Wizards, once in an isolation vs. the Pistons), Thad scored on a tip-in off an Iguodala missed lay-up, and Lou scored on two 3-pointers (one off a pass from Iguodala on an in-bound play vs. the Bobcats, the other the desperation heave vs. the Kings).
- There has been a big shift in passing stats in the clutch since the original post. At the time (2/3), Iguodala was at 9 assists to 1 turnover, but since then he's gone 8/8. In February, Jrue was at 8/9, but since then he's gone 11/2.
- Jrue's shooting in the clutch, on the other hand, has gotten worse (was 13 of 28, finished 9 of his last 25 for 22 of 53 overall), but he's still one of the better shooters on the Sixers in clutch situations. However, he's horrendous once the situation becomes Super-Clutch (2 of 13, team worst 15.4 eFG%).
- Thad and Brand remain the most reliable clutch shooters, though both fell off slightly over the 2nd-half of the year. I continue to believe the Sixers' best option at the end of the game is for one of them to finish off someone else's penetration.
- Meeks compiled some excellent shooting numbers for Clutch situations, but he also hasn't done much in Super-Clutch and Ultra-Clutch situations, and he's coming off a memorable failure (the missed open corner 3 vs. the Knicks).
Raw data should be included below (click to download), your comments welcome as always.
Thanks to Statman for this great look at a season's worth of (mostly) disappointment in tight games. We'll continue the positional breakdown in a couple of hours with the small forwards and then PFs and Cs will drop later in the afternoon. Check back early and often and leave your thoughts in the comments.