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, all the time

You may think from the 119-97 final that the Golden State Warriors, the number one scoring team in the league, ran the Sixers doors off in the transition game. You'd be wrong, but you might think that. No, this game wasn't decided by the fast break, it was decided by the Warriors half-court offense and three-point shooting.

With two "running teams" going head-to-head, I decided to track the fast break opportunities and conversions throughout the game to see which team was more effective with their running game, and which team got out and ran more often. The Sixers came out on top in both categories, here's how it broke down:

  • The Sixers created 29 fast break opportunities and scored a whopping 35 points off them
    • 18 of the breaks were started by missed shots
    • 7 started by turnovers
    • 4 started off of made shots
  • The Warriors created 27 fast break opportunities and scored 26 points off them
    • 13 started by missed shots
    • 8 started by turnovers
    • 5 started off made shots
    • 1 started off a blocked shot
What does it all mean? Well, I think it means the Sixers are not only a very aggressive team in pushing the ball, but they're extremely good at finishing when they push the action. But we already knew that. What it should also tell us is that if this team could find some way to be even a little more productive out of their half-court sets they'd be a potent offensive team.

The final score was a tad deceptive. The Warriors really poured it on after the Sixers raised the white flag at the end of the fourth, but the game was never really in question. The closest the Sixers came in the fourth was an 11-point deficit. We might've seen a different outcome had the Sixers not struggled so mightily from the floor. If you take out excellent games from Rodney Carney and Lou Williams off the bench (16/23 combined) the rest of the team shot 33% from the floor (24/76).

There's no reason to hang your head after this one. The Sixers simply ran into a more refined version of themselves tonight. The Warriors are where they hope to be next year. Tomorrow night will be the key game of the three-game West coast swing. The Suns are well-rested, and it's going to be a huge challenge for the Sixers to run like this for another 48 minutes and contend with Shaq and Amare down low. I'm looking forward to it, especially since I don't think the Suns have made the transition they're going to need to make to integrate O'Neal. They still think they're a running team, but they've got a $20M center who can't get past half court when they get out on the break.

Keep an eye on Iguodala's minutes tomorrow night, he was out there for 40 tonight. Green and Miller logged 37 and 36 respectively, everyone else should be fine after playing around 25.

Players of The Game: Lou Williams had his best game in months and Rodney Carney was like a man possessed (8 boards!)
Team Record: 26-33
Playoff Race: The Sixers are all alone in 8th, .5 games behind the Nets for 7th, .5 games ahead of Atlanta.
by Brian on Mar 1 2008
Tags: Basketball | Lou Williams | Rodney Carney | Sixers |