New York Knicks Stat Monkey Brief: Knicks/Spurs (11/15/12)
The Spurs have won 22 of their last 24 home games. The Knicks have lost their last nine games in San Antonio. Eleven of the past 13 meetings between these teams have gone the way of the Spurs.
What must the Knicks do tonight to thwart these trends?
En route to the NBA’s best record last season, the Spurs turned the ball over only about 12.8 times per 100 possessions, the 3rd best rate in the league. Thus far this year, however, the Spurs’ turnover rate is an uncharacteristically high 15.1%, 10th worst in the NBA. The Knicks, league leaders with a 17.6% defensive turnover rate, must continue generating a high rate of takeaways tonight for a chance at a huge early season road win.
The Knicks and Spurs are third and fifth, respectively, in effective field goal percentage (eFG%), a shooting metric adjusting for the fact that three-pointers are worth 1.5 as much as two-point FGs. Against Orlando on Tuesday, the Knicks’ eFG% was 54.2%, exceeding their 53.3% season average. However, they allowed the Magic to shoot at an eFG% of 52.7%, despite holding opponents to a 45.6% average through their first four games. The Knicks must increase their defensive intensity tonight, especially since the Spurs will be looking to bounce back from an abysmal effective field goal mark of 42.8% against the Lakers.
Second Half Execution
As reported by the Sports Network, the Knicks are the first team in the shot-clock era to hold each of its first five opponents to 40 or fewer second half points. They are also the third team in NBA history to win each of their first five games by double digits, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Despite these numbers, they were tested in crunch time on Tuesday. The Knicks were only up 82-80 against Orlando with under 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter before closing the game on a 17-9 run. It would not be surprising for tonight’s game in San Antonio to also come down to late game execution, considering half of the Spurs’ eight games have been decided by four points or fewer.