So I was looking around to see if there was anybody who had analyzed the basic stats for the Cavs during their losing streak, and nobody had. So I took a free hour the other night and crunched the numbers. Here's what I found.
They scored an average of 94.4 points per game while giving up 108.1 PPG, so they lost by an average of 13.7 PPG. That's pretty substantial, a good basis for history's worst losing streak. The league average for PPG this year is 99.4, so they were consistently below that and gave up way more than the league standard. Only four of the games they lost were by 5 points or less (ouch), but those are four important games we'll come back to in a minute. More after the jump.
They averaged 43.4% field goal shooting, only a couple of points below the league average so we can't really fault their supposedly D-League level shooting touch for their woes, it actually wasn't too bad. They did miss over 6 free throws a game however and were right about at the league average of 24.7 free throws per game. Obviously those 6 missed points weren't enough to decide most of these games, but in those four aforementioned games which they lost by a total of 11 points they missed 23 free throws. Surely had they shot better from the line they could have won at least one of those four games, which were interspersed fairly evenly throughout the streak, thus preventing them from this embarrassment. Their overall free throw percentage was at 73%, which actually isn't that much worse than the league average, but that number is greatly inflated by a couple of games where they shot in the high 80s from the line. The vast majority of their games were in the low 60s from the line which is terrible.
Their assists per game average was 21.7, right at the league average. But their assist to turnover ratio was 1.5, equal to that of Phoenix Suns superstar Goran Dragic. Honestly this AST/TO ratio isn't as terrible as I would have expected, but they were throwing a lot of extra possessions the way of their opponents every night.
Now, here comes the most telling stat of all: rebounds. They averaged 39 rebounds a game, and went over 40 rebounds in only about a third of the games during the streak. Much worse they gave up almost 47 rebounds a game to their opponents. Getting that badly out-rebounded only adds to the extra possessions their opponents were getting. They lost a game to the Pacers on February 2nd by 3 points and were outrebounded by 17 REBOUNDS. Worse, 16 of the Pacer's 49 rebounds were offensive boards, while only 6 of the 32 Cavs boards were on the offensive glass. That's 10 extra second-chance opportunities in a game that was decided by three points. This was the stat that just killed the Cavs. No Anderson Varejao, no boards apparently.
Obviously there are a number of intangibles that came into play. The inspired return by Mo Williams in the Clippers win, although perhaps not the most efficient performance, clearly gave them the push over the hump to be able to close out a close game, one they surely would have found a way to lose in the previous two months.
I realize this was a largely worthless effort, but it was rather entertaining for me and thus I thought I'd share it. If you want the raw numbers, I've got 'em.