There is one stats that should be the cold wet blanket of reality for the Cavaliers. The reality is that, though the Cavaliers did receive their second win of the season last night against the Charlotte Hornets, they didn't beat them. In reality the Hornets lost to themselves.
Over the past 14 regular season games the Charlotte Hornets are .500 (7W-7L) ranking 8th in highest average points per game (114.6), 7th in three points made per game (12.4), 2nd in lowest turnovers per game (12.6), and the 5th highest ranked team in points off of opponent turnovers per game (20.7).
In contrast the Cleveland Cavaliers over the previous 14 games leading into last nights match with the Hornets came in ranked 27th in points per game (103.0), league leading worst in three points made per game (8.2), 7th in highest turnovers per game (15.2), and the leagues 5th worst in points given up off of turnovers per game (19.2).
Last night showed improvement across all stats except for one. Cleveland accumulated 113 points (+10), 13 3points (+4.8), 20 TOV (-4.8), and gave up only 6 points off turnovers (+13.2). So why be so cautionary regarding this, the Cavs second win in 15 games?
In the previous Hornets games they averaged 56.1 True Shooting Percentage (TS%). However in last nights game the Hornets as a team were only 43.1% while attempting 7% more shots. True shooting percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws. Though the Hornets are ranked 7th in three points made per game they score the majority of their points in the paint at 42%. Four of the Hornets leading offensive players are all guards. As is the case with all of the Hornets leading scorers, Kemba Walker leads the team averaging 26 pts, with the majority (40%) of his scoring happening within the paint, at 57.5 TS%.
In last night's loss to the Cavaliers, the Hornets 89 points were still acquired predominantly in the paint, they were however made with a 43.1 TS% (-13%) as a team. --Ahhh, the proverbial wet blanket-- Kemba Walker ended the game with only 7pts, of which 56% came from within the paint, on 19.2 TS%. Some diehard Cavs fans might suggest that the Hornets offensive woes were due to their defensive efforts. The defensive stats could endorse that thought.
This season the Cavs defensive rating (DRtg) averages 112.7 with 7.2 steals and 2.4 blocks. In last night's win versus the Hornets the Cavs DRtg was much better at 98.1 (+14.6) as well as 3 steals (+.6), however, they acquired only 5 steals (-2.2). JR Smith, in his team leading 39 minutes and 24 seconds, lead with a defensive win share (DEF WS) rating of 55%.
Those would be impressive if it weren’t for the fact that those numbers are directly related to the increase of Hornet shot attempts (+75) combined with their woeful 43.1 TS% would actually skew most of the Cavs defensive stats.
In the previous Hornets games of their 114.6 pts per game, 21% of those shots occur with the nearest opponent +6 feet (wide open) at 61.6 eFG% (effective Field Goal Percentage). In those same games 27.5% of the Hornets shots occur with the nearest opponent 4-6 feet (open) while shooting 51.7 eFG%. In last night’s game the Cavs defense allowed for 29% in both wide open shots (-8%) and open shots (-1.5%), while the Hornets shot with only 40.7 and 33.3 eFG% respectively. This clearly explains that the Cavs playing better defense is not what that led to Charlotte’s shooting woes. Sadly, it also is clear that though the Cavaliers received their second win of the season last night against the Charlotte Hornets, it was Hornets who beat them.
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