NBA Playoffs: Breaking Down San Antonio’s Dominance

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Source: Katie Haugland / Flickr Creative Commons

The San Antonio Spurs, who were pushed to seven games in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks, are on the precipice of a second-round sweep, handing the Portland Trail Blazers three consecutive losses and looking much more like San Antonio: Postseason Juggernaut than San Antonio: That Old Team Full of Good Players.

Watching San Antonio, a team that didn’t have a single starter average more than 30 minutes during the regular season (a National Basketball Association first), work Lazarus magic on its aging stars — Tim Duncan, 38; Manu Ginobili, 36; and relative youngster Tony Parker, 31 — and continue its simply Spurs-ian ability to wring found money out of the most curious of places in its reserve corps has reiterated just how solid the Texas team has been when it comes to just being good.

Consider this: Through the postseason, the Spurs have posted an offensive rating of 113.2. That’s a mark that would have qualified as the best offense in the league during the regular season, and it’s a significant uptick from the team’s performance before the playoffs started. Some of that is because the talent on the floor has increased. With all respect to guys like Marco Belinelli, playing people like Duncan and Ginobili almost five more minutes per game is going to lead to some better basketball. And their execution is glorious — there’s no other word for it.

The Spurs, under the longtime coaching of Greg Popovitch, who delivers the best in-game interviews this side of surly, also hold the second-best True Shooting Percentage and Effective Field Goal Percentage out of any team still in the playoffs. What are those numbers and what does that mathematical magic mean? You might be able to reason that it means the Spurs are shooting the ball better than every team that isn’t Miami. That’s true, but it’s what that means that makes it really interesting.

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