Blazers Continue Strong Defense

Since my last update, the Blazers have taken on the Wiz, Los Suns and the Mavs, and it would be an understatement to say that the defense continued to look good on paper. Defense is a team trait that I believe varies less than offense. In other words, I think that the common cliche, “defense wins championships,” can be explained statistically by variances. A team that shoots 50% on the season will often range from 44% to 56% in any given game, the equivalent of one standard deviation in either direction. On the other hand, solid defenders and rebounders constantly repeat their performances from game to game because those are not fine motor skills,  and therefore do not  require exact replication of muscle movements. A defensive constant can go a long way toward winning a 7-game series, a relatively small sample size compared to the 82-game season. My point? The Blazers could pull a first-round upset if they keep up their playoff pace and defensive prowess. To the stats…

The Wizards are a completely new team, making most of my season data on them…completely worthless. That being said, holding any team to 74 points in about 86 possessions is a feat worth mentioning (the league average would be about 86 points in those same 86 possessions). Following the narrow 76-74 victory over Washington, the Blazers faced the high-powered offenses of the Suns and Mavs, ranked first and tenth in the league in offensive efficiency, respectively. Limiting the Suns to just 93 points on 94 possessions was extremely impressive, especially on their home floor. On an average night, the Suns put up 109 points in 101 possessions, well over a point per possession. Shooting anything better than 36% from the floor would likely have earned Rip City a crucial road win in that game, thanks to a defense that kept them in it. Against the Mavs, a team that normally scores 1.04 points per possession, the Blazers again controlled the pace as well as the Maverick’s offense, allowing just 0.95 points every trip down the floor en route to a 101-89 home win.

In those past three games, it should be noted that Marcus Camby averaged 3.67 blocks, 1.33 steals, and 15.33 rebounds (5 offensive). Huge numbers, especially when we take into account the slow pace (less possessions = less chances to accumulate stats). Going forward, a strong defense led by newcomer Camby gives the Blazers a great shot at holding onto their playoff spot, and a good chance at a first-round upset.

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One Response to Blazers Continue Strong Defense

  1. […] over 107 points every 98 possessions, yet managed just 100 against a Blazer defense that only got tougher as the season went on (and Batum and Camby joined […]

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