Sports

Larry Brown: All Great NBA Teams Do 2 Things Well

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In our rebounding section, coach Irvine talks about when he was coaching with Larry Brown, and how coach Brown stressed that all great teams had two things in common, they were good defensively, and they were good at rebounding.

Going into the 2010 NBA playoffs and getting myself ready to watch and analyze the games, I thought these two attributes couldn’t be more important this year. Generally speaking, teams with size are usually better at rebounding and defense (there are exceptions), and in case you haven’t heard–size matters in basketball. My thought process is that the teams that control the paint defensively and win the rebounding battle would be the teams to move further along in the playoffs–I am not a rocket scientist. Previewing the playoffs, if you look at the matchups, every top seed is arguably bigger than their opponent, therefore size must have mattered during the regular season, and think it played a key role in the opening games.

From the first game of the weekend between the Cavs and the Bulls, we saw Shaq dominate an under-sized Joakhim Noah, while in the last game, Stoudemire put up subpar numbers for himself, as Marcus Camby snatched 17 rebounds and had 3 blocks. To see how my theory played out in all of the first games, I decided to see who won the rebounding battle and who won the blocks battle, and then compare those numbers to who won the games.

Rebounds

Winning team won the rebounding battle 5-3 and outrebounded their opponents 333-305.

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Blocks

Winning TeamRebsLosing TeamRebs

Cavs
50
Bulls
38

Magic
34
Bobcats
41

Hawks
40
Bucks
35

Celtics
37
Heat
40

Lakers
41
Thunder
36

Mavs
45
Spurs
37

Trailblazers
44
Suns
47

Nuggets
42
Jazz
31

Winning teams won the blocks battle 7-1 and outblocked their opponents 62-27.

Granted, we have only seen the very first game of every series in these playoffs. From the looks of this small sample, blocks and rebounding numbers are quite telling to the outcome of the games. To be honest, I thought the rebounding numbers would be slightly more in favor of the winning teams, but the teams that did win the rebounding battle came out with a better winning percentage. The margin of block shots was the most telling stat to me, and the stat really shows that the winning teams are the ones controlling the paint defensively and altering shots.

My plan is to continue to periodically check these stats throughout the playoffs and keep you updated on how they play out. Stay tuned.

Image Source: AL.com

Winning TeamBlocksLosing TeamBlocks

Cavs
12
Bulls
4

Magic
10
Bobcats
3

Hawks
11
Bucks
1

Celtics
6
Heat
5

Lakers
9
Thunder
3

Mavs
4
Spurs
1

Trailblazers
7
Suns
4

Nuggets
3
Jazz
6