NBA PLAY OFFS 2014
Yep it’s time again. After a long, hard 82 game regular season. 16 teams have made it through to the play offs and can begin to dream.
All they have to do now is negotiate their way through 4 best of 7 series matches, to make it to the promise land and the right to be called “the champions”.
Below are the 16 teams that made it to the post season and a quick look in numbers of who got them there. All stats / ranks are by the best “per game” basis.
1. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 62-20 Last Season 58-24
1st Field Goals Made
1st 3-point Field Goal %
2nd Field Goal %
4th Free Throw %
5th Defensive Rebounds
The Spurs, who are also 6th in the league for points and 9th for blocks have looked tremendous. For me, it is very possible that whoever beats them will be the champions. They compiled a 19 games winning streak late in the season where as much as seven players led them in scoring.
Tony Parker (20th in the league for assists) will continue to be the go to guy closely followed by Tim Duncan (5th in for blocks, 9th for def rebounds, 12th for rebounds). Kawhi Leonard (10th for steals) has become a huge factor defensively as has Marco Belinelli offensively (5th for 3 point field goal %). Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Patty Mills have also been decent contributors.
Offensive Rank: 6
Defensive Rank: 7
2. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 59-23-Last Season 58-24
2nd Free Throw %
5th Free Throws Made
6th Defensive Rebounds
6th Field Goals Made / Field Goal %
Also sitting 6th for turnovers, all the talk is whether the considerable heroic feats of Kevin Durrant can take them to a first title. Durant became the first player with two 50-point games since 2008-09 and scored at least 25 points in a three-point-era-record 41 consecutive games.
Obviously he led the league in points he’s 6th for 3 points made & turnovers, 24th for assists and 18th for defensive rebounds. Even with KJ performing as he is, a lot will depend on Westbrook’s fitness.
Though he only played just over half the season he led the team in assists and steals. Serge Ibaka’s (2nd for blocks, 22nd for rebounds) defensive ability will also be a big factor along with contributions from Reggie Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha, Derick Fisher and Kendrick Perkins
Offensive Rank: 5
Defensive Rank: 14
3. LOS ANGELAS CLIPPERS 57-25 – Last Season 56-26
3rd Field Goal %
3rd Free Throws Made
4th Field Goals Made
The Clippers are a scoring machine and topped the league in points with their dynamic duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin who were both on the five man MVP ballot. Paul led the league in assists and steals and Griffin was 6th in the league for points, 12th for def rebounds and 17th for turnovers.
When Paul was out for some time, Griffin really stepped up his game along with DeAndre Jordan who led the league for rebounds was second for off & def rebounds and 3rd for blocks. Could this be a dynamic threesome? They also had key contributions from Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and Darren Collison which make the Clippers my dark horses in these play offs.
Offensive Rank: 1
Defensive Rank: 16
4. INDIANA PACERS 56-26 – Last Season 49-32
1st Defensive Rebounds
2nd Points Allowed
7th Free Throw %
Even though the Pacers stuttered in the second half of the season you cannot ignore the magnificent achievement of securing home court advantage throughout the play offs.
Their usual strong defensive unit will always have them in with a chance of winning games with the likes of Roy Hibbert (4th in the league for blocks) and of course Paul George (5th for steals, 13th for 3 points made, 12th for points, 18th for turnovers) being effective.
Lance Stephenson has really stepped up his game this season and leads the team in assists and rebounds. Other key contributors were David West and George Hill who will be needed as the Pacers really fancy a conference win and beyond.
Offensive Rank: 24
Defensive Rank: 4
5 MIAMI HEAT 54-28 – Last Season 66-16
1st Field Goal %
5th Points Allowed
Even though Lebron continues to put up impressive numbers (3rd in league for points, 7th for turnovers, 10th for assists, 18th for steals). D Wade missing a third of the season along with Bosh not firing on all cylinders, Miller’s departure and dips in form from other experienced players had made it a somewhat tough season for their standards.
On the plus side, Anderson seems to be excelling (17th in blocks) along with Mario Chalmers (13th for steals) and young Norris Cole who seems to be consistent performers. Due to how weak the East has been, the question is will they have enough and come good for a final showdown with the Pacers and then 3 peat?
Offensive Rank: 12
Defensive Rank: 7
6. HOUSTON ROCKETS 54-27 – Last Season 45-37
The Rockets who are also 4th in the league for rebounds are looking like a well-rounded team in the NBA. To go with the ever impressive James Harden (5th in league for points, 2nd for turnovers, 15th for assists, 15th for 3 points made, 17th for steals).
They have a Dwight Howard (4th for rebounds, 3rd for def rebounds, 8th for off rebounds, 7th for blocks, 9th for turnovers, 26th for points) who finally seems to be settled and performing the way everyone thought he would for the Lakers.
If you add to that, important contributions from Chandler Parsons, along with Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley and of course Jeremy Lin the Rockets are not to be taking lightly.
Offensive Rank: 2
Defensive Rank: 25
7. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 54-27 – Last Season 33-49
1st Free Throw %
3rd Offensive Rebounds
4th 3 Point Field Goals Made
4th Defensive Rebounds
I suspected they would make a difference compared to last season but they have to be one of the most improved teams in the NBA.
The injury to LaMarcus Aldridge (8th in league for points, 5th for def rebounds, 7th for rebounds) which coincided with their run of close defeats, something they turned around on his return in March, proved just how important he is to the team.
With that being said, its been a team effort with Damien Lillard ( 3rd for 3 points made). Wesley Matthews (5th for 3 points made), Robin Lopez (3rd for offensive rebounds, 8th for blocks, 25th for rebounds) along with Mo Williams and Nicolas Batum all pulling their weight.
Offensive Rank: 3
Defensive Rank: 24
8. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 51-31 – Last Season 47-35
2nd Defensive Rebounds
3rd Field Goals Made
3rd 3 Point Field Goals Made
4th 3 Point Field Goal %
The Warriors team improvement saw them comfortably make it into the play offs, after missing out last year with their first 50 game winning season in 20 years.
Naturally a lot had to do with super Stephen Curry (1st in league for 3 points made & turnovers, 7th for points, 5th for assists, 14th for steals, 8th for 3 point %) and Klay Thompson (2nd for 3 points made, 9th for 3 point %, 25th for points).
Even with such a formidable duo, a lot still does depend on the health of Andrew Bogut (11th for def rebounds & total rebounds, 6th for blocks). If that wasn’t enough the likes of David Lee and Andre Iguodala are also key contributors.
Offensive Rank: 10
Defensive Rank: 10
9. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 50-32 – Last Season 56-26
1st Free Throws Made
3rd Points Allowed
7th Field Goal %
9th Offensive Rebounds
The Grizzlies just made it into the play offs with another 50 game winning season. But it was hard going and they had to really step their game up and rely on that defensive stability in the second half of the season to get there in the end.
Zach Randolph (9th in league for rebounds, 5th for off rebounds, 16th for def rebounds) put in his usual workman like performance but the key for me was Mike Conley ( 17th for assists, 23 for steals) who seems to be a real diamond in the rough.
To add to this, Marc Gasol (19th for blocks) Mike Miller (2nd 3 Point %) Courtney Lee, Tony Allen and Kosta Koufos have all played their parts.
Offensive Rank: 27
Defensive Rank: 5
10. DALLAS MAVERICKS 49-33 – Last Season 41- 41
2nd Field Goals Made
2nd 3 Point Field Goal %
3rd Free Throw %
4th Field Goal %
The Mavs improved on their middle of the road record last year to just sneak into the plays offs. To everyone’s surprise Dirk Nowitzki ( 13th in the league for points, 23rd for 3 point %) had an injury free season to move into the top 10 of NBA all time scorers.
But it was Monta Ellis (10th for turnovers, 23rd for points, 19 for assists, 11th for steals) who really impressed me with his fearless brand of basketball. It did help that he was supported by Jose Calderon (4th for 3 point %, 7th for 3 points made), Vince Carter (23rd for 3 points made) Samuel Alembert (24th for blocks) and Shawn Marion.
Offensive Rank: 8
Defensive Rank: 21
11. TORONTO RAPTORS 48-34 – Last Season 34-48
5th Free Throw %
6th Free Throws Made
7th Points Allowed
9th 3 Point Field Goals Made
9th 3 Point %
12th Offensive Rebounds
After missing out on the play offs for five straight years the Raptors surprised everyone by finishing 3rd in the Eastern Conference and even more surprising, won the Atlantic Division with a mixture of highlight reel offense and a maturing, well oiled defense.
This was mostly due to DeMar DeRozan (10th in league for points) and especially Kyle Lowry (7th for assists, 20th for steals). Along with Terrence Ross (19th for 3 Points made, 24th for 3 point %). Rudy Gay made a hefty contribution playing just 18 games and will be a factor in the play offs.
The Raptors can also thank Jonas Valanciunas, Greivis Vasquez and Amir Johnson for their contributions in this history making season.
Offensive Rank: 13
Defensive Rank: 9
12. CHICAGO BULLS 48-34 – Last Season 45-37
1st Points Allowed
8th Free Throw %
9th Defensive Rebounds
Another Rose’less season for the Bulls and every year I gain more admiration for them. To make matters worse, after 10 years service they traded Luol Deng which made most expect not much from them. But not only did they improve on last years record, they even improved on their defensive stability.
Joakim Noah (25th in the league for assists, 4th for off rebounds, 9th for def rebounds, 6th for rebounds) has become a talisman for the side and has seemed to inspire huge performances from the likes of Carlos Boozer (27th for Rebounds). Taj Gibson (16th for blocks) Jimmy Butler (4th for steals) and D.J. Augustin (21st for 3 point %) in a season where coach Tom Thiboddeau has done wonders.
Offensive Rank: 30
Defensive Rank: 3
13. WASHINGTON WIZARDS 44-38 – Last Season 29-53
5th 3 Point Field Goal %
9th Field Goals Made
9th Points Allowed
11th Field Goal %
In a massive 15 game winning improvement on last year, the Wizards made it into the play offs on route to being one of he NBA’s most improved teams.
This was in no small part to the continued maturity of John Wall (20th in the league for points, 2nd for assists, 3rd for turnovers, 8th for steals). Though it is not far off, carrying the team is a bit much to say, especially as Marcin Gortat ( 13th for def rebounds 15th for rebounds, 13th for blocks) has more than pulled his weight.
Not to mention Trevor Ariza (12th for steals, 14th for 3 points made, 16th for 3 point %) and Martell Webster (23rd for 3 points made). Bradley Beal, Trevor Booker and Nene Hilario have also played their parts.
Offensive Rank: 17
Defensive Rank: 12
14. BROOKLYN NETS 44-38 – Last Season 49-33
10th 3 Point Field Goals Made
10th Free Throws Made
11th 3 Point Field Goal %
11th Points Allowed
After a disastrous first half of the season the Nets have rallied impressively to sneak their way into the play offs.
Injuries have not been kind to them but they are still on course to win their first play off series since 2007. It will be imperative that Joe Johnson (17th in the league for 3 points made, 19th for 3 point %) stays in top form during the play offs as well as Deron Williams (13th for assists, 25th for steals).
Injuries aside, Jason Kidd will more importantly need the post season experience of the likes of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett (leads the team in rebounds) and Jason Terry if they are to do something. Especially as Brook Lopez has only played 10 games this season.
Offensive Rank: 20
Defensive Rank: 10
15. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS 43-39 – Last Season 21 – 61
4th Points Allowed
7th Defensive Rebounds
14th Free Throws Made
Undoubtedly NBA’s most improved team bar none. The Bobcates improved to winning 22 more games than last term. Considering they have only won 28 games combined in the last two seasons, then you see it is no mean feat.
Coach Steve Clifford, Bobcats fourth since 2010 has to be given huge credit. Along with the expensive gamble on Al Jefferson (11th in league for scoring. 4th for def rebounds, 8th for rebounds). He’s been supported by the likes of Kembe Walker (14th for assists) and Anthony Tolliver (13th for 3 point %). Also Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biymombo and Josh McRoberts have made it a season to remember.
Offensive Rank: 23
Defensive Rank: 6
16. ATLANTA HAWKS 38-44 – Last Season 44-38
5th 3 Point Field Goals Made
6th Free Throw %
Pretty surprised by the Hawks, I wasn’t expecting them to make huge waves in the East but was expecting them to do better than sneaking into the play off’s through the skin of their teeth in a weak Eastern Conference.
Many may still say it’s an achievement after losing Al Horford who was leading the team in points when he got injured in December. They still have the shooting of Kyle Korver (1st in the league for 3 point %, 12th for 3 points made) and Jeff Teague (9th in the league for assists, 14th for turnovers) fighting for the cause.
In support they also have Paul Millsap (9th for steals, 26th for rebounds, 29th for points). Elton Brand (23rd for blocks) and DeMarre Carroll (24th for steals) putting in work.
Offensive Rank: 14
Defensive Rank: 17