Tuesday, March 25

Keys to the game redux

Following up on a post I put up a little while ago about how useless "keys to the game" features are, I thought I'd take a look at what the Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer thinks are the Cavs' keys to winning as many of their remaining games as possible. I'm only going to reproduce her bold text (see link for the comments she makes on each one) and add my comments here.

1) Keep LeBron James healthy.
So, you're saying that it's actually to the Cavs' advantage to have the best player in the league playing for them, rather than out with an injury? I'm sorry, you're going to have to clarify this further.

2) Step up their shooting.
Inasmuch as basketball games are won by the team with the most points, and the only way to score points is by shooting the ball, it seems fairly obvious that improved shooting would help the team's chances to win. MSB adds some stats about how the Cavs win more when they shoot better, and well, yeah, of course they do. This is a total non-observation.

3. Don't fall behind in the second half.
This is simultaneously obvious and wrong. Naturally you would prefer to be ahead in the second half, especially at its conclusion. This would be true to a greater or lesser extent for every team who has ever played in any game with a two-half time structure. On the other hand, the Cavs are among the league leaders in 4th-quarter comebacks, so of all the teams this cliche applies to (i.e. every team ever), it fits the Cavs less well than most.

4. Run. Run. Run.
This is about fast-breaking; the stat she cites is that the Cavs win more when they outscore the other team on the fast break. Again: outscoring other team=good. A more interesting comparison would be comparing the Cavs' success in games where they run a lot vs ones where they don't. They could have won a game by scoring two fast break points and holding their opponents to zero; this doesn't mean that running is to their advantage.

5. Go to the hole.
I think my Dad taught me this when I was like 5. For virtually every team at every level of basketball, it's easier to score points when you're closer to the basket.

So what have we learned? The Cavs need to have their best player, make more shots, take closer shots to facilitate that, run quickly to get easier shots, and try to have more points than their opponent, especially later in games.

I think it's safe to say this article didn't really need to be written.

1 comment:

Nick said...

With the exception of Pluto, the PD's Cavs coverage is pathetic, even when compared to their other sports coverage. It's nothing short of a disgrace.