Game 3: Tempo-Free Boxscore Breakdown

I've set forth below the tempo-free statistics from tonight's game, for those of you interested in such things.  I do this for my own edification after each game, and it occurs to me that there may be others at SS&R who are into tempo-free analysis, so I thought I'd share what I have in a Fanpost.


As a brief explanation of the different categories:

  • "Turnover rate" is the percentage of a team's possessions that end in a turnover.  (The league average is about 20%.)
  • "FTA/FGA" is the ratio of a team's free throw attempts to field goal attempts and is used as a measure of a team's success in drawing fouls and getting to the line.  (The league average is about 0.30.)
  • "Effective FG%" is field goal percentage adjusted to account for the added value of three-point field goals.  (The league average is about 50%.)
  • "True shooting percentage" is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account the relative values and frequencies of two- and three-point field goals and free throws.  (The league average is about 55%.)
  • "Offensive rebounding rate" is the percentage of available offensive rebounds that a team collects.  (The league average is about 27%.)
  • "Points per possession" is exactly what it sounds like.  A typical game has 95 or so possessions.  NBA teams average about 1.05 points scored per possession.

The point of all this is to measure team performance free of the statistical noise created by different paces of play that you see from team to team and from game to game.

That out of the way, here are the numbers from tonight's game three, which saw the Lakers and Jazz each have 91 possessions.


  • Turnover rate: Lakers - 10%, Jazz - 18%.
  • FTA/FGA: Lakers - 0.30, Jazz - 0.37.
  • Effective FG%: Lakers - 40%, Jazz - 47%.
  • True shooting percentage: Lakers - 44%, Jazz - 50%.
  • Offensive rebounding rate: Lakers - 28%, Jazz - 37%.
  • Points per possession: Lakers - 0.95, Jazz - 0.97.

The upshot of the above numbers is that the Lakers did good work in winning the turnover battle - especially in hanging onto the ball on offense - and in holding the Jazz to reasonable shooting numbers.  This was undone, however, by a horrendous shooting night by the Lakers and an inability to keep the Jazz off the offensive glass.  In addition, we're still sending them to the line more than you'd like, even if they haven't fully exploited that advantage with good free throw shooting.