Which team is most likely to get it done in the clutch?

My gut instinct tells me it’s the Hawks.

Joe Johnson is a star, right?  Stars win games late, that’s just how the NBA goes.  That’s what I’ve long assumed, that’s what I feel like I’ve witnessed time and time again.  Johnson must be the best late game player either team has, simply because he’s the best player in this series.

But do the numbers confirm that?  Thanks to the Clutch Stats feature at 82games.com, I was able to run some numbers to determine which players are most likely to get the ball down the stretch for each of these two teams in close games.  The numbers paint an interesting picture when determining which players should be trusted most down in close games this series and who should be giving the ball up at all costs.

    FG%FGAFT%FTAPCT of FGA JumperseFG% JumpersPCT of FGA InsideeFG% Inside
    Atlanta Hawks
    Joe Johnson0.46810091.9338649.41461.5
    Jamal Crawford0.2455886.2298122.11950
    Josh Smith0.4195370204222.25856
    Mike Bibby0.2762900100%37.600
    Milwaukee Bucks
    Brandon Jennings0.36911091.3467848.12230.4
    John Salmons0.3854390.9227255.42827.3
    Luke Ridnour0.4624183.3188239.11885.7
    Ersan Ilyasova0.5003768.8166355.03758.3
  • The numbers would indicate that the more Jamal Crawford shoots down the stretch in tight games, the better Bucks fans should feel.  I know Crawford has hit a few buzzer beaters this year, but I wonder how many he missed before hitting those?  It seems likely from looking at the numbers that the Hawks only needed game winners in those games because they hadn’t been making any shots before them. Crawford’s 24.5 FG% in the last five minutes of close games is down right awful.  Please, take all the shots you see fit Crawford. At the last couple Hawks-Bucks games, a local media member always wondered if this would be the game Crawford would shoot the Hawks out of or in to. He shot them out of the first game in Milwaukee and didn’t play in game two.  One can only hope, for the Bucks sake, that Crawford keeps shooting them out.
  • John Salmons has the most bizarre split of any player in this series.  Salmons has been a sensational jump shooter down the homestretch of games. His eFG% on jumpers of 55.4 is even better than Joe Johnson’s.  But what’s going on once Salmons gets inside? Inside, Salmons numbers fall to 27.3 or Brandon Jennings type numbers (even Jennings is better!).  Considering Salmons is the one player on the Bucks that generally has the easiest time getting to the hoop, they’ll need him to improve on that figure drastically if they want to do more than just hang around in close games.
  • Ersan Ilyasova has a pretty bad reputation as a lousy clutch player and it’s occasionally deserved.  But I think it’s based more on his early season adventures (remember that first Bulls game … I do) rather than his whole body of production.  The numbers indicate that Ilyasova has actually been pretty good in close games, even if his free throw shooting hasn’t been spectacular.
  • Ahh, free throw shooting.  The one area where the Bucks really shine.  With Jennings and Salmons both over 90% late in games, if the Bucks do have a lead late, they can feel pretty good about protecting it if the game comes down to fouling.

So how does the star Joe Johnson fare?  His work is the most balanced and his sample size is pretty good.  I don’t want to over simplify, but the Hawks can probably feel pretty good about things whenever the ball is in his hands late in games.  Frequently overlooked as he may be, Johnson certainly is a star in this league and he’s very likely to show why throughout this series.

Categories: Playoff talk

I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

3 Comments

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  2. You cant go too much off stats thats a surefire way to get swept very quickly .

    I dont want Crawford shooting often in the 4th quarter .We should be trying to make Marvin Williams beat us to say try and use percentages to define clutchness is just asking to get burnt.

    In that first home game Crawford didnt shoot them out of it in fact I dont remember him shooting at all in the 4th quarter. I remember Salmons out dueling johnson but I think Crawford had a nice game on good shooting percentages as well.

    Checking around on some hawks blogs I dont see anyone saying Crawford has shot them out of games. In fact they seem to love the guy and some even credit him with pushing them over the 50 win mark so I dont know .

    When I look at blanket statements like this what bothers me is that Crawford is the one x-factor on that team in regards to how we defend them.

    We have the wings to run at Johnson consistently but if Crawford gets going they will play him at the one and neither BJ or Luke can guard him and its even worse if hes really on . We cant put a defender on Crawford without sacrificing some of our offensive game which already is hurting due to Bogut being out.

    I think the best defensive strategy we can have is lets see who else on that team can make shots outside of Johnson and Crawford . I dont think anyone else can make enough jumpshots to beat us .

  3. Jeremy- Why do you constantly jab at Jennings but never Bogut,Skiles or Ridnour. Even Luc Richard is off target. Delfino,Ilyasova & Jennings. You’ve rid them most of the season. You have more negative things to say on the rookie. Remember. 1st year in the league after the politics in Europe to be coached by Skiles. A very mature & poised young man. That’s overexceeding most experts & scouts. Did you think he was going to be good? Were you happy with Luke starting for this team? I hope the pessimism goes away for next season. It kills me everytime you write an article. Everyone is waiting for Jennings to get loose like the early part of the season. Is he still under the rookie or Skiles wall. I’ve yet to see him finish a quarter. Is it rule he must subbed out by at least the 3 or 4 min mark. Why is it okay for Ridnour to be torched on offense & not Jennings. Why does Luke not get pulled as much as Jennings. The way things are going I wouldn’t be suprised if they changed the starting line up to include Luke instead of BJ. Like Orlando did with Skip & Jameer. How dumb was that? You pick on Jennings more than I do on Skiles. Who do you think Skiles favors. Of course he likes the vet over the rook.

    In this Playoff series there is nothing to lose. You could only gain by doing things a little different. 1st of the Luke & BJ backcourt doesn’t work for any more than 5 mins at a time. Never in crunch time. Also Jennings is streaky so let him play his game & not yours. Meaning Skiles. He has to improvise more so than not. The team needs his scoring more than ever along with his assists. If he plays like the beginning of the season the Hawks will have troubling guarding. While being forced to switch upping his assist total. When Delfino is off he useless so play Stack. Luc Richard needs a lot of work in the offseason. We need a better bench as Kurt Thomas cannot be our savior along with Gadzuric.