Michael Miller - The First Interview
Posted: Friday, June 11th 2021
Saturday, May 12th 2018
Bristol Flyers statistician, Aaron Eamer breaks down the numbers from Friday's 75-90 defeat to Leicester Riders in the BBL play-offs.
The Flyers put themselves in a difficult position heading into the second leg of the BBL play-off semi-final, falling to the #1 seeded side, 75-90.
In the first it was Jordan Davis’ doing the damage for Bristol with six points and four assists, early on. His 2/3 shooting from three contributed to 50% shooting for the period for the home side. Unfortunately, the Riders were able to shoot 56% for the quarter, counting on seven points from TrayVonn Wright in just over five minutes on-court. The Riders added ten points from their bench as three of their starters played less than half of the first period, taking the opportunity for some early rest. The Flyers in comparison were only able to add two bench points as every starter spent over six minutes on the court.
But it wasn’t just there that the Flyers could count on holding them back in the first, points in the paint were a huge factor early on. The Riders were able to make six out of seven in the paint for 12 points, and although the Flyers added ten points from within the paint, they only shot 5/12 for 42%. Generally if you’re taking shots in the paint you should either be making them at a high rate, or getting free throws. The Flyers though only had two free throw attempts for the quarter, ensuring a slim three-point Riders lead heading into the second.
The Flyers once again continued to struggle around the basket, shooting 5/11 in the paint in the second quarter and once again getting to the foul line only twice. Bristol though was able to stop Leicester scoring in the paint from such a high rate as they went 5/10.
There was no one man doing the damage in the second as every scorer added less than five points, with 13 different scorers between the two sides in the period. The quarter was one for ugly three-point shooting though as the Flyers made just one of their five attempts from deep and the Riders, two of seven.
Leicester’s 29% shooting from behind-the-arc was allowing Bristol to stay well within reach with small margins across the board keeping the sides apart. Bristol were leading the rebounding battle in total and offensively but had turned over the ball on more occasions. Bristol were shooting at 1% more than Leicester but had made four less free throws. All fine margins heading into the second half, down by five.
The third was devastating for the Flyers, if you were looking for where the game got out-of-hand it’s here.
In the opening five minutes of the half, the Flyers scored just two points.
For the period Bristol’s shooting dropped from 46% in the first half to 25% in the third. Flyers made just 3/13 from two-point range as none of Bristol’s usual threats got going, no Bristol player scored more than a single field goal, but strangely the same could be said for Leicester.
Riders had numerous different scorers but one man could take control and this was through JR Holder, who added nine to go along with much improved three point shooting for the away side. The Riders shot 40% from deep in the third.
Alongside Bristol’s poor shooting, they also began to give up offensive rebounds to the Riders who grabbed five and scored five second chance points. The Flyers, added no second chance points and where they had fallen in the first half, within the paint, they did once again. Bristol’s shooting within reach of the basket was only 2/11 in the third, accounting for nine of their 12 missed shots.
The Flyers ultimately scored just 11 points in the quarter whereas Leicester scored 11 in the first five minutes alone; everything in the final five minutes of the third was the Riders just adding to the deficit, which, heading into the final period was now at 18.
In the fourth, Bristol stepped back up for what was their highest scoring period of the game with 24. The home side shot 4/9 from two-point range and at the same rate from three-point range. And the damage was done by the American guard combo of Rohndell Goodwin and Adam Weary. The pair added 22 of the Flyers’ 24 points between them as the rest of the team shot just 1/8. Goodwin and Weary combined for 70% whilst everyone else shot just 12.5% between them.
Bristol was able to score four points from two offensive rebounds and nine points from fast breaks. The Flyers had only scored 12 fast break points for the rest of the game so this was showing a much more active approach.
The problem in the fourth for the Flyers is the lead was already at 18 for Leicester so it was much more about trying to lower that deficit for the second leg than it was trying to win the game outright. Unfortunately where Goodwin and Weary were productive for the Flyers, the Riders just remained consistent.
The Flyers were able to stop JR Holder’s scoring from getting out-of-hand but Leicester just turned to everyone else as five other Riders contributed and the away side’s consistency was obvious to see.
The Riders shot slightly below their 45% for the game with 40% in the fourth but 40% is still a good rate and with the Flyers shooting at 44% for the quarter, it’s going to take a long time to overturn an 18-point differential on a 4% increase in shooting. The Flyers would have had to make nine of their ten missed shots in the fourth to take the lead.
Fortunately for the Flyers, Leicester’s free throw shooting for the game was not good as they made just 12/20 of their free chances. The Flyers in comparison shot at 80% but only had half the opportunities that the away side did, shooting 8/10.
Overall, Bristol were edged in almost every department for the game, The Flyers only out-played the Riders from three-point range and the free-throw line when referring to percentages. The Riders though scored on more occasions from each distance. They just missed more too.
The biggest factor for me though in this one is the points in the paint, the Flyers finished the game shooting 15/41 (37%) from close range and 14/30 (47%) from everywhere else!
Simple logic tells you, the closer you are, the easier the shot right? This told true for Leicester as they shot 19/34 (56%) from within and 14/32 (44%) from outside the paint.
If the Flyers had shot the same percentage from in the paint as Leicester had, they’d have scored on 23 occasions instead of 15 (an extra 8 baskets), totalling 16 points.
Final score; Bristol 75, Leicester 90… 15 points.
A passionate fan of basketball since 2004, Aaron briefly played at SGS (then Filton College) under Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas.
Fast forward a number of years, Aaron now contributes to recording the statistics for the Flyers home games as a club Statistician, you’ll often find him sat at the table courtside taking stats into his laptop at every home game.
Do you agree with Aaron? Follow him on Twitter @eamer and let him know what you think!
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