Increasingly in the NBA, it seems that the type of turnovers you make are perhaps just as important as how many you commit.
It makes sense.
If you throw the ball out of bounds, your defense at least has time to set up on the other end, it’s arguably a better outcome than a missed shot, which the defense can grab and use to ignite a fast break for easy point. Whereas when you have the ball stolen from you on the perimeter, it is almost a guarantee that the opposition can take it the other way and have a numbers advantage to use to attack the hoop.
In Game 5, the Pacers seemingly did a good job holding onto the ball, recording only 11 turnovers in four quarters. That’s a really good number for a team averaging nearly 14 per game in the postseason.
But after the game, David West made a good point when he referred to them as “home run” turnovers. He meant that they were egregious, live-ball turnovers that led directly to Washington points.
The boxscore agrees, showing that the Wizards turned Indiana’s 11 turnovers into 18 points (1.6 points per turnover). By contrast, the Pacers were only able to pick up 23 points on Washington’s 19 turnovers (1.2 points per turnover).
A lot of the damage came early, and a few turnovers in particular allowed the Wizards to stay in control of the game long enough that their later rebounding clinic would not just hurt the Pacers but utterly break them.
This early dribbling gaffe by Paul George was the grossest early blunder.
Look here for an even uglier view at George’s inability to dribble.
Soon after, George Hill commits the sin of not realizing a 7′, 300-point monster is right behind him, about to take away the ball. The result is a John Wall layup on the other end.
Then there was this lovely two-possession sequence: Hill again gives up the goods, which sparks a Bradley Beal breakaway dunk, and then George is back in on the act, coughing it up badly enough that the Wizards are able to get the ball to Wall in transition for layup try.
Give credit to Hill, in the second instance, for getting back to break up Wall’s bucket. But while hustling can help alleviate the damage, this was really just the Pacers getting lucky.
Really, that’s all it ever is — lucky — when you commit a live-ball turnover and don’t get burned. This is something that killed Indiana early in Game 5 and something the team knows it cannot get away with against the Heat. (See the turnover numbers against Miami in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.)
Yup, leave it to the Pacers: Even when the “win” the turnover battle, they can’t win.