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One more look at the Spurs’ dominant playoffs

Jun 22, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT

Tim Duncan Tim Duncan

We’ve marveled at the Spurs’ offense and overall dominance in the Finals.

But, a week after they the 2014 NBA championship, I still can’t get over how dominant San Antonio was throughout the entire postseason.

The Spurs outscored opponents by 11.6 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. Nobody else even neared that mark. The Heat finished second in net rating, outscoring opponents by just 1.8 points per 100 possessions.

Here are the net ratings for the five teams that outscored their opponents in the postseason:


The Spurs just tower over the competition!

If you’re curious, here are the net ratings for every playoff team:

Team Net rating
SAS +11.6
MIA +1.8
WAS +1.3
LAC +1.1
OKC +0.2
IND -0.5
BRK -0.9
HOU -1.9
ATL -3.3
DAL -3.4
TOR -3.8
CHI -4.4
GSW -4.8
MEM -6.8
POR -7.3
CHA -10.1

As amazing as the gap between the Spurs and the rest of the field seems, I wondered whether that disparity might be inevitable annually. After all, all but the NBA champion lose their final playoff series.

So, I compared the net rating of each NBA champion (black) to the net rating of each postseason’s best other team (silver):


Year Champion Net rating Best other Net rating Difference
2014 SAS +11.6 MIA +1.8 9.8
1999 SAS +10.3 IND +3.5 6.8
2001 LAL +13.5 CHA +7.7 5.8
2003 SAS +6.9 NJN +3.2 3.7
2011 DAL +6.7 MIA +3.6 3.1
1998 CHI +7.6 SAS +4.5 3.1
2004 DET +7.1 IND +4.9 2.2
2012 MIA +8.4 SAS +6.3 2.1
2008 BOS +6.4 NOH +4.3 2.1
2007 SAS +5.3 DET +4.0 1.3
2013 MIA +7.9 SAS +7.0 0.9
2006 MIA +5.2 LAC +4.5 0.7
2002 LAL +4.6 SAS +4.2 0.4
1997 CHI +6.8 SEA +6.9 -0.1
2005 SAS +4.1 MIA +5.4 -1.3
2009 LAL +7.6 DEN +9.6 -2.0
2000 LAL +2.4 POR +5.2 -2.8
2010 LAL +4.4 ORL +11.6 -7.2

Since 1997, as far back as records date, there’s never been an advantage over the field like this. Heck, the NBA champion doesn’t even always lead the playoffs in net rating.

The 2014 Spurs were an all-time great playoff team, second only to the 2001 Lakers in net rating in this span. Just as importantly, no opponents were equipped to challenge San Antonio.

The Mavericks somehow extended their first-round series with the Spurs to a Game 7. San Antonio won that by 23 points as part of a 13-4 run to close the postseason, leaving everyone else in the dust.

  1. lakerade - Jun 22, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    Sometimes revenge is a dish served hot, scorching hot.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      Miami gets the last laugh in the end because the one thing people are going to remember most from these two Spurs-Heat Finals is Game 6.

      • loubearkane - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:14 AM

        Think any of the 3 opt out?

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:37 AM


      • apkyletexas - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:31 AM

        I think there will be a few people outside of Miami who might remember 2014 games 3-4-5 as the biggest beat-down in history. But yes, here in San Antonio 2013 Game 6 has a prominent spot burned into the memory.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:47 AM

        That will just be a Game 6 footnote.

      • percybowl - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:33 AM

        lol what? I even respect the Heat, but if anything the average fan will remember the dominance of this years Spur’s team.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:40 AM

        Nah. People generally don’t remember basketball games unless they’re close. You certainly won’t see any of these Finals games replayed again and again like Game 6 (and Game 7) of the 2012-13 Finals will be.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:47 AM

        Personally, I’ll think about Timmy being 2 & 1 against LBJ in Finals between the two of them…

        Tough to be the best while NOT beating ones contemporaries…

        LBJ in Finals

        vs. Timmy he’s only 1 and 2 against Timmy

        vs. Dirk Nowitzki he’s 0 and 1 against Dirk

        vs. Durant he’s 1 and 0

        Hmm, the King, and all time great has a LOSING Finals record vs. TWO of his contemporaries…

        breaks my heart… such pain…

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:53 AM

        That makes one person. At least you have something to make you feel better when Game 6 is aired for the 100th time.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:05 AM

        “Hmm, the King, and all time great has a LOSING Finals record vs. TWO of his contemporaries…”

        That’s funny. What do you think MJ’s playoff record is against Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas?


        That includes a Game 7 loss to Thomas.

        LeBron is 1-3 vs Duncan and Dirk, including an epic Game 7 Finals win.

        I have no problems with that whatsoever.

      • percybowl - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:21 AM

        just because they’ll replay game 6 more times as filler on NBA TV does not equate to people remembering it more.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:39 AM

        Yeah, it kind of does. As Bill Simmons said of Game 6 recently, “I love so many things about the NBA, but over everything else, it’s those moments when you know you’re seeing something special — something that will get replayed forever, something that lets you say, ‘Yeah, I was there,’ and someone else turns into Will Hunting and screams, ‘Really? You were there? YOU WERE F—–G THERE?’ Yeah, I was there.”

      • ranfan12 - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:31 AM

        people wont even remember the heat after lebron leaves lol.

      • kavika6 - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:35 AM

        Does anyone even read antistratfordian’s comments anymore?

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:57 AM

        Apparently they do, and they also visit my blog and read that. I’m appreciative of anyone who takes the time to read anything I write – whether here or there.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 23, 2014 at 5:01 AM

        How can a team that gets humiliated by the widest margin ever get the last laugh? It just goes to show how lucky the Heat were the year before.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 6:32 AM

        Because if you ask an average fan to name the previous widest margin ever, they won’t have the slightest idea.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:11 AM

        sure..2013 was a banner year for the Heat…but this nation loves a “redemption” story…hence, the Spurs 2014 title will be icing reagrding that rivalry. thats the truth.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Well, sure there’s that aspect. But the rivalry is 1-1 and Miami won all of the most exciting games except for Game 1 last year. The most exciting game this year was also a Heat victory. Still – the legend of Game 6 has more staying power.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        Nope, people remember the last thing. Try again.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM

        Heh. Game 6 and Game 7 last year were two of the most watched basketball games in history. But ratings were down dramatically this year, and a lot of the people who watched Game 6 didn’t even watch the end of these finals because there was nothing to watch. The series was boring.

        The Finals ratings this year was single digits (9.3). Nobody cared.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:40 AM

        Wrong. The Heat getting smashed is what everyone will remember…

      • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        No. People don’t necessarily remember the latest thing – they remember the most memorable thing. Game 6 was obviously the most memorable basketball event of the last decade, aside from LeBron’s decision.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        Nope. People will remember the Spurs beating down the Heat to avenge their loss…actually questioning the Heat’s title thinking they could have/should have lost the previous year. Also, most people look at the NBA from a team perspective…not individually…but that makes sense coming from you…as you only follow a player…not a team.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        Haha. You sound desperate. But you can’t stop history. No one watched these finals, so what will they have to remember?

      • loungefly74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        haha! no desperation at all…just pointing out the Spurs destroyed the Heat…and that is what people will remember. that TD got his elusive 5th ring…that the Spurs have pretty much dominated the past 15 years.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        lol. You can try to keep up this charade, but you know as well as I do that people are only going to remember this series about as much as they remember all of the other low rated, unexciting series of the past.

        But they will definitely remember Game 6, which was as entertaining as basketball can get.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        they will remember Allen’s shot…but most of all, remember the Spurs coming out of the brutal west to kill the Heat in a revenge Final the following year.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        That’s kind of the point. Allen’s shot has been called the greatest shot in Finals history. Game 6 has been called the greatest game in Finals history. The whole thing is called one of the greatest series in Finals history.

        But it wasn’t one shot that made it memorable. It was the whole ebb and flow of the fourth quarter. The Heat comeback+the Spurs answer to the comeback+the Spurs collapse+the shot. Très mémorable.

        But the important thing here is that the greatest game in Finals history was won by the Heat.

        People will remember this low rated series about as much as they remember all of the other low rated series. Fans don’t like a short series, and they don’t care why it was short – they want a Game 7.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        as far as 2013 game 6, people remember Allen’s shot the most…

      • bucrightoff - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:19 AM

        People are gonna remember LeCramp and the Spurs winning the series by 70 points a lot more than a miracle shot that saved LeBron’s legacy. Make sure you start slurping Ray Allen’s nuts a bit more, you owe him big time.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        You have kind of made my point. The most memorable thing that happened in this series was LeBron’s cramps. Most people don’t dive into the details of these statistics like we do – we’re in the minority. The majority won’t know about the status of the margin of victory. They will remember how they felt when they watched Game 6 though, because it was jarring.

      • bknowledge - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:29 AM

        The average fan isn’t watching re-runs of old basketball games.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        It isn’t about watching it as much as it is about what needed to happen in a game in order for it to earn re-run status 30 years from now.

        It’s just an representative of how truly memorable it was.

  2. gameisours - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    2012 was OKC

    • gameisours - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      Sorry, didnt read the article thourogly

  3. ghostpong - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    Cant get over how dominant the spurs were throughout the entire postseason. Credit to Dallas for forcing a game 7.

    • apkyletexas - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      Even as a Spurs fan, I know that this playoff run was nothing compared to the dominance of Dr. J and Moses Malone through the 1983 playoffs. The 76ers only lost one game in the playoffs, and swept Pat Riley’s HOF-loaded title-defending Laker dream team of Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Wilkes and McAdoo. I don’t think any team is EVER going to put another beat-down on the entire NBA like that 76ers team did.

  4. ghostpong - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Expect great things from Kawhi next season , getting Finals MVP is a great confidence booster.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      It may actually be counterproductive because he didn’t deserve it. He might think it gives him license to do too much when he should just be the guy he was before he won it.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        And who do you think deserved the Bill Russell MVP award? LeBron? Sorry but Kawhi had a big time performance in these finals. He was everywhere on D and after a slow shooting start he balled out on O games 3-5, all Spurs wins. And he did it against LeBron, even more impressive. I’m not saying he outplayed LeBron overall… but he’s the reason the Spurs were able to dominate like they did.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        He didn’t do it against LeBron. LeBron was guarding Tony Parker as much as anybody.

        Kawhi didn’t even do his primary job, which was to stop LeBron – who had an unreal, and wildly under-appreciated, Finals series.

        And there were only 5 games, and Leonard was invisible in two of them. He actually allowed his man – the guy he was supposed to be shutting down – to beat his entire team in Game 2.

        So, yeah, I think either LeBron or Duncan should’ve won Finals MVP.

        You can read more about my thoughts about that if you want:

  5. 88heatnation - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:43 AM

    Credit Spurs for a great offensive display, a great coaching staff and general manager. They deserved it.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      Not arguing what you said as it’s all 100% true and correct.

      I’d like to add that the Spurs played great defense too…

      The Mighty Heat scored the following points in the 5 Finals games…

      1) 95
      2) 98
      3) 92
      4) 86
      5) 87

      The Heat averaged 91.6 points a game…

      The Heat averaged 98.5 points a game in the series with the Pacers and their good defense.

      Miami averaged 97.8 points per game vs. the Nyets…

      Miami averaged 101.8 against the team formerly known as the Bobcats…

      That 7 to 8 points LESS a game per average is fairly significant in pro ball…

      Yes, the Spurs had a fantastic offensive series…

      But they were not winning games 122 to 119 against the Heat.

      The Spurs played fantastic on offense and the Heat only averaged 91.6 points a game…

      • 88heatnation - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:13 AM

        Size also helps too, consider the fact that they have two 7footers we were out rebounded every game and late on rotations and closeouts, too busy focusing in and overhelping in the paint lack of size which left shooters wide open, it was evident. Dwade took a drop defensively very slow and cumbersome as well as offensively to be honest he decided all our games last year in the finals, him and Bron took turns against their defense and thats resulted in wins, that and a little bit of luck. But Spurs no doubt played great overall ball.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        good stats, sports. yeah, i just feel the Heat exposed the Pacers as a wannabe contender. Are the Pacers good? sure…but still so far away especially with the Heat around. the Spurs did something special to slow the Heat down dramtically. no one saw that coming.

  6. jacobk621 - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    @Sportsfan18 ,, and to add to what you are saying , the Heat scored a lot of their points in 3 of those 4 games when the outcome was pretty much decided ,, garbage time !!

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      great point!

  7. ajw21 - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    Spurs fan here, I personally could care less what people remember. Spurs are the 2014 Champs and Tim Duncan, the best power forward of all time has 5. That’s what I will remember, if someone else wants to see the Spurs as the team that lost the 2013 finals and not the 5 championships that’s fine, doesn’t effect me any.
    Go Spurs!

    • loungefly74 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      dude. beat that chest. the spurs are the best. no doubt. the feeling is incredible when your team is on top of the mountain…especially after getting redemption/revenge. i felt the same when my lakers came back to beat the celtics after losing the previous year to them. go on, ajw, live it up!

      • seansull83 - Jun 23, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        @loungefly74 and as a celtics fan that series will remain forgotten to us. But yeah celebrate this summer spurs fans it’s great

      • loungefly74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

        when the C’s won, it was great for the NBA too. but I’m glad the Lakers had a well-respected opponent to play against. I hate the C’s but i tip my hat to them. same with the Spurs.

  8. kb2408 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Why just one more look? I’d like to revisit this epic beat down once a week for the next year or so!! I haven’t gotten this much joy out of a team, not named the LAKERS, winning the title since the Mavs won it. See a pattern here? Who did they both beat?

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      It also be great to replay the un holly disaster the Lakers were last year, and continue to be.

      Hey at least Kobe’s tweeting in Italian while having a great time over at the World Cup! Signs of great things to come for sure!

      You losers hire a coach yet?

      Soon all the bandwagon LA fans will jump on the Clippers and forget about the pathetic Lakers.

      • ranfan12 - Jun 23, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        you’re basically saying you’re gonna root for the magic now?

  9. kb2408 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Oh, please, LAKER fans are loyal to the LAKERS. See, when a team has long term success ( like three decades plus!) they garner long term fans. In spite of what other fan bases think, we LAKER fans are smart fans. We know the LAKERS can’t win the title every season. But we do expect a title every 3-4 years! We’ve kinda gotten spoiled in that way.

  10. seagram757 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Still trying to justify Miami…smh

  11. peralez2383 - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    most dominant of all time

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