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Bobcats and Rockets score less than anyone in 3 years (sort of)

Last night’s game between the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets was either the epitome of defense observed in the NBA this season or the worst offensive showing in the league since I started this website.  Considering the fact Houston and Charlotte were 29th and 30th in the league in defensive efficiency going into last night’s contest, I know which one I am leaning towards.

With 3+ seasons of numbers to look at, last night the Bobcats and Rockets combined for the lowest offensive efficiency in my database – it was close, but the title is theirs for now.  Here are the contenders:

Date Home Team Away Team Home Off Eff Away Off Eff Combined
1/10/2012 Charlotte Houston 72.9 84.5 157.4
2/11/2011 Philadelphia San Antonio 82.8 76.3 159.1
11/21/2010 Sacramento New Orleans 75.5 83.7 159.2
11/02/2009 Charlotte New Jersey 87.8 73.1 160.9
4/5/2011 Orlando Milwaukee 83.9 78.3 162.2
2/22/2010 New York Milwaukee 72.8 90.2 163.0
3/13/2011 Boston Milwaukee 100.0 63.6 163.6
1/3/2012 Chicago Atlanta 83.5 80.4 163.9

Another, and even more esoteric, award – last night the Bobcats and Rockets combined for the largest deficit between possessions played and points scored that I have on record (again, 3+ seasons – or as long as the Bobcats have been borderline relevant). The reason I even looked at this is because last night’s game was a slightly faster than normal pace for these two teams, with 193 total possessions, as opposed to the 188 expected by averaging their paces. That’s 5 more chances for someone to put points on the board, and last night marked the pinnacle of missing out on those opportunities, as Charlotte and Houston combined to score 41 fewer points than total possessions.

Why am I harping on this? Because what looks like a somewhat low scoring game was saved from being an even uglier, lower score by the pace being a bit amped up. Just think about Golden State’s inefficient offensive attack of the last few years – they may be near the league lead in points scored per game (7th last season), but they needed plenty of possessions to get there (13th in offensive efficiency). Last night’s game was like if the Warriors were playing but only allowed to shoot with their weak hand.

Date Teams Combined Points Possessions Margin
1/10/2012 Charlotte
152 193 -41
11/21/2010 New Orleans
148 186 -38
2/11/2011 San Antonio
148 186 -38
12/3/2010 New Jersey
175 211 -36
11/2/2009 New Jersey
147 183 -36
3/9/2011 Indiana
176 212 -36
1/28/2011 Boston
159 194 -35
4/5/2011 Milwaukee
150 185 -35

And, that’s no typo – Charlotte and New Jersey combined to play two of the worst offensive games in recent memory, a little over a year apart.  That they managed to score 36 points less than a point per possession both times is just coincidental icing on the metaphorical cake.

That’s all I’ve got.  Why’d I do this?  Probably because what we had hoped would be a fun shootout between two bad defensive teams turned into a brick-fest unmatched in recent years, and I wanted to put it in context (and maybe a little bitterness).