After the loss on Sunday I told myself again that Dirk has a history of not playing (as) well in Early Tip-Off games. A buddy agrees with me that it "seems" Dirk is affected by early start times. (We think Dirk said once he does not like early games.) I had pondered this previously, but yesterday afternoon I decided to try and find the actual Stats of early games for comparison. I could not find stats that I could sort by Tip-Off Time, so I decided to compile it for myself....
I pulled the Eastern Time Tip-Offs from ESPN.com Box Scores of all of Dirk's games where he actually played. (I did not adjust for local time. All times are ET) For career Regular Season games there were 48 games with 12PM to 2PM ET tip-offs, and 22 games with 2:30PM to 4:30PM ET tip-offs. For career Playoff games there were only 7 games with 12PM to 2PM ET tip-offs, and 10 games with 2:30PM to 4:30PM ET tip-offs. (Not a large playoff sample size... Later-round playoffs games are basically all in the evening) For the actual stats I pulled them from NBA.com game logs for Dirk.
The Results? There is not really a statistically significant drop for games starting before 5PM ET. For both Regular Season and Playoffs there is a very, very slight drop in FT% (1.38-1.50%) and in FG% (0.82%-1.53%) In the Playoffs there is a 2.96% drop in 3-Point% and an average drop of 1 Steal per-game. In the Regular Season Dirk scores on average 0.5 points more per game in games that start before 5PM ET, and in the Playoffs he scores about 0.5 points less in games that start before 5PM ET.
(This took a little while, but I really enjoyed reviewing all Dirk's playoff Stats as I copied data from each game.)
Go Mavs! Go Dirk!