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Irish Coffee: Celtics vs. Heat tale of the tape

Posted By Ben Rohrbach On April 29, 2011 @ 1:03 pm In General | 1 Comment

Wake up with the Celtics [1] and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Not much needs to be said about what this second-round series means to the Celtics or the Heat. Regardless of what they say, I’m pretty sure the Celtics don’t like the Heat, and vice versa. The only guy I’m not sure about is Eddie House [2]. I don’t know if he likes anybody. But, as he told the Miami Herald [3], “We match up great.” So, let’s go to the tape …

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Celtics 3, Heat 1

90.5 … points … 92.3
12.0 … fast break points … 10.0
34.5 … points in the paint … 33.5
47.3 … FG% … 44.7
45.3 … 3P% … 28.6
71.5 … FT% … 74.0
35.8 … rebounds … 39.8
7.3 … o-rebounds … 11.5
28.5 … d-rebounds … 28.3
21.0 … assists … 18.5
6.5 … steals … 6.5
1.8 … blocks … 4.3
13.8 … turnovers … 15.8
22.3 … personal fouls … 20.3

Obviously, that point differential is swayed significantly by the Heat’s 100-77 victory in their fourth and final meeting of the regular season. Still, despite the Heat outscoring the Celtics 44-26 in the paint and 12-3 on the fast break in that game, the C’s still owned the advantage in those categories — in addition to their significant edge in 3-point shooting.

While offensive rebounding is always a concern for the Celtics, I wouldn’t worry too much about rebounding overall, considering the two teams played fairly even on the defensive glass and the Heat’s lower field-goal percentage meant more opportunities for offensive boards. The Celtics shot better and took care of the ball better — two huge categories in their favor.

Where Miami can win this series is at the free-throw line. They averaged five more trips to the charity stripe per game, and we all know how often LeBron James [4] and Dwyane Wade [5] get to the line –deservedly or not.

Now, let’s examine how the Celtics and Heat produced this season (league ranks in parentheses):

AVERAGES (OFFENSE)

Celtics vs. Heat

96.5 (23rd) … points … 102.1 (8th)
n/a … fast break points … n/a
38.2 (16th) … points in the paint … 32.5 (29th)
48.6 (1st) … FG% … 48.1 (2nd)
36.5 (12th) … 3P% … 37.0 (7th)
77.0 (11th) … FT% … 76.9 (12th)
38.8 (29th) … rebounds … 42.2 (9th)
7.8 (30th) … o-rebounds … 9.6 (27th)
31.0 (13th) … d-rebounds … 32.5 (2nd)
23.4 (4th) … assists … 20.0 (26th)
8.2 (3rd) … steals … 6.6 (26th)
4.2 (27th) … blocks … 5.2 (9th)
14.6 (22nd) … turnovers … 13.9 (11th)
20.5 (16th) … personal fouls … 20.4 (17th)

OPPONENT AVERAGES (DEFENSE)

Celtics vs. Heat

91.1 (1st) … points … 94.6 (6th)
n/a … fast break points … n/a
35.6 (7th) … points in the paint … 37.3 (12th)
43.4 (3rd) … FG% … 43.4 (2nd)
34.0 (5th) … 3P% … 34.5 (9th)
75.6 (9th) … FT% … 74.4 (2nd)
39.6 (4th) … rebounds … 39.2 (2nd)
10.5 (8th) … o-rebounds … 10.5 (9th)
29.1 (4th) … d-rebounds … 28.7 (2nd)
18.7 (1st) … assists … 20.1 (5th)
7.0 (9th) … steals … 7.0 (9th)
4.4 (10th) … blocks … 3.0 (1st)
15.4 (5th) … turnovers … 13.2 (28th)
20.2 (9th) … personal fouls … 21.8 (26th)

As you can see, statistically not much separates these two teams. The Heat scored more offensively, and the Celtics allowed fewer points defensively — but in terms of field-goal percentage, both teams ranked top-three on both sides of the ball.

If you’re looking for a couple advantages for the Celtics, note the assist numbers. The Celtics averaged 4.7 more assists than their opposition, while the Heat actually averaged 0.1 fewer assists. As the more experienced unit, the C’s move the ball better. Meanwhile, they disrupt their opponents’ offense better — reinforced by their advantages in steals and forced turnovers.

Now, for the statheads like me, let’s take a look at the advanced stats [6] for these two teams:

Celtics vs. Heat

92.3 (24th) … pace … 92.9 (21st)
23.3 (1st) … assist rate … 19.4 (22nd)
18.0 (1st) … opponents’ assist rate … 19.3 (9th)
14.5 (28th) … turnover rate … 13.5 (19th)
14.8 (3rd) … opponents’ turnover rate … 12.6 (26th)
-0.4 (11th) … turnover rate differential … 0.9 (22nd)
21.1 (30th) … offensive rebound rate … 25.2 (19th)
25.3 (9th) … opponents’ offensive rebound rate … 24.5 (4th)
-4.2 (29th) … offensive rebound rate differential … 0.7 (12th)
74.7 (9th) … defensive rebound rate … 75.5 (4th)
49.5 (19th) … rebound rate … 51.8 (3rd)
51.9 (7th) … effective FG% … 52.4 (4th)
46.9 (2nd) … opponents’ effective FG% … 47.5 (3rd)
5.0 (1st) … effective FG% differential … 4.9 (2nd)
30.5 (10th) … free throw rate … 36.3 (2nd)
31.0 (21st) … opponents’ free throw rate … 29.9 (13th)
-0.5 (16th) … free throw rate differential … 6.4 (2nd)
56.1 (5th) … true shooting percentage … 57.3 (2nd)
104.0 (17th) … offensive efficiency … 109.3 (3rd)
97.8 (2nd) … defensive efficiency … 100.7 (5th)
6.2 (6th) … efficiency differential … 8.6 (1st)

Based on the advanced statistics, you can see why someone like ESPN.com’s John Hollinger would pick the Heat to win [7] the series in five games or why SportsBetting.com has the Heat [8] (-190) favored over the Celtics (+165). But it’s important to remember that these numbers are based on their performance against the rest of the league.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that the Heat cleaned up against the dregs of the league. After all, the Heat are 24-21 against playoff teams and 37-4 against lottery clubs. By comparison, the Celtics are 32-14 against playoff teams and 28-12 against lottery clubs. And, obviously, the most important number is the C’s 3-1 record against the Heat.

This series is going to come down to the Celtics’ ball movement (a.k.a., open 3-pointers) against the Heat’s ability to get to the free-throw line (a.k.a., the superstar treatment).

If you’re looking for the individual matchups — Rajon Rondo [9] vs. poop soup, Ray Allen [10] vs. Dwyane WadePaul Pierce [11] vs. LeBron James, Kevin Garnett [12] vs. Chris Bosh, the centers and the benches — check out Paul Flannery’s breakdown [13]. Here’s my take …

  • Point guard: Significant advantage Celtics (just an obliteration)
  • Shooting guard: Advantage Heat (great scorer vs. great shooter)
  • Small forward: Advantage Heat (two-time returning MVP vs. one-time NBA Finals [14] MVP)
  • Power forward: Advantage Celtics (it’s all about effort)
  • Centers: Advantage Celtics (Jermaine O’Neal [15]‘s made me a believer)
  • Benches: Significant advantage Celtics (Glen Davis [16], in particular, should thrive)
  • Coaches: Advantage Celtics (Doc Rivers [17] has a title; Erik Spoelstra [18] doesn’t. It’s still that simple.)

The Miami Herald’s Israel Gutierrez picked the Heat [19] in seven games. I’m taking the Celtics in six.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee or a future mailbag? Send an e-mail tobrohrbach@weei.com [20] or a Twitter message to@brohrbach [21].)


Article printed from Green Street: http://greenstreet.weei.com

URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2011/04/29/irish-coffee-celtics-vs-heat-tale-of-the-tape/

URLs in this post:

[1] Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[2] Eddie House: http://media.weei.com/basketball/eddie-house.htm

[3] told the Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/28/2189139/heat-rotation-in-flux-as-miami.html

[4] LeBron James: http://media.weei.com/basketball/lebron-james.htm

[5] Dwyane Wade: http://media.weei.com/basketball/dwyane-wade.htm

[6] the advanced stats: http://hoopdata.com/teamadvancedstats.aspx

[7] pick the Heat to win: http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2011/matchup/_/teams/celtics-heat

[8] SportsBetting.com has the Heat: http://www.sportsbetting.com/sportsbook/nba-basketball-betting/

[9] Rajon Rondo: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[10] Ray Allen: http://media.weei.com/basketball/ray-allen-celtics.htm

[11] Paul Pierce: http://media.weei.com/basketball/paul-pierce.htm

[12] Kevin Garnett: http://media.weei.com/basketball/kevin-garnett.htm

[13] Paul Flannery’s breakdown: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2011/04/28/celtics-and-heat-offer-interesting-matchups/

[14] NBA Finals: http://media.weei.com/basketball/nba-finals.htm

[15] Jermaine O’Neal: http://media.weei.com/basketball/jermaine-oneal.htm

[16] Glen Davis: http://media.weei.com/basketball/glen-davis.htm

[17] Doc Rivers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/doc-rivers.htm

[18] Erik Spoelstra: http://media.weei.com/basketball/erik-spoelstra.htm

[19] picked the Heat: http://blogs.herald.com/miami_heat/

[20] brohrbach@weei.com: mailto:brohrbach@weei.com

[21] @brohrbach: http://twitter.com/brohrbach

[22] > Irish Coffee: Celtics vs. Heat tale of the tape" data-url="http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2011/04/29/irish-coffee-celtics-vs-heat-tale-of-the-tape/">Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

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