Thursday, May 13, 2010
10 Game 6 nuggets
By Chris Forsberg
Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Thursday's Celtics-Cavaliers clash (ESPN, 8 p.m) in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):
1. In the history of the NBA playoffs, only 16.9 percent of the teams that have lost Game 5 of a best-of-seven series that was tied 2-2 have come back to win the series. But the Cavaliers face an even tougher road than that. Cleveland is the 13th team to lose Game 5 of a best-of-seven series that was tied 2-2 by at least 25 points. None of the previous 12 teams in that situation came back to win the series.
2. This is the 34th time that the Celtics have led a best-of-seven series 3 games to 2. Boston went on to win 32 of the previous 33 series in this situation (97.0 percent). That is the highest percentage for any franchise that has been up 3-2 in a best-of-seven series at least eight times.
3. Cleveland is a loss away from failing to reach the conference finals after winning 61 games during the regular season. Last season, the Cavaliers fell short of reaching the NBA Finals after winning 66 games during the regular season. There has been only one team in NBA history that has won 60+ games in consecutive seasons but failed to reach the NBA Finals in either of the seasons. The Milwaukee Bucks won 63 games in 1971-72 but lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals and followed that up with a 60-win season in 1972-73 season only to lose to Golden State in the Western Conference semis.
4. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers by 32 points in Cleveland in Game 5. The Cavs beat the Celtics by 29 points in Game 3 of this series. This marks the first time in NBA history that each team won a game on the road by 25-or-more points in the same playoff series.
5. Doc Rivers has a 6-11 (.353) record in games in which his team has had a chance to clinch a playoff series in his career as a head coach. That is tied with Doug Moe for the third-lowest career winning percentage in potential series-clinching games, ahead of Mike Fratello (3-8, .273) and Fred Schaus (5-13, .278) (minimum: 10 games).
6. Paul Pierce is averaging 23.3 points per game in games in which his team has had a chance to clinch a playoff series, the fourth highest average among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki (25.8), Kobe Bryant (25.5) and Shaquille O'Neal (24.7) (minimum: 15 games).
7. LeBron James is averaging 31.7 points per game in six games played in which his team has faced playoff elimination in his career. That is the highest career scoring average for any player who has appeared in at least five win-or-go-home games.
8. Shaquille O'Neal led the Cavaliers with 21 points in Game 5. Cleveland is the fourth different team that O'Neal has scored 20-or-more points for in a postseason game. Only two other active players have registered a 20-point game with four different teams in the postseason: Ron Artest (Pacers, Kings, Rockets and Lakers) and Stephen Jackson (Spurs, Pacers, Warriors and Bobcats).
9. Antawn Jamison is looking to reach the conference finals for the first time in his career. Jamison's 864 career regular-season games played are the fourth most among active players who have never appeared in the conference finals behind Juwan Howard (1,116), Andre Miller (897) and Grant Hill (868). (Hill is set to make his first conference finals appearance with Phoenix).
10. The Cavaliers are only 1-8 in their franchise history in games in which they have faced playoff elimination on the road (their only win came in Chicago in the first round in 1989).