Wednesday, December 8, 2010
10 nuggets on Celtics vs. Nuggets
By Chris Forsberg
Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Wednesday's Celtics vs. Nuggets clash (ESPN, 7 p.m) at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):
1. The Celtics are the only team in NBA history to have four players, each with at least 20,000 career points, play for them in one season: Shaquille O’Neal (28,425), Kevin Garnett (22,579), Ray Allen (21,280) and Paul Pierce (20,279). There are only three other current NBA players with that many points: Kobe Bryant (26,351), Dirk Nowitzki (21,634) and Tim Duncan (20,921).
2. Those four Celtics, paired with either Nate Robinson (4,221) or Rajon Rondo (3,561), have combined to score more than 96,000 points in the NBA. Only one other team in league history ever started a five-man unit that took the floor with as many combined career NBA points to their credit as Boston has this year. Karl Malone (36,889), Shaquille O’Neal (21,828), Gary Payton (19,915), Kobe Bryant (12,092) and Rick Fox (8,964) last started together for the Lakers on April 9, 2004; they entered that game with a total of 99,688 career points.
3. The Celtics haven’t played since Sunday while Denver is playing for the second straight night (The Nuggets lost at Charlotte last night). During the 2010 calendar year, Boston is only 2–2 in home games in which it had the previous two days off against an opponent that played the day before. Under those circumstances, the Celtics lost to the Mavericks (January 18) and Hornets (March 31), and beat the Clippers (January 25) and Wizards (November 17).
4. Kevin Garnett has averaged 12.0 rebounds over his last five games to rank third in the NBA during that time, behind Kevin Love (17.8) and Blake Griffin (13.2). Note that only one of Garnett’s last 42 rebounds has come off the offensive glass.
5. Chauncey Billups, who played the first half of his first NBA season for the Celtics (51 games in 1997–98), has scored 13,747 points since then. It’s the most points scored by any NBA player for other teams after playing for Boston. Two other former Celtics scored at least 10,000 points for other teams: Joe Johnson (12,319 and counting) and Paul Westphal (11,173).
6. Here are some other current players who are rarely remembered as part of the teams for which they debuted: Elton Brand, Bulls (1999–2000); Corey Maggette, Magic (1999–2000); Stephen Jackson, Nets (2000–01); Caron Butler, Heat (2002–03); Mehmet Okur, Pistons (2002–03).
7. George Karl can become the seventh coach to win 1,000 NBA games. Four of the six coaches with at least 1,000 NBA victories won their first attempt at 1000. Only Pat Riley and Jerry Sloan failed to do so. Karl lost his first try at 1,000 Tuesday night vs. Charlotte.
8. With a win tonight or in either of Denver’s next two games (at Toronto and New York), Karl would become the first head coach to earn his 1,000th NBA victory in a road game... Players with the most career wins with Karl as their head coach: Gary Payton (398), Ervin Johnson (345), Sam Perkins (320), Shawn Kemp (314) and Nate McMillan (271).
9. George Karl hasn’t posted a losing record as a head coach since he was let go by the Golden State Warriors with a 16–48 mark in the middle of the 1987–88 season. Since then, Karl has guided teams to a .500-or-better record in each of his 18 seasons as an NBA head coach (entering this season). The only other NBA coaches with streaks of 18 or more consecutive non-losing seasons are Phil Jackson (19 in a row entering this season) and Pat Riley (18, 1981–82 through 2000–01).
10. Gary Forbes, who played college ball at UMass-Amherst, 95 miles west of Boston, is one of two Minutemen currently active in the NBA. The other is former Nugget, Marcus Camby, who’s the second-most famous player from the school that produced Julius Erving.