Boston Celtics: Nuggets

10 nuggets on Celtics vs. Nuggets

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
12:00
PM ET
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).

Garnett
Garnett
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.

Karl
Karl
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.

10 nuggets on Celtics vs. Bulls

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
1:45
PM ET
Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Friday's Celtics vs. Bulls clash (ESPN, 8 p.m) at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. Boston’s Big Three has scored 50.8 percent of the Celtics’ points this season. Ten NBA teams have a trio of players who have combined to score a higher percentage of their points than Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have scored for the Celtics.


2. Included among those trios are Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, who have combined to score 58.3 percent of Chicago’s points. The only threesome in the league to score a higher percentage of their team’s points than the Bulls’ trio is Miami’s Big Three (61.4 percent).

3. Joakim Noah is the only player to score 25 or more points and grab at least a dozen rebounds in a game against the Celtics this season (26 points, 12 rebounds in overtime on Nov. 5). He was the first Bulls player to do that against Boston since Elton Brand in January 2000.

Noah
Noah
4. Joakim Noah played 25 minutes against the Magic on Wednesday and it was the first time in his NBA career that he played at least 10 minutes in a game and didn’t pull down a rebound. Chicago’s total of 21 rebounds in that contest was the lowest in franchise history (previous low was 25) and lowest for any NBA team this season. There have been 111 instances of one player gathering at least 21 rebounds in a game for the Bulls, including three such games for Noah.

5. The Bulls have won six games this season in which they were trailing at the end of the third quarter. That ties them with Utah for the most such wins in the NBA. The Bulls are shooting 49.8 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter this season, the second-highest such mark in the league. Only Utah (51.2 percent) has a higher fourth-quarter field-goal percentage than the Bulls.

Rose
Rose
6. Derrick Rose enters his 175th game in the NBA tonight with career per-game averages of 19.4 points and 6.3 assists. In the era of the modern draft (i.e., since 1966), only three players selected with the first overall pick have averaged at least 19 points and six or more assists per game through their first 175 NBA games: Magic Johnson (1979 draft; 19.1 ppg, 8.2 ast/g) Allen Iverson (1996; 23.4, 6.7) and LeBron James (2003; 24.5, 6.4).

7. Derrick Rose scored a career-high 39 points in the Bulls’ 101–93 victory at United Center last season (April 13). Paul Pierce led Boston with 28 points in that game and Ray Allen added 25. It’s one of six games in which both Pierce and Allen have scored at least 25 points for the Celtics, but it’s the only such game that Boston lost.


8 . The most career points versus the Bulls among active NBA players? The Celtics have three of the top five: Paul Pierce (893), Vince Carter (886), Ray Allen (864), LeBron James (788) and Shaquille O’Neal (783).

9. Ray Allen has made 92.2 percent of his free throws since joining the Celtics. That’s the highest free-throw percentage in franchise history (minimum: 600 free throws made); Larry Bird is second (88.6 percent). Allen shot 90 percent or higher from the free-throw line in each of the past five seasons, but he’s made “only” 87.8 percent of his foul shots this season. The only qualifier in NBA history to shoot 90 percent or better from the line in each of six straight seasons was Rick Barry, who did it in his last six seasons in the league (1974–80 for the Warriors and Rockets).

10. The Celtics have had a different scoring leader in each of their last four games (Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal).

Bonus nugget: Brian Scalabrine is one of three players who joined the Bulls after playing at least 250 games for the Celtics. The others were Robert Parish and Joe Kleine.

10 nuggets on Celtics vs. Thunder

November, 19, 2010
11/19/10
2:00
PM ET
Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Friday's Celtics vs. Thunder clash (ESPN, 7 p.m) at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. Rajon Rondo has registered 10-or-more assists in each of his last nine games. That is the longest such streak in Boston’s franchise history. The previous Celtics record in that category was seven straight games by Nate Archibald (1981-82), Bob Cousy (1959-60), and Rondo (2009-10).


2. Only seven NBA players have scored at least 15 points in every game this season. The only team with two players in that group is Oklahoma City: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The others: Monta Ellis, Pau Gasol, LeBron James, Kevin Martin and Derrick Rose.

3. Durant and Westbrook are the first teammates to score at least 15 points in each of their team’s first 10 games since Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis did it for the Seattle Sonics in 2006. (Prior to that, no one had done it since 1994).

Green
Green
4. Jeff Green is out for Friday's game, but the Thunder are a different team with him. Green in combination with Durant and Westbrook gives Oklahoma City a “Big Three” to rival those in Boston and Miami. Last season, Durant, Westbrook, and Green accounted for 60 percent of the Thunder’s scoring. That was the highest such percentage by any three NBA teammates over the past four seasons (2006–2007 through 2009–2010).

5. Even with Green sidelined for five games, Durant, Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka have the highest “Big Three" scoring percentage in the NBA this season (61 percent). Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh have produced 60 percent of Miami’s scoring this season, to rank second in the NBA; Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett have accounted for 54 percent of Boston’s points and rank eighth.

Rondo
Rondo
6. Rondo and Westbrook have each led their team (or tied for the lead) in assists in all of their team’s games this season. Only four other players in the league can make that claim: D.J. Augustin, Derrick Rose, Jason Kidd and Deron Williams.

7. Durant, questionable for Friday's game, scored 37 points in his only trip to Boston last season. That tied the Thunder’s franchise record for the most points scored in a game against the Celtics in Boston. Durant shares the mark with three other players: Bob Rule (1968), Lonnie Shelton (1982) and Dale Ellis (1987), all of whom scored 37 points against the Celtics at the Boston Garden.


8. Allen has played 243 games with Boston after appearing in 296 games with the Seattle SuperSonics earlier in his career. Only four other players have appeared in at least 200 games with each of these franchises: Dana Barros, Dennis Johnson, Xavier McDaniel, and Paul Silas.

9. The Blazers announced on Wednesday that Greg Oden would miss the entire 2010–11 season. After being drafted No. 1 overall, Oden’s total of 82 NBA games through four seasons is the lowest since the NBA abolished the territorial draft in 1966. So it’s worth mentioning the Thunder’s good fortune in Durant falling to No. 2 in the 2007 draft. Durant’s scoring average in his first three seasons was the second-highest recorded by any No. 2 overall pick in the first three seasons after he was drafted (also since 1966).

10. The top five (draft year in parentheses): Bob McAdoo, 27.7 (1972); Durant, 25.3 (2007); Earl Monroe, 24.5 (1967); Sidney Wicks, 23.6 (1971); Dave Bing, 23.5 (1966).

10 nuggets on Celtics vs. Bulls

November, 5, 2010
11/05/10
2:22
PM ET
Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Friday's Celtics vs. Bulls clash (ESPN, 8 p.m) at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. Rajon Rondo had 15 assists (14 in regulation) in the Celtics’ overtime win against Milwaukee on Wednesday. Rondo’s 82 assists this season are an NBA record for one player through his first five games of a season. He broke the mark of 81 assists previously shared by Magic Johnson (1988) and John Stockton (1989). Rondo needs 17 assists tonight to keep pace with the NBA record for most assists through a player’s first six games of a season (Stockton holds that mark with 99 during the 1989–90 season).

Pierce
Pierce
2. Paul Pierce scored 28 points on Wednesday night, including the 20,000th point of his career. Pierce was the 20th player in NBA history to net at least 20,000 points for one team and he’s the third player to reach that milestone for the Celtics, joining John Havlicek (26,395) and Larry Bird (21,791). The only other franchise with as many 20,000-point players as the Celtics is the Lakers, who have four: Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor.

3. Paul Pierce has made his last 15 free throws. The only NBA player with a longer current streak than Pierce (entering Friday's game) is Jeff Green of the Thunder (18 straight free throws made).


4. Nate Robinson has made only 19.2 percent (5 of 26) of his field-goal attempts this season. That’s the lowest field-goal percentage among NBA guards with at least 15 shots from the floor.

5. Derrick Rose scored a career-high 39 points in the Bulls’ 101–93 victory at United Center the last time these clubs met (April 13). Paul Pierce led Boston with 28 points in that game and Ray Allen added 25. It’s one of five games in which both Pierce and Allen have scored at least 25 points for the Celtics, but it’s the only such game that Boston lost.

Scalabrine
Scalabrine
6. Brian Scalabrine has made six of seven field-goal attempts this season (85.7 percent) but his 38.9 percent career field-goal percentage is the second lowest among active players (minimum: 1,400 FGA).

7. Rose is averaging 21.5 field-goal attempts per game this season. That ranks him second in the NBA to Kevin Durant (23.0 FGA/G). The only other player who is averaging as many as 20 field-goal attempts per game this season is Monta Ellis (20.5).


8. The Knicks scored 70 first-half points on their way to a 120–112 victory last night in Chicago. It was the first time in almost 14 years (Dec. 17, 1996 vs. the Lakers) that the Bulls allowed at least 70 points in the first half of a home game.

9. Joakim Noah leads the NBA with an average of 14.8 rebounds per game. No Bulls player has finished a season as the league’s leading rebounder since Dennis Rodman in 1997–98. Noah has pulled down at least 10 rebounds in each of his last seven regular-season games (dating back to last season). That’s the longest current streak of its kind in the league; Luis Scola is second (4).

10. Taj Gibson has fouled out of 10 games over the last two seasons (including one this year). No other NBA player more than seven DQs over that span.

10 nuggets on Celtics vs. Bucks

November, 3, 2010
11/03/10
2:35
PM ET
Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Wednesday's Celtics vs. Bucks clash (ESPN, 8 p.m) at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. Rajon Rondo had 17 assists in the Celtics’ victory Tuesday in Detroit. It was the third time in four games this season that he’s been credited with at least that many assists. Rondo’s 67 assists are an NBA record by one player through his first four games of a season. He broke the mark of 65 assists previously shared by Magic Johnson (in the fall of 1988) and John Stockton (the following year). Johnson and Stockton still share the NBA record for most assists through the first five games of a season (81 each).

Rondo
Rondo
2. It’s not only Rondo who’s piling up the assists for Boston. The Celtics have registered assists on 76 percent of their field goals this season, compared to an NBA average of 57 percent. Boston has been credited with assists on all but one of its 3-point field goals (22 of 23). Paul Pierce had an unassisted 3-pointer vs. Detroit.

3. Rajon Rondo has led the Celtics in assists (tied or outright) in each of Boston’s last eight games against the Bucks. That ties him with Dennis Johnson (1986-88) for the longest such streak by Boston player in the history of this rivalry.


4. The Bucks jumped off to a 14–2 lead against the Trail Blazers at Bradley Center Tuesday night before dropping a 90–76 decision. With that defeat, the Bucks matched the number of home losses they had all last season in games they led by 12 or more points. (Last Nov. 28, Orlando overcame a 17-point deficit to win at Milwaukee, 100–98.)

5. Brandon Jennings leads NBA sophomores in minutes played this season, but three second-year players have higher scoring averages than Jennings, who is averaging 14.3 points per game. Tyreke Evans (20.7), Stephen Curry (20.5) and DeMar DeRozan (15.7) have higher averages.

Delfino
Delfino
6. Carlos Delfino scored 11 points in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game. It was two points shy of Delfino’s single-game high for first-period points (13 first-quarter points twice in his career).

7. Andrew Bogut has four go-ahead baskets this season (either from the floor or from the free-throw line). The only starting center with more go-ahead buckets this season than Bogut is Roy Hibbert (seven).


8. The all-time series between the Celtics and Bucks is tied at 91 wins apiece. Only two other pairs of current NBA franchises that have faced each other as often as these two teams are deadlocked in their all-time series against each other: the Royals/Kings vs. the Warriors (179 wins each), and the SuperSonics/Thunder vs. the Trail Blazers (100 wins each).

9. The Celtics won their first five games against Milwaukee (all in 1968) but the Bucks evened their all-time series against Boston at 6–6 before the end of the 1969–70 season (Lew Alcindor’s rookie campaign). The all-time series has been tied 18 times.

10. Both the Bucks (at home against the Trail Blazers) and Celtics (at Detroit) played Tuesday night. The Bucks are scheduled to play 23 pairs of games on consecutive days this season, tying them with the Hawks and Bulls for the most sets of back-to-back games in the NBA. There’s a wide discrepancy between the teams with the most and fewest pairs of games on consecutive days. The Lakers are scheduled to play on back-to-back days only 15 times this season (NBA low). Last season, the Bucks posted the NBA’s third-best record in the second of “back-to-back” games (14–8, .636). The only teams with better marks in such games than Milwaukee were the Trail Blazers (15–4, .789) and Lakers (13–7, .650). The Celtics’ 11–7 (.611) record tied them with the Cavaliers for fourth-best in the league.

Game 7: Celtics vs. Lakers nuggets

June, 17, 2010
6/17/10
11:40
AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind when the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers clash (ABC, 9 p.m.) in Game 7 of the NBA Finals Thursday evening at the Staples Center (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. This is the fifth time that the Celtics and Lakers will be meeting in a Game 7. That is the fourth highest total of Game 7s played between two opposing teams in the three major North American pro sports that use series to determine playoff winners. In the NHL, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have met in a Game 7 seven times and the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs have done it six times. In the NBA, the Celtics and 76ers have met in a Game 7 six times.


2. This is the eighth time that the defending NBA champion will be playing in a Game 7 in the Finals. The defending champs are 6-1 in those games, including a perfect 5-0 mark at home. The only team to lose in that situation was the Pistons against the Spurs in San Antonio in 2005.

3. Kevin Garnett is averaging 21 points and 15 rebounds per game in three appearances in a Game 7 in his career. Only four other players in NBA history are averaging 20+ points and 15+ rebounds per game in Game 7 (minimum: two games): Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain, Dave Cowens and Bob Pettit.

Bynum
Bynum
4. Andrew Bynum is expected to start at center for the Lakers in the deciding game of the NBA Finals. Only two players have played at least 10 minutes in a Game 7 in the NBA Finals at a younger age than Bynum (22 years, 233 days old today): Seattle's Jack Sikma in 1978 (22 years, 205 days old) and Boston's Tom Heinsohn in 1957 (22 years, 230 days old). (The NBA began tracking minutes played in 1951-52).

5. After appearing in each of Boston's first 23 games of the 2010 playoffs, Kendrick Perkins has been declared out for Game 7. Only one other player has missed Game 7 of the NBA Finals after appearing in all of his team's playoff games prior to that: Bob McAdoo in 1984.

Wallace
Wallace
6. Rasheed Wallace went 0-for-7 from the field in Game 6. Only one player has had a worse shooting performance in a game in which his team had a chance to win the NBA title. Seattle's Dennis Johnson was 0-for-14 from the field in Game 7 of the 1978 Finals.

7. The Celtics 22-point margin of defeat in Game 6 marked the third time in the 2010 playoffs that they have lost a game by 20-or-more points. Only two teams in NBA history have won an NBA title in a season in which they lost three games by 20-or-more points during the playoffs: the Rockets in 1995 (three) and the Lakers in 1972 (three).


8. In the history of the NBA playoffs, the visiting team has posted a .200 winning percentage in Game 7 (21-84). But the Celtics have registered a 3-2 record (.600) on the road in Game 7, the highest winning percentage for any NBA franchise.

9. Ray Allen has made 54 3-point field goals in the 2010 playoffs. That is four shy of the record for the most three-pointers in a single postseason. Indiana's Reggie Miller made 58 shots from beyond the arc during the 2000 playoffs.

10. Allen has made all 19 of his free-throw attempts in this series. If he does not miss from the line in tonight's game, Allen will set the NBA record for most free-throws made without a miss in an NBA Finals series. The record is currently held by Vlade Divac, who went 13-for-13 in 1991.

Game 6: Celtics vs. Lakers nuggets

June, 15, 2010
6/15/10
12:00
PM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind before the Celtics and Lakers clash (ABC, 9 p.m) in Game 6 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night at the Staples Center (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. In the history of the NBA playoffs, only 14.4 percent of the teams that have trailed a best-of-seven series, 3-2, have come back to win the series. But history suggests the odds are not as daunting for the Lakers. In the history of the NBA playoffs, the defending league champion has trailed a best-of-seven series, 3-2, 25 times and has come back to win the series in 10 of those instances (40 percent).


2. The Celtics are looking to clinch the NBA title in Los Angeles tonight. There have been only five teams in NBA history that have won the clinching game of the NBA Finals on the home court of the defending NBA champions: New York Knicks against the Lakers in 1973, Seattle against Washington in 1979, Philadelphia against the Lakers in 1983, the Lakers against Boston in 1985 and Detroit against the Lakers in 1989.

3. If the Celtics go on to win this series, they will have beaten four teams in this postseason that combined for a .683 winning percentage during the regular season. Only four teams in NBA history have won an NBA title by beating teams in the postseason that combined for a higher regular-season winning percentage than .683: New York in 1973 (.732), Houston in 1995 (.726), the Lakers in 1980 (.691) and Chicago in 1997 (.686). (The Lakers also beat teams that combined for a .683 winning percentage en route to the 1972 title).

Bryant
Bryant
4. Kobe Bryant scored 38 points in the Lakers’ loss in Game 5. That was the most points scored by a visiting player in Boston in an NBA Finals game since Jerry West scored 40 points at the Garden on April 29, 1969.

5. Bryant scored his 5,000th career point in the postseason in Game 5, becoming the fourth player to reach that milestone. But only one player other than Bryant has scored 5,000 points in the postseason with one franchise: Michael Jordan (5,987 with the Bulls).

Allen
Allen
6. Ray Allen was 0-for-4 from three-point range in Game 5 after going 0-for-8 in Game Three and 0-for-4 in Game Four. Since the NBA instituted the three-point line in 1979, only one other player has shot 0-for-4 or worse from beyond the arc in three straight postseason games: Allen Iverson in 2001 (0-for-8; 0-for-5; 0-for-4).

7. Derek Fisher is shooting 34.8 percent in his career in games in which his team has faced playoff elimination. Only two players that ended the 2009-10 season on an active roster have a lower career field-goal percentage in “win-or-go-home” games than Fisher (minimum: 70 FGA): Jerry Stackhouse (.337) and Jason Williams (.346).


8. Phil Jackson is 9-2 at home in games in which his team has faced playoff elimination in his career as a head coach. The only two teams to celebrate a series-clinching win on Jackson’s home court are the Magic (1995 at Chicago) and the Spurs (2003 at Lakers).

9. Doc Rivers is only 1-9 (.100) on the road in games in which is team has had a chance to clinch a playoff series in his career as a head coach. That is the lowest such winning percentage for any head coach in NBA history (minimum: five games).

10. The Celtics have lost each of their last five games in which they have had a chance to clinch a playoff series on the road. That is the second longest current streak in the league (Houston, 6).

Game 5: Celtics vs. Lakers nuggets

June, 13, 2010
6/13/10
11:35
AM ET
BOSTON -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind before the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers clash (ABC, 8 p.m) in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Sunday night at TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. The Celtics defeated the Lakers in Game 4 with Paul Pierce leading the team in scoring with 19 points and Kendrick Perkins leading the team with seven rebounds. That marked only the third time in the shot clock era that a team won an NBA Finals game without a 20-point scorer or a double-digit rebounder. The only other teams to do that in the shot clock era are the Washington Bullets against Seattle on June 7, 1978 (leading scorer: Bob Dandridge and Charlie Johnson 19; rebounder: Wes Unseld 9) and the Spurs vs. the Cavaliers on June 12, 2007 (leading scorer: Tony Parker 17; rebounder: Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan 9).


2. The Celtics and Lakers have alternated wins through the first four games of this series. If the Lakers win tonight, it will mark only the third time in the last 29 years that the first five games of an NBA Finals series had a different winner in each game. The only times that has happened since the 1982 Finals was in 1992 (Chicago vs. Portland) and 2003 (New Jersey vs. San Antonio).

3. Kobe Bryant scored 33 points in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss. That marked the seventh time that Bryant has scored 30-or-more points on the road in this postseason. That is the second most 30-point road games in a single postseason. Bryant set the record in that category with nine in the 2009 postseason, and Elgin Baylor (1962), Michael Jordan (1993 and 1998) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1995) did it in seven games.

Bryant
Bryant
4. Bryant needs 16 more points to reach 600 in this year’s playoffs. That would mark the third time in his career that Bryant will have scored 600 points in a single postseason. Only one player in NBA history has done that three times: Michael Jordan (1992, 1993 and 1998).

5. The Lakers lost Game 4 despite entering the fourth quarter with a lead. Prior to Game Four, Phil Jackson was 33-3 in NBA Finals games in which his team had a lead at the end of the third quarter. Jackson lost two such games to Portland in the 1992 Finals and once to Boston in 2008.

Davis
Davis
6. Glen Davis’ field-goal percentage has increased in each successive quarter in this year’s playoffs. He is shooting .300 in the first quarter, .471 in the second quarter, .524 in the third quarter and .600 in the fourth quarter.

7. Rajon Rondo is averaging 13.8 points per game in the postseason in his career as compared to his lifetime 10.7 points per game average during the regular. That 3.1 increase in career scoring average from the regular season to the playoffs is the largest among players that were active during the 2009-10 regular season (minimum: 50 playoff games).


8. Derek Fisher has missed each of his last 11 3-point field goal attempts. That equals the longest streak of consecutive 3-point misses in the postseason in his career. Fisher missed 11 straight shots from beyond the arc during the 2009 playoffs.

9. Doc Rivers’ Celtics defeated Phil Jackson’s Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. Rivers is attempting to become just the second head coach to beat Jackson multiple times in a postseason series. The only head coach who has done that is Mike D’Antoni, whose Suns defeated Jackson and the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs in 2006 and 2007.

10. The Lakers have won each of their last 14 games played with a playoff series tied. The last time the Lakers lost a game with the series tied was Game One of the 2009 Western Conference semifinals against Houston.

Game 4: Celtics vs. Lakers nuggets

June, 10, 2010
6/10/10
12:05
PM ET
BOSTON -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind before the Celtics and Lakers clash (ABC, 9 p.m) in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. The Celtics face long odds in their quest to win the title. In the history of the NBA Finals, only seven of the 44 teams that have trailed 2-1 have come back to win the series (13.7%). But the Celtics have been in this situation in the Finals seven times in their franchise history and have come back to win the series in four of those instances (57.1 percent), with three of those coming at the expense of the Lakers (1962, 1969 and 1984).

Allen
Allen
2. Ray Allen was 0-for-13 and scored only two points in 42 minutes of action in Game 3 after leading the Celtics to a Game 2 victory with a 32-point performance. Allen is the third player in NBA history - in the regular season or postseason - to play at least 40 minutes and score as few as two points in a game immediately following a 30-point performance. Ricky Davis was held scoreless in 45 minutes on January 16, 2006 after scoring 33 points in the previous game; and Jo Jo White scored just two points in 40 minutes on February 10, 1974 after scoring 30 points in his previous game.

3. Allen was 0-for-8 from 3-point range in Game 3. Allen ranks fifth in NBA postseason history in career 3-point field goal percentage among the 78 players with 200+ attempts. But his performance in Game 3 marked the eighth time in his postseason career he has shot 0-for-5 or worse from three-point range -- the most such games for any player in NBA history.


4. Lamar Odom was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field for the Lakers in Game 3. That is the best shooting performance in an NBA Finals game since Carl Herrera went 6-for-6 for the Rockets against the Knicks on June 19, 1994.

5. Phil Jackson has won 27 of the 28 best-of-seven series in which his team has led 2-1 in his career as a head coach (96.4 percent).


6. Paul Pierce is shooting 18.8 percent from the field in the first half (3 for 16) and 50 percent from the field in the second half (10 for 20) through the first three games of this series.

7. Ron Artest is shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from the line in the 2010 playoffs. Only two players in NBA history have made less than 40 percent of their field goal attempts and less than 60 percent of their free throw attempts in a postseason (minimum: 200 FGA): Woody Sauldsberry in 1961 (.364 FG%; .560 FT%) and George McGinnis in 1977 (.374 FG%; .570 FT%).

lastname
lastName
8. Jackson registered his 112th career playoff win as head coach of the Lakers in Game 3. That breaks the record for the most postseason wins any head coach has with a single franchise in NBA history, surpassing the 111 victories that Jackson registered with the Bulls. While Jackson has won 100+ games with two different franchises, only two other head coaches have reached that milestone with one team: Gregg Popovich (106; Spurs) and Pat Riley (102; Lakers).

9. The Lakers have posted a 26-11 (.703) record in the 37 games that Andrew Bynum has started in the postseason in his career. That is the highest personal winning percentage in postseason starts for any active player, followed by Derek Fisher (96-48, .667) and Kobe Bryant (115-59, .661) (minimum: 30 starts in the playoffs).

10. The visiting team has won two of the first three games of this series. This is the first time since 2003 that the visitors have won at least two of the first thee games of an NBA Finals series.

Game 3: Celtics-Lakers nuggets

June, 8, 2010
6/08/10
6:30
PM ET
BOSTON -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Tuesday's Celtics vs. Lakers clash (ABC, 9 p.m) in Game 3 of the NBA Finals at the TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. The Celtics wrestled homecourt advantage away from the Lakers with their victory in Game 2. But history suggests that the Lakers are still in the driver's seat to win the title. Prior to this series, there were 30 NBA Finals in which the visiting team won one of the first two games (counting only series in which the same team hosted Games 1 and 2). Only 10 of those 30 teams went on to win the series (33.3 percent).

Rondo
Rondo
2. Rajon Rondo registered 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in Boston's Game 2 victory. At the age of 24 years, 104 days old, Rondo became the second youngest player to record a triple double in an NBA Finals game. The only player to do that at a younger age than Rondo was Magic Johnson, who recorded a triple-double in Game 5 of the 1980 NBA Finals against the 76ers at the age of 20 years, 274 days old.

3. Pau Gasol had 25 points and six blocked shots and Andrew Bynum registered 21 points and seven blocked shots for the Lakers in Game 2. That marked only the second time that two teammates registered at least 20 points and five blocked shots in a postseason game. The only other teammates to do that were Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon on May 13, 1986.


4. The Celtics have been outscored by 13 points in the 59 minutes that Kevin Garnett has been on the court in this series. In the 37 minutes that Garnett has been on the bench, Boston has outscored the Lakers by nine points through the first two games.

5. Gasol has registered nine blocked shots through the first two games of this series. Only three other players have recorded at least nine blocks through the first two games of an NBA Finals series since the NBA began tracking that category in 1973: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (11 in 1980), Tim Duncan (10 in 2003) and Dan Majerle (nine in 1993).


6. Kobe Bryant has scored at least 20 points and handed out at least five assists in each of his last seven NBA Finals games dating back to last season. That is one shy of the NBA record in that category. Jerry West had 20+ points and 5+ assists in eight straight Finals games spanning the 1968 and 1969 postseason. Two other players did it in seven straight Finals games: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971-74) and Michael Jordan (1991-92).

7. Ron Artest shot only 1-for-10 from the field and fouled out in the Lakers' Game 2 loss. Artest was the first player in 41 years to foul out and shoot as low as 10 percent from the field on more than five attempts in an NBA Finals game. The last player to do that prior to Artest was Boston's Bailey Howell against the Lakers on May 3, 1969 (1-for-10).

Fisher
Fisher
8. Bryant and Derek Fisher have started in the same backcourt in 115 postseason games. That is the most games any two players have started together at the guard position in NBA playoff history. Bryant and Fisher recently surpassed the record that was previously held by Magic Johnson and Byron Scott, who started 113 postseason games in the same backcourt for the Lakers.

9. Phil Jackson has registered 20 victories on the road in the NBA Finals in his career as a head coach. Only one other head coach in NBA history has recorded as many as half the number of road wins in the Finals as Jackson: Red Auerbach (14).

10. The Celtics have scored fewer than 100 points in each of their last seven home playoff games. That ties the longest such streak in Boston's franchise history. The Celtics scored fewer than 100 points in seven straight home playoff games during the 2008 postseason.

Game 2: Celtics-Lakers nuggets

June, 6, 2010
6/06/10
11:00
AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind before the Celtics and Lakers clash (ABC, 8 p.m.) in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. The Lakers defeated the Celtics by 13 points in Game 1 of this series. Prior to the 2010 playoffs, 29 teams won the first game of the NBA Finals by 10-or-more points. Of those teams, 24 went on to win the series (82.8 percent). The five teams that lost the series: Philadelphia vs. Baltimore (1948), New York vs. the Lakers (1972), Boston vs. the Lakers (1985), Detroit vs. the Lakers (1988) and Dallas vs. Miami (2006).


2. The Celtics have already won a series after losing the first game in this postseason (conference semifinals vs. Cleveland). Since the NBA instituted the current playoff format in 1983-84, only five teams have won two playoff series after losing Game 1 in a single postseason: Houston in 1995, Philadelphia in 2001, San Antonio in 2003, Miami in 2006 and Dallas in 2006.

3. Only 27 percent of the teams that have lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals have come back to win the series. But the Celtics have been in this situation in the NBA Finals six times and went on to win the series in four of those instances (66.7 percent) -- with three of those comebacks coming at the expense of the Lakers (1966, 1969 and 1984).

Bryant
Bryant
4. Kobe Bryant has scored 30-or-more points in 11 out of his last 12 playoff games. Only three other players in NBA history scored 30+ points at least 11 times in a 12-game stretch within a single postseason: Elgin Baylor in 1962, Jerry West in 1966 and Michael Jordan in 1989.

5. Bryant has scored 501 points in this postseason. This is the fifth time that Bryant has scored 500-or-more points in a single playoff season. Only one player in NBA history has done that more times than Bryant: Michael Jordan (eight times).

Allen
Allen
6. Ray Allen is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in the NBA Finals in his career (22-for-44). That is the highest career three-point field-goal percentage in NBA Finals history for any of the 66 players with at least 20 attempts from beyond the arc.

7. Phil Jackson registered his 44th career victory in the NBA Finals in Game 1. That is one more win in the NBA Finals than the combined total of the 33 other head coaches who appeared in at least one game during the 2009-10 regular season (43 Finals wins).


8. The Lakers have won each of their last 20 best-of-seven series in which they have won Game 1. That is the second longest such streak in NBA history (Boston 22 straight from 1958-73)... The Lakers are 29-3 (.906) at home in the postseason since the start of the 2008 playoffs. The combined home winning percentage of all other teams in the postseason over that span is .665.

9. Boston shot 1-for-10 from 3-point range in Game 1. That tied the second-lowest 3-point percentage by a team in an NBA Finals game (min: 10 attempts). Portland was 1-for-12 against Chicago on June 5, 1992 and the Lakers were 1-for-10 against the Nets on June 5, 2002.

10. There are seven active players that have appeared in an NBA Finals series with two different franchises. Five of those players are on an active roster in this series: Shannon Brown (Cavaliers and Lakers), Michael Finley (Spurs and Celtics), D.J. Mbenga (Mavericks and Lakers), Josh Powell (Mavericks and Lakers) and Rasheed Wallace (Pistons and Celtics). The other two players are James Posey (Heat and Celtics) and Shaquille O’Neal (Heat, Magic and Lakers).

Game 1: 10 Celtics-Lakers nuggets

June, 3, 2010
6/03/10
12:30
PM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Thursday's Celtics-Lakers clash (ABC, 9 p.m) in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. Teams in the four major North American pro sports that have reached their league's ultimate series (or game) the most times (including this year's NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals): New York Yankees (40; MLB); Montreal Canadiens (32; NHL); Minneapolis/L.A. Lakers (31; NBA); Detroit Red Wings (24; NHL); Toronto Maple Leafs (21; NHL); Boston Celtics (21; NBA).


2. The Celtics struggled for much of the second half of the regular season, posting only a 27-27 record over their final 54 games. Only one team in NBA history has won the NBA title after registering a .500-or-lower winning percentage over their final 54 games of the season: the Washington Bullets in 1978 (27-27 over final 54 games of 1977-78 season).

3. The Lakers (57) finished with seven more wins than the Celtics (50) during the regular season. This is the 30th time that the NBA Finalists were separated by at least seven wins during the regular season. Only five of the previous 29 teams with the fewer wins won the series (17 percent): St. Louis vs. Boston in 1958, Boston vs. the Lakers in 1969, Golden State vs. Washington in 1975, Houston vs. Orlando in 1995 and Miami vs. Dallas in 2006.

Bryant
Bryant
4. Kobe Bryant averaged 33.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.3 assists in the Lakers' conference finals victory over Phoenix. Only three other players have averaged at least 33 points, seven rebounds and eight assists per game in a postseason series: Oscar Robertson in the 1963 Eastern Division Finals (33.4 points; 12.4 rebounds; 8.6 assists), Michael Jordan in the 1989 conference semifinals (35.7/9.5/8.3) and LeBron James in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals (38.5/8.3/8.0).

5. Phil Jackson, who has won 10 championships as a head coach, is opposing Doc Rivers, who guided the Celtics to the NBA title in 2008. This is only the second time in the last 23 years that the opposing head coaches in an NBA Finals each enter the series with at least one championship on their resume. The only other time that has happened since 1988 was in the 2005 Finals when Gregg Popovich's Spurs opposed Larry Brown and the Pistons.

Pierce
Pierce
6. The Celtics have had a different player lead the team in scoring outright in Game 1 in each of the three rounds of this postseason (Paul Pierce led in the first round, Rajon Rondo in the conference semis, and Ray Allen in the conference finals). Only four teams in NBA history have had four different outright scoring leaders in the first game of four playoff series within one season: the Lakers in 1984, Detroit in 1989, Dallas in 2006 and Cleveland in 2007.

7. Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson have won 110 postseason games together. With their next victory, Bryant and Jackson will break the record for the most playoff wins by a player/coach combination. Jackson and Bryant currently share the record with Jackson and Scottie Pippen, who won 110 playoff games together with the Bulls.


8. The Lakers and Celtics have played 67 games against each other in the postseason (the Celtics won 40 of those games). That is the second most games any two opposing teams have played against one another in the postseason in NBA history. The Celtics and 76ers have opposed each other in 93 postseason games.

9. The Lakers have won each of their last five series-opening games. That is the longest current streak for any team in the league.

10. Phil Jackson has a 41-5 career record in series-opening home games as a head coach. Jackson is 19-3 with the Lakers in those games after going 22-2 with the Bulls.

Game 6: Postgame nuggets

May, 29, 2010
5/29/10
11:31
AM ET
Here are six leftover facts and figures after the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals Friday night at TD Garden (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):


1. The Celtics reached the NBA Finals after beating the team with the best record (Cavaliers) and team with the second-best record (Magic) during the regular season. Boston is only the second team in NBA history to beat the outright No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the league before reaching the Finals. The other team to accomplish this was the Rockets in 1995. Houston beat Utah (No. 2) and San Antonio (No. 1) before sweeping the Magic for the NBA title.

2. Paul Pierce had 31 points in the Celtics' series-clinching win over the Magic. It's the 14th time in his NBA career that he scored 30-or-more points in a playoff game. But his total of 13 rebounds in Game 6 vs. Orlando was his highest in any of those games.

3. Pierce finished the Eastern Conference finals with an average of 24.3 points per game, while shooting 51.2 percent on field goal attempts and 83.9 percent on free throw attempts. He became the first Celtics player to average at least 23 points in a playoff series, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line since both Larry Bird (26.4/51.0/86.8) and Kevin McHale (24.9/.631/.936) did it in a classic seven-game, second-round series against Dominique Wilkins and the Hawks in 1988.


4. Orlando held its opponents below 100 points in all 14 games of the 2010 playoffs. The last NBA team to not allow 100 points in any of its first 14 games of a playoff year was the Knicks in 1999. New York did not allow 100 points in any of its 20 games in that postseason.

5. The Magic scored 30.6 percent of their total points on 3-point field goals in this year's playoffs (414 of 1,352). Since the NBA instituted the 3-point shot in 1979-80, only two teams have scored more than 30 percent of their total points from beyond the 3-point line in a single playoff season: Golden State in 2007 (31.2 percent) and Phoenix in 1997 (30.5 percent).

6. Dwight Howard was the first player with three straight 20-point, 10-rebound games when his team was facing elimination in each contest since Dirk Nowitzki did it last postseason.

Game 6: 10 Celtics-Magic nuggets

May, 28, 2010
5/28/10
11:00
AM ET
BOSTON -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Friday's Celtics-Magic clash (ESPN, 8:30 p.m) in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Amway Arena (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. The Celtics lost Game 5 by a 21-point margin, spoiling their chance to close out this series. Boston is the 71st team in NBA history to lose a potential series-clinching game by 20+ points. In the 42 previous instances in which the team had another chance to close out the series (28 losses came in a series-deciding game), 28 were successful in their next attempt (66.7 percent).


2. The Celtics 21-point margin of defeat marked the fourth time in their franchise history that they lost a potential series-clinching game by 20-or-more points. That also happened in 1960 against Philadelphia (21-point margin), in 1990 against New York (27) and in 2005 against Indiana (27).

3. Dwight Howard registered 21 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots to help Orlando avoid playoff elimination in Game 5. Howard had 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots to help Orlando avoid a series sweep in Game 4. Only one other player has recorded 20-or-more points, 10-or-more rebounds and at least four blocked shots in consecutive games with his team facing elimination in each game: Elvin Hayes in 1979.

Nelson
Nelson
4. Jameer Nelson has scored 20-or-more points in six games in this postseason after registering only five 20-point games during the regular season. Only two other players in NBA history have recorded more 20-point games during the playoffs than during the regular season in a single season (min: six 20-point games during the playoffs): Robert Horry in 1995 (six in postseason; two in regular season) and Ernie Grunfeld in 1981 (six in postseason; four in regular season).

5. Howard appeared in his 50th career playoff game in Game 5. Howard is the only player in NBA history to record at least 713 rebounds and 136 blocked shots by their 50th postseason game.

Pierce
Pierce
h6. Paul Pierce is averaging 24.9 points per game in 11 games in which his team has had a chance to clinch a playoff series at home in his career. Only one active player has a higher scoring average in potential series-clinching home games than Pierce (min: 5 games): Kobe Bryant (26.3).

7. J.J. Redick is shooting 51.5 percent from the field (17 for 33) in six career postseason games played at the TD Garden. In all other playoff games outside of this arena, Redick's career field-goal percentage is just 35.8 percent (43 for 120).


8. The Magic have held their opponents to below 100 points in each of their first 13 games in the 2010 playoffs. That is the longest streak to begin a postseason since Miami held its opponents to below 100 points in each of its first 13 games in the 2004 playoffs. The last team to do that in their first 14 games of a playoff season was New York in 1999 (first 20).

9. Rashard Lewis is shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half (9 for 18) and only 25.9 percent from the field in the second half (7 for 27) in this series.

10. The Magic have won two games in which they have faced playoff elimination against the Celtics in Boston (May 17, 2009 and May 24, 2010). With a win Friday, Orlando will become the third franchise (other than the Celtics) to win three win-or-go-home games in Boston. The Knicks have won four such games and the 76ers have won three.

Bonus nugget: Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has registered 45 postseason wins in his six seasons as a head coach. Only six head coaches in NBA history have recorded more playoff wins through their first six seasons in the league than Van Gundy: Pat Riley (72), Phil Jackson (66), K.C. Jones (57), Billy Cunningham (56), Rudy Tomjanovich (48) and Johnny Kundla (48).

Game 4: 10 C's-Magic postgame nuggets

May, 25, 2010
5/25/10
11:15
AM ET
BOSTON -- Here are 10 facts and figures after the Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night at TD Garden (first seven nuggets researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. The Magic-Celtics game on Monday was the 70th playoff game in 2010, but it was the first overtime game of this year's playoffs. Every playoff year that has had at least 50 games has had at least two overtime games.


2. The Magic, who won all four games of their series against both Charlotte and Atlanta earlier in this postseason, avoided being swept by Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Only one team has ever won two or more series sweeps and then in turn was swept in a series any time later in that same postseason. The Lakers did that in 1989, sweeping Portland (3-0), Seattle (4-0) and Phoenix (4-0), before losing all four games to Detroit in the NBA Finals.

3. Dwight Howard scored 32 points with 16 rebounds in Orlando's win on Monday. He's the first player with a 30/15 (points/rebounds) postseason game against the Celtics since Patrick Ewing -- now a Magic assistant coach -- had 33 points and 19 rebounds against them on May 2, 1990.

4. Stan Van Gundy picked up the 44th win of his postseason career, which matches the total number of playoff wins his brother, Jeff, an ESPN analyst calling this series, had in his career as a head coach.

Rondo
Rondo
5. Rajon Rondo has led the Celtics (or tied for the lead) in assists in each of the team's last 17 postseason games dating back to the 2009 playoffs. That is the longest such streak by a Celtics player since Bob Cousy led the team in assists in 17 straight postseason games spanning the 1959, 1960 and 1961 playoffs.

6. Stan Van Gundy becomes just the second visiting head coach in NBA history to win two potential elimination games in Boston. Fred Schaus (with the Lakers in 1963 and 1966) was the other.

Howard
Howard
7. Dwight Howard is averaging 16.3 rebounds per game in six games played in which his team has faced playoff elimination in his career. Only three players in NBA history are averaging more rebounds per game in potential elimination games than Howard (minimum: five games): Bill Russell (26.6), Wilt Chamberlain (25.7) and Walt Bellamy (17.1).

8. Like the Celtics, the Boston Bruins lost Game 4 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers during the NHL playoffs. What's more, the Magic dressed in the same locker room at the TD Garden that the Flyers did when starting the process of rallying from a 3-0 deficit.


9. The Celtics lost for the first time this postseason when allowing less than 100 points. Boston was previously 11-0 when holding teams below the century mark. The 96 points were the most the Celtics allowed since giving up 124 in Game 3 against the Cavaliers.

10. Overtime in the playoffs hasn't been particularly friendly for the Celtics, who have lost eight of their last 10 postseason games that spilled into an extra session.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Isaiah Thomas
PTS AST STL MIN
19.8 4.9 0.6 26.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsE. Turner 5.1
StealsM. Smart 1.4
BlocksT. Zeller 0.7