4-Point Play: Celtics lead Heat but have worse playoff chance per BPI


The 4-Point Play looks at the four analytics-based storylines that will make you smarter when watching Wednesday’s game between the Boston Celtics (20th in BPI) and the Detroit Pistons (21st in BPI) at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Our BPI gives the Pistons a 57 percent chance of winning:

1. The Celtics have a 33 percent chance of making the playoffs and are not favored in any of their remaining games. Wednesday's game against the Pistons (43 percent chance for the Celtics) and Tuesday's game against the Toronto Raptors (41 percent) are their best opportunities to win the rest of the season.

Even though the Celtics have a half-game lead on the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference standings and are two spots ahead of Miami in ESPN’s BPI, the Heat have a better chance of making the playoffs (63 percent). The schedule favors the Heat, and Miami holds the tiebreaker (beat Celtics 3-1 in season series).

The Celtics have the toughest remaining schedule of any team in the Eastern Conference, according to BPI’s SOS rankings. An average team would be expected to win 40.1 percent of their games against Boston’s remaining schedule, and BPI’s projections do not favor the Celtics in any of their five remaining games.

The Celtics are projected to win about 1.8 of their final five games (36 percent), tied for the fifth-lowest projected win percentage in the NBA.

The Heat, on the other hand, have the easiest projected remaining schedule in the NBA. An average team would be expected to win 62.5 percent of its games against Miami’s remaining schedule, and BPI’s game projections give the Heat at least a 45 percent chance to win each of their remaining games.

The Heat are projected to win about 2.3 of their final four games (58 percent), which would bring them close to a tie with the Celtics, and Miami owns the series tiebreaker.

2. Evan Turner has become a facilitator for the Celtics, with a career-high seven assists per 36 minutes.

3. The Pistons’ offense is the most sensitive in the NBA to turnovers. When the Pistons commit turnovers on 11 percent of their possessions or more, they score 98 points per 100 possessions. When they turn it over on less than 11 percent of their possessions, their offensive efficiency is 106.

4. The Pistons have an offensive efficiency of 104 with Reggie Jackson on the court and 94 when he is not.