The Rockets love analytics.
Analytics love high percentage shots.
There isn’t a higher percentage shot than the dunk.
The Houston Rockets are known for shooting 3-pointers -- lots of them. They took 2,680 of them this season, 13 percent more any other team in NBA history.
But although Houston loves the long ball, on Tuesday it traded those for a higher percentage shot.
Introducing everything you could possibly want to know about the Rockets’ dunking demeanor in Game 2:
• They dunked 14 times, tied for the most by any team in a playoff game in the last 15 years and the most by any team in the postseason since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 against the Portland Trail Blazers, also in the first round.
• Dwight Howard was responsible for seven of those dunks. In that Lakers’ game in 2001, Shaquille O’Neal had nine.
• Howard’s seven dunks were tied for the second-most he’s had in a playoff game and one shy of his career high for any playoff game.
• The Rockets dunked seven times in the fourth quarter alone. That would be tied for the most dunks in any game this postseason. In the other two games Tuesday, there were nine dunks combined.
• Six of Howard’s dunks were on alley-oops. That’s two more alley-oop dunks than any other player has had in a playoff game in the last 15 years.
• All six alley-oops were assisted by Josh Smith. Over the last 15 seasons, there have been 19,214 games played (regular season and postseason). Over that span, there had not been one instance of two players hooking up for as many alley-oops as Smith and Howard did Tuesday.
Over that span, only two sets of teammates – Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler in 2008 and Andre Miller and Marcus Camby in 2005 – hooked up for five alley-oop dunks in one game. Both of those were in the regular season.
The six Smith-to-Howard alley-oop dunks were twice as many as any other duo in a playoff game over the last 15 seasons.
• You might be thinking, “Howard, I get that. But Josh Smith?!” Entering Tuesday, Smith had assisted on four alley-oops in 53 career playoff games.
But looking at just this season, Smith is a decent candidate to be making these passes. During the regular season, Smith ranked eighth in the NBA in assists on alley-oop dunks. In fact, Smith assisted on more alley-oops than nine teams during the regular season. Smith had more alley-oop assists in the fourth quarter (five) Tuesday than the Indiana Pacers did the entire season (three).