How exceptional was the Lakers' defensive performance on Tuesday night? The Celtics were posted an offensive rating of 77.1 points per 100 possessions -- anything under 80 is pretty rare. To measure how rare, I got in touch with Neil Paine of Basketball Reference to help put Game 6 into perspective.
1,311 regular season and postseason NBA games have been played in 2009-10. On only 14 occasions has a team failed to cross the 80 points/100 possessions threshold (0.5 percent of the time).
The Lakers' 77.1 defensive mark (or, if you're a distraught Celtics fan, Boston's offensive rating) was the lowest of the postseason, just ahead of Orlando's 77.7 defensive rating against Atlanta in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Overall, the Lakers' 77.1 defensive rating in Game 6 ranks 7th for the season. The six performance ahead of the Lakers on the list:
Of the five victims listed above, only Miami and Charlotte made the playoffs this season (and the Bobs did so with one of the least efficient offenses in the NBA). Meanwhile, the Celtics have topped 100 points/100 possessions in 16 of their 23 postseason games, and haven't been held below 90.0 in a game since the beginning of April. Given the enormous stakes for the Lakers on Tuesday night in an elimination game, you can make a very strong case that Game 6 amounted to the single best defensive output this season.