Saturday, June 9, 2012
Key decisions, trends to decide East's best
By ESPN Stats & Information
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesYesterday we took a look at some historical notes related to tonight’s Game 7 between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Today we go inside the numbers to give you the keys for each team in this elimination game.
LeBron James and Rajon Rondo will be locked in another tight battle in Game 7 tonight.
Celtics Keys to Victory
1. Keep game close; Thrive late
The Celtics have the clear edge if this game is close in the final minutes. Boston is shooting 50 percent from the field and have made 11-of-24 three-pointers in crunch time this postseason, which is defined as when the game is within five points in the last five minutes of regulation or overtime.
The Heat have made just 37 percent of their shots, including 4-of-19 from beyond the arc, in crunch time this postseason. Even worse, the Heat are 0-for-10 over the last two postseasons on game-tying or go-ahead shots with under 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter or OT.
2. Get Rondo's pick-and-roll going
Rajon Rondo’s ability to execute the pick-and-roll could be another deciding factor in this game.
He is shooting better than 50 percent and averaging nearly seven points per game on pick-and-roll plays in this series after a dismal performance as the pick-and-roll ball handler in the first two rounds.
3. Pierce finds shooting touch
The Celtics also need Paul Pierce to find his shooting touch outside the paint. Pierce has thrived in the interior this postseason, shooting 52 percent from inside 10 feet including 10-for-17 in the Celtics’ three wins in this series.
But he’s really struggled to hit from distance, going 2-of-12 from 10 feet and beyond in Game 6, and is shooting just 27 percent from such distances in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Heat Keys to Victory
1. LeBron aggressive with finding his own shot
LeBron James had one of the best all-time playoff performances in Game 6, using his aggressive play to carry the Heat to victory. He scored 20 points in isolation in Game 6 after combining for just 24 points when going one-on-one in the first five games combined.
James also found his post game in Game 6, making all seven of his field goals on post-up plays, after he shot just 6-for-16 on those plays in the first five games of the series.
2. Increase Bosh's minutes
Erik Spoelstra would be smart to continue to give Chris Bosh increased playing time in Game 7. Though he has yet to score in double figures, Bosh's presence down low appears to have really opened up the rest of the floor for the Heat’s shooters.
The Heat shot 24-of-45 (53 percent) and averaged 103 points per 48 minutes with Chris Bosh on the floor in Game 6; with Bosh on the bench, the Heat shot just 13-of-31 (42 percent) and averaged only 91 points per 48 minutes.
3. Get out and run
Another key for the Heat will be their ability to get out on the break. In their 11 wins this postseason, Miami is averaging 19 transition points per game and shooting 66 percent, including 13-of-28 from beyond the arc. In their six losses, they are scoring just 12 transition points per game on 46 percent shooting, including 1-for-14 on 3-pointers.
Statistical support from NBA.com