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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Do the Rockets and Celtics have a chance?

By ESPN Stats & Information

Could the Houston Rockets and/or Boston Celtics pull off the impossible?

No team in NBA postseason history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win a best-of-seven series, but the Rockets and Celtics have both forced a Game 6 at home. Prior to those teams, only 10 teams in history forced a Game 6 after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Rockets and Celtics will both be at home in Game 6. According to history, there’s a 50-50 chance each team forces a Game 7. Six of those 10 teams to force a Game 6 were at home, and three of them forced a Game 7 -– the only three teams to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0.

How did the Rockets get it done?

Kevin Durant was the primary ball handler on 14 of his 19 fourth-quarter touches in Game 5 but failed to score in the fourth quarter. Durant’s extra usage since Russell Westbrook’s injury includes 24 more touches per game, mostly in the backcourt as the team’s ball handler.

Durant was scoreless in the fourth quarter for the first time in his playoff career when playing at least 10 minutes in the fourth quarter.

The Rockets shot well from beyond the arc. They made 14 3-pointers in a playoff game for the first time since 1997 against the same franchise, when they were in Seattle as the SuperSonics.

James Harden made a playoff career-high seven 3-pointers (he made his first seven attempts).

The Thunder employed a “Hack-Asik” strategy in the fourth quarter but Omer Asik was 11-for-16 on free throws in the 4th quarter (1.38 points per possession). The Rockets scored nine points on 17 fourth-quarter possessions that didn't end in Asik free throws (0.53 points per possession).

How did the Celtics get it done?

Carmelo Anthony was in isolation on 52 percent of his offensive plays in Game 5, shooting 3-of-12 from the field on those plays. Anthony has shot 30 percent from the field in isolation for the series (46 percent on all other plays).

The Knicks used isolation on 16 percent of their offensive plays in the regular season, the highest rate in the NBA (league average: 10 percent). In the postseason, though, the Knicks have upped that rate to 27 percent.

Despite the high usage in the regular season, the Knicks were the fifth-most efficient team in isolation, averaging 0.87 points per play. In the postseason, the Knicks’ 0.71 points per play in isolation is second-worst among playoff teams.

The Celtics shot 50 percent on 3-point attempts in Game 5 after shooting 30 percent in the first four games of the series. The Knicks are shooting 23 percent on 3-pointers in their past two games after 38 percent in the first three games.