TrueHoop: Bob Cousy

Heat return to comfort zone vs Celtics

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
1:17
PM ET
By ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN.com
Archive

Credit: Steve Mitchell/US PresswireThe Game 5 winner has gone on to win the series 83.5 percent of the time when tied 2-2.
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat (ESPN, 8:30 ET) will square off in Game 5 tonight with the winner taking a 3-2 lead in the series. The Celtics have put themselves in a good position to take control, because in the Big 3 era (since 2007-08 season), Boston is 8-0 in Game 5s when the series is tied 2-2.

The Heat, however, have been very comfortable at home against the Celtics recently. Miami is 6-1 at home against the Celtics in the postseason all-time, and according to Elias, Miami’s current six-game home postseason win streak against Boston is its longest against a single opponent in franchise history.

The Game 5 winner has gone on to win the series 83.5 percent of the time when tied 2-2.

Miami has certainly been more comfortable at home this postseason, averaging 100.4 points compared to 91.0 on the road. That's crucial, considering the Heat are 7-0 this postseason when scoring at least 100 points, and were 25-4 in such games during the regular season.

The focus for Miami will again likely be in the closing seconds. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem each missed game-tying and go-ahead attempts with under 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and OT in Game 4, and the Heat are now 0-for-10 on such shots in the last two postseasons. Overall, Wade is now 2-8 on game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or OT in his postseason career, below the league average of 26.9 percent. By comparison, LeBron James is 5-14 (35.7 percent) in those situations.

What's more, Wade has been a slow starter this series. He is averaging just 5.5 points on 25.8 percent shooting in the first half of games against the Celtics, his lowest points average for a first half for any round in his postseason career.

The Heat are also hoping to activate Chris Bosh for Game 5. His status could be pivotal, as Miami is 5-1 this postseason in games Bosh has played, with a +13.2 points differential in that span.

On the other side, the Celtics have relied heavily on Rajon Rondo in this series. Boston has been much better with Rondo on the court, averaging more than 19 points per 48 minutes compared to when he’s been off the floor. According to Elias, Rondo has 13 double-digit assist games this postseason and 38 for his career, and when he takes the court tonight, he'll be looking for his 39th 10-assist game, which would break the all-time Celtics record originally held by Bob Cousy.

Rondo's postseason performance has also placed him in great company this year. He's averaging 17.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 11.9 assists in 16 games this postseason, and according to Elias only one player in NBA history has averaged at least 17 points, six rebounds and 11 assists in 10+ games played in a single postseason (Magic Johnson did it six times).

Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.

The Cooz: Buying into Ubuntu

December, 24, 2008
12/24/08
4:51
PM ET

Posted by Kevin Arnovitz

Amy O'Loughlin has a tremendous Q & A with Celtics legend Bob Cousy at Hoops Addict. It's nearly impossible to properly introduce Cousy in the header of a blog post, so I'll let O'Loughlin's biography of The Houdini of the Hardwood suffice. 

O'Loughlin sat down with Cousy at his home in Worcester, Mass.  Cousy is very generous with his time and, over the course of the interview, we learn that Cousy plays golf in the wintertime, roomed with one of the NBA's first African-American players, isn't compelled to watch much college basketball, is compelled to watch a lot of Fox News, almost gave up his religion because of racial intolerance in the Catholic Church, and considers Arthur Ashe the closest thing he has to a hero.

Here's Cousy on last year's Celtics championship: 

O'Loughlin: And for the Celtics, it maybe seemed like it'd be a once-in-a-lifetime win?
Cousy: Yes. Well certainly thank goodness for [Paul] Pierce, who looked like he was going to go through a spectacular career individually, but never getting the brass ring. It was great for him, for all three of them for that matter. [Kevin] Garnett looked like he was going to be buried in Minnesota. No one would ever know anything about him.

O'Loughlin: Garnett brought such passion to their game . . . .
Cousy: Yeah, he did. And it was contagious. And [Coach Doc] Rivers did, I thought, a hell of a job of exploiting and selling them on "ubuntu, which is just another word for sacrificing for the whole. They bought it, and they sustained it pretty much the entire season.

O'Loughlin: The one-year turnaround that was accomplished is just unbelievable. How do you think Doc Rivers was able to make such a turnaround?
Cousy: Obviously, the talent was provided for him. And as they say on a professional level all the time, if you don't have the horses, it doesn't get done. You could be the best manager or coach in the world, but rhetoric doesn't do it if your talent's not there. If you're mediocre, you can get them to perform as well as that standard will allow, but obviously they're never going to overcome great odds. In college, you can do that sometimes because you're dealing with younger people. But on a pro level, it's a lot different. I dropped Doc a note afterwards saying basically those of us who've been through it know that it is much easier to coach mediocre talent than it is superior talent, and even though you need the superior talent you still have to draw them together. And now especially when they're all zillionaires, getting enough money for this life and the next one and all, you have that added challenge. You've got to bring twelve egos together, too. So this is where [Rivers] sold him on this village idea; and the fact that Pierce, Garnett and Allen wanted the championship so badly, they all sacrificed and made his job a little easier.

Prior to last season, Cousy had doubts about Paul Pierce's résumé as a Hall of Famer, but changed his mind:

I never knew he could play defense the way he did. He worked hard. My own belief in terms of his Hall of Fame credentials were suspect before this year. In fact, I dropped him a note and said, "Paul, if there was any question about whether or not you belong in the Hall of Fame, your work this year, especially defensively, proved all your critics wrong. It is difficult when you're the man, but you're the only man and there isn't a lot of help [on the court]. Last year and the season before were such long seasons for Pierce. It's easy to put your tail between your legs. But this year was a piece de resistance for him. It was nice to see him-to see all three of them-get their due.

Whom did Cousy have winning the Finals in June?

People were asking me before the final round started who I thought was favored. Obviously Los Angeles, I said. They've got the best player in the league and they scored whatever it was by the numbers. But, I hadn't seen them play all year long and after the first game I did a flip-flop and said: oh, hell, this'll be over in five games or six because LA couldn't play any damn defense. I wrote to my friend, Billy Sharman, who's still their honorary president, and said, "Billy, that bunch of turkeys you had couldn't have guarded you and me. What the devil happened out there? Their heart wasn't in it, and the Celtics wanted it so badly. That combination is how you end up with a forty point victory, which is so unusual at a championship level and when two teams are fairly evenly matched. The answer is that emotionally the Celtics were sky-high and the Lakers came out flat.

Check out the interview in its entirety here.

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