TrueHoop: Doug Moe

Game 1 crucial for both Celtics and Heat

May, 28, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information

Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireLeBron James averages 30.2 points in his postseason career in the Conference Finals.
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat square off in Game 1 tonight (ESPN, 8:30 ET) in what is the third postseason meeting of all time between these two squads. Boston defeated Miami 4-1 in 2010 in the first round, while the Heat beat the Celtics 4-1 in last season's conference semifinals.

Tonight will be crucial, as the winner of Game 1 in the conference finals has gone on to win the series 80 percent (88-22) of the time in NBA history. The Celtics won the 2011-12 regular season series 3-1, but Mario Chalmers is the only one of the projected Game 1 starters to have started in all four meetings this season.

The Heat have performed well in these situations under coach Erik Spoelstra. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Miami is 5-0 in playoff series opening games at home under Spoelstra, and only four other head coaches in NBA history were 5-0 or better in series-opening home games: Doug Moe (8-0), Mike Dunleavy (6-0), Fred Schaus (5-0) and Bill Russell (5-0).

More good news for Heat fans: LeBron James has averaged 30.2 points in his postseason career in the conference finals, his highest scoring output of any postseason round. James has also averaged 27.1 points per game in 18 career postseason games against the Celtics.

Teammate Dwyane Wade has been even better against Boston, however. In 10 career postseason games, Wade has averaged 31.7 points against the Celtics, his highest against any team.

One aspect to watch for will be when the duo is in transition. James (72) and Wade (57) are ranked first and second in individual transition points this postseason, and the Heat are 7-0 this postseason when they score at least 14 transition points.

Boston, meanwhile, has had to combat history to even reach this stage in the playoffs. According to Elias, the Celtics are just the fourth team since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976-77 to make the conference finals after entering the All-Star break under .500. The last team to accomplish the feat was the Phoenix Suns in 1983-84 (lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in the conference finals).

Much of the Celtics' postseason success has been thanks to Kevin Garnett, who has increased his offensive production this postseason. He is averaging a double-double and has already recorded six games this postseason with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Teammate Rajon Rondo has also been key, having recorded at least 11 assists in nine of his 12 games this postseason. Rondo also has nine career postseason triple-doubles, second-most among active players and tied for the fourth-most all time. Rondo's nine triple-doubles have all come in the last four postseasons and are more than all other NBA players combined over that span (seven).

Wednesday Bullets

November, 23, 2011
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
  • Whither the franchise tag -- or designated player -- that was one of the major talking points last summer when a discussion of the next collective bargaining agreement was just getting underway? Zach Lowe of Point Forward revisits the idea, and looks at the repercussions of such a rule.

    My general feeling is that, no matter how much you incentivize a player to stay put with his existing team, it's still inordinately difficult to convince a guy to stay in a place he deems undesirable. As Lowe points out, eliminating the sign-and-trade and extend-and-trade will prevent suitors from manipulating the system so that they can offer a defector more money and more years, but it's still hard to imagine a world where Top 20 players stick around for a extra dollars and an extra year. Regarding the latter, locking in an extra season isn't all that compelling to a young superstar. In many cases, he's likely to score a heftier salary in the first year of his next deal (To wit, look at how many superstars are negotiating opt-outs after the third year of lengthier deals). And as Miami's superstars proved last summer, superstars are willing to take less money in a more desirable locale.
  • Given how well Lamar Odom played during his stint with Team USA, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times says Odom would be wise to look overseas during the lockout.
  • Charles Barkley takes a victory lap for his clairvoyance (at 1:21:40 mark of interview with ESPN Chicago): "Oh I was the first one. If you go back and look, I remember I was on a TV show last year when the season was going on; they asked me about next year, and I said ‘dude, I don’t think there’s going to be a season at all next year.’ And everybody looked at me like ‘that dude’s crazy.’ What I always knew was the owners were going to get the deal they wanted or they were not going to play."
  • Politicians, restaurant owners and a vodka company's CEO will issue demands to the Knicks that the team has already granted -- full refunds with interest for season ticket holders.
  • Did Tyson Chandler's injury history coupled with his free agent status inform his decision to reportedly turn down an offer from the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions?
  • I was supposed to be at the Wizards-Celtics game in Washington last night. Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus continues his Sim Season series and tells us that I didn't miss anything, apart from a 3-for-14 night from John Wall. Doolittle's simulation doesn't track the keystone cop moments JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche had on defensive rotations along the back line, but the 108-94 final score in Boston's favor suggests they were plentiful.
  • Twenty-eight years ago tonight, the Trail Blazers beat the Nuggets 156-116. After the game, Nuggets head coach Doug Moe confessed that, once the rout was on, he told his team to let the Trail Blazers score. Via the Oregonian: "'Our defense was getting so tenacious, I was afraid they (the Blazers) wouldn’t get to 150,' Moe said in laughing off his actions afterward. 'And they (the Portland fans) wanted it bad. I just told the team to back off and let them have it. I said, "Part the seas."'"
  • Luol Deng is loving Arsenal veteran Alex Song.
  • Metta World Peace: Courting danger on the dance floor.
  • Life after the Association for Lamond Murray.