Numbers preview: Boston Celtics (4) vs. Indiana Pacers (5)

NBA.com Global on Apr 14, 2019 07:19 PM
Numbers preview: Celtics (4) vs. Pacers (5)
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By John Schuhmann, NBA.com

The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers had the luckiest video coordinators in the playoff field, because these two teams have known for a long time that they would be facing each other in the first round. They've had plenty of time to prepare and they even had two head-to-head meetings in the last couple of weeks to try some things out.

The Celtics are hoping to start fresh after a disappointing regular season. But they will be without Marcus Smart, who suffered a torn oblique muscle in the second-to-last game of the year. The Pacers can empathize, as they've been without their best player since January.

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Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 4-5 series in the East.

Boston Celtics (49-33)

Pace: 100.5 (16)
OffRtg: 111.2 (10)
DefRtg: 107.0 (6)
NetRtg: +4.2 (6)

Celtics notes - General:

1. Saw a drop in winning percentage for the first time in five years, but saw a jump in point differential from last season. They were 49-33 with the point differential of a team that was 54-28. That was the second biggest differential between a team's "expected wins" and its actual wins.

2. Were 6.7 points per 100 possessions worse after the All-Star break (minus-0.5 - 15th) than they were before it (plus-6.2 - third). Only New Orleans saw a bigger drop (and the Pacers saw the third biggest drop).

3. Tied for the best home record (22-4) in games played within the Eastern Conference.

4. Were a league-best 4-0 in overtime games.

Celtics notes - Offense:

1. Saw the league's biggest increase in assist/turnover ratio, from 1.60 (17th) last season to 2.05 (second) this season.

2. Saw the league's second biggest increase in ball movement, from 344 passes per 24 minutes of possession (19th) last season to 354 (seventh) this season.

3. Only team that shot better on above-the-break 3-pointers (37.1 percent, fifth in the league) than they did on corner threes (34.9 percent, 27th).

4. Had the league's best clutch offense, scoring 125.3 points per 100 possessions with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. Led the league in both clutch field goal percentage (50.0 percent) and clutch free throw percentage (87.1 percent).

Celtics notes - Defense:

1. Ranked sixth in opponent 3-point percentage, the first time in 12 years (since the 2006-07 season) that they didn't rank in the top five.

2. Allowed just 0.80 points per possession, the league's third lowest rate, on pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions.

3. Ranked 29th in clutch defense, allowing 114.4 points per 100 possessions with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Celtics notes - Lineups:

1. Lineup of Irving, Smart, Tatum, Morris and Horford attempted just 13.1 free throws per 100 shots from the field, the lowest rate (by a pretty wide margin) among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together.

2. Allowed just 92.0 points per 100 possessions with Al Horford and Aron Baynes both on the floor. But those two played just 163 total minutes together after playing 863 minutes together last season and another 204 in last year's playoffs.

3. Outscored opponents by 8.9 points per 100 possessions in 1,418 minutes with both Kyrie Irving and Horford on the floor, were a plus-2.5 per 100 in 796 minutes with Irving on the floor without Horford, and were a minus-1.6 in 554 minutes with Horford on the floor without Irving.

Celtics notes - Individuals:

1. Aron Baynes averaged 13.6 box outs per 36 minutes, second most among 312 players that played at least 750 total minutes.

2. Jaylen Brown had the same usage rate (21.2 percent) as a reserve as he did as a starter. But he had a much higher true shooting percentage off the bench (58.0 percent) than he did in the starting lineup (48.9 percent).

3. Gordon Hayward had an effective field goal percentage of 59.3 percent after the All-Star break, up from 50.5 percent before the break. That was the eighth biggest jump among 202 players with at least 250 field goal attempts before the break and at least 100 after it. Hayward also saw the 12th biggest post-break jump in free throw rate (from 26.7 to 37.8 attempts per 100 shots from the field) among that same group of players.

4. Al Horford shot 53.0 percent on shots in between the restricted area and the 3-point line, the second best mark (a hair behind that of Kevin Durant) among 222 players who attempted at least 100. Horford was the only player that shot 50 percent or better on at least 100 non-restricted-area paint shots and 50 percent or better on at least 100 mid-range shots.

5. Kyrie Irving had an assist/turnover ratio of 2.70, a career-high mark and the second highest among 35 players with a usage rate of 25 percent or higher.

6. Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second best mark among players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts.

7. Marcus Morris shot 15-for-67 (22 percent) on corner 3-pointers, the second worst mark among 148 players who attempted at least 50.

8. Morris had an effective field goal percentage of 44.9 percent after the All-Star break, down from 57.0 percent before the break. That was the fourth biggest drop-off among 202 players with at least 250 field goal attempts before the break and at least 100 after it.

9. Terry Rozier has seen an increase in assist-turnover ratio in each of the last three seasons, from 1.95 in his rookie season to 3.40 (11th in the league) this season. But he saw drops in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage from last season.

10. Marcus Smart had an effective field goal percentage of 53.3 percent, a career-high mark and up from 44.0 percent last season. That was the third biggest jump among 229 players with at least 250 field goal attempts both seasons.

11 Jayson Tatum scored just 0.63 points per possession on isolations, the worst mark among 51 players with at least 100 total isolation possessions.

12. Tatum passed just 14.5 percent of the time out of post-ups, the second lowest rate among 81 players with at least 100 total post-ups.

13. Daniel Theis averaged 6.4 fouls per 36 minutes, second most among players who played at least 750 total minutes.

Indiana Pacers (48-34)

Pace: 98.7 (25)
OffRtg: 109.3 (18)
DefRtg: 105.9 (3)
NetRtg: +3.4 (10)

Pacers notes - General:

1. Only team that won the same number of games as it did last season.

2. Were 10-14, the worst mark among playoff teams, after the All-Star break.

3. Had 10 losses (most among playoff teams) after leading after the third quarter. Also had just three wins (fewest in the league) after trailing after the third quarter.

Pacers notes - Offense:

1. For the third straight season, they ranked in the top 10 in 3-point percentage (37.4 percent - fifth) and in the bottom 10 in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range (29.2 percent - 29th). Ranked third in clutch 3-point percentage, shooting 28-for-70 (40 percent) from beyond the arc with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.

2. Averaged 11.0 pick-and-roll roll man possessions per game, most in the league. The 1.03 points per possession they scored on those roll man possessions ranked 27th.

3. Saw the league's biggest increase in the percentage of their field goals that were assisted, from 54.4 percent (28th) last season to 62.8 percent (seventh) this season. Recorded assists on 11.3 percent of their drives, the league's second highest rate.

Pacers notes - Defense:

1. One of two teams (Oklahoma City is the other) that have had a better-than-average defense (allowing fewer points per 100 possessions than the league average) in each of the last 10 seasons.

2. Allowed 6.3 more points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break (110.4 - 18th in the league) than they did before the break (104.1 - second). That was the league's biggest post-break, DefRtg increase.

3. Allowed 1.04 points per possession, the league's second lowest rate, in transition, according to Synergy play-type tracking.

4. Allowed just 0.76 points per possession, the league's lowest rate, on pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions.

Pacers notes - Lineups:

1. Only eight percent of their minutes, the league's second lowest rate (higher than only that of Houston), came from rookies (710 minutes) or second-year players (784 minutes).

2. Starting lineup - Collison, Matthews, Bogdanovic, Young and Turner - recorded assists on 67.8 percent of its field goals, the fourth highest rate among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. It also grabbed just 45.0 percent of available rebounds, the lowest rate among those same 40 lineups.

3. Lineup with Tyreke Evans in place of Matthews forced 17.5 turnovers per 100 possessions, the highest opponent turnover rate among lineups that played at least 200 minutes together.

4. The Pacers allowed 102.0 points per 100 possessions with Cory Joseph on the floor. That was the sixth lowest on-court DefRtg mark among 230 players who averaged at least 20 minutes in 40 games or more.

Pacers notes - Individuals:

1. Bojan Bogdanovic has seen a scoring increase every season he's been in the league. He also registered career-high marks in effective field goal percentage, true shooting percentage and assist/turnover ratio this season.

2. Bogdanovic shot 46-for-94 (49 percent) from 3-point range in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the best mark among 25 players with at least 75 attempts, according to Second Spectrum tracking.

3. Darren Collison shot 35-for-66 (53 percent) on corner 3-pointers, the second best mark among 148 players who attempted at least 50. Bogdanovic had the second best mark (51 percent) among 29 players who attempted at least 100 corner threes.

4. Collison took 36 percent of his shots from mid-range (between the paint and the 3-point line). That was the fifth highest rate among 274 players with at least 300 total field goal attempts.

5. Tyreke Evans (48.3 percent) and Cory Joseph (47.4 percent) had two of the three worst true shooting percentages among 178 players with at least 500 field goal attempts. Evans shot just 45.6 percent in the restricted area, the worst mark among 132 players with at least 200 restricted-area attempts.

6. Joseph ranked fifth in assist/turnover ratio (4.01).

7. Joseph had an effective field goal percentage of 36.5 percent after the All-Star break, down from 49.9 percent before the break. That was the second biggest drop-off among 202 players with at least 250 field goal attempts before the break and at least 100 after it.

8. Wesley Matthews ranked second among guards with 2.7 post-ups per game.

9. Doug McDermott shot a league-best 49.1 percent from 3-point range on the road (minimum 100 attempts).

10. Domantas Sabonis led the league with 27 double-doubles off the bench.

11. Sabonis shot 64 percent in the paint, the sixth best mark among 54 players who took at least 500 shots in the paint.

12. Myles Turner led the league with 2.7 blocks per game. He was one of two players (Anthony Davis was the other) that played at least 500 minutes and had more blocks (199) than personal fouls (195).

Regular season matchup

Season series: Celtics won, 3-1 (2-0 in Boston)
Nov. 3 (Nov. 4, PHL time) @ Indiana - Pacers 102, Celtics 101
Jan. 9 (Jan. 10, PHL time) @ Boston - Celtics 135, Pacers 108
Mar. 29 (Mar. 30, PHL time) @ Boston - Celtics 114, Pacers 112
Apr. 5 (Apr. 6, PHL time) @ Indiana - Celtics 117, Pacers 97

Pace: 99.1 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes
Boston OffRtg: 117.6 (2nd vs. Indiana)
Indiana OffRtg: 105.8 (16th vs. Boston)

Matchup notes:

1. Victor Oladipo played in the first two meetings. Wesley Matthews was with the Pacers for the last two, and also played the Celtics twice with Dallas. Myles Turner (Jan. 9) and Darren Collison (Apr. 5) each missed one of the four games for Indiana. Only one Pacers lineup played in more than two games vs. Boston, but it played just six total minutes in the season series.

2. Aron Baynes (Jan. 9) and Jaylen Brown (Apr. 5) each missed one of the four games for Boston. Only one Celtics lineup played in more than two games vs. Indiana, but it also played just six total minutes in the season series.

3. Two of the four games - the Pacers' win on Nov. 3 and the Celtics' win on Mar. 29 - were within five points in the last five minutes. Kyrie Irving took 11 of the Celtics' 17 clutch shots and both teams shot 4-for-5 clutch 3-pointers.

4. The Celtics scored 135 points on 102 possessions in the Jan. 9 meeting, a game they led from start to finish. That was the most efficient game any team had vs. Indiana this season. Only one team made more 3-pointers vs. Indiana this season than the Celtics (53).

5. The Celtics averaged 26.8 fast break points, the most they averaged against any opponent and the most the Pacers allowed to any opponent.

6. Seven different Celtics averaged double-figures vs. the Pacers, with none averaging more than Kyrie Irving's 19.3 points per game.

7. Oladipo (20.5 in his two games) was the only Pacer that averaged more than 14 points per game against the Celtics. The 51 points Tyreke Evans scored against the Celtics was the most he scored against any opponent.

8. The Celtics outscored the Pacers by 60 points in 87 minutes with both Irving and Al Horford on the floor, but were outscored by 25 points in 49 minutes with one of the floor without the other (Irving was a minus-11 in 27 minutes without Horford and Horford was a minus-14 in 22 minutes without Irving).

9. Darren Collison was the primary defender on Irving for 112 possessions, second most among all Irving defenders this season. But the Pacers were more successful defensively (allowing 62 points on 65 possessions) when Cory Joseph was Irving's primary defender.

10. In the first two meetings, Marcus Smart was the primary defender on Victor Oladipo. In the last two meetings, Smart moved over to defend Bojan Bogdanovic.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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