On Sunday, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers play for the first time since Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET) . Sunday’s game, at Staples Center in downtown L.A., is the latest showdown in the league’s most storied rivalry.
We asked the brains who run the NBA.com StatsCube to dig a little deeper into the statistics of this bicoastal brouhaha. All these numbers, unless otherwise noted, are since the 2007-08 season.
- The Lakers’ best 5-man combination in the regular season against Boston (with greater than 10 minutes together) has been Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton at +8.7 per 48 minutes.
- Walton has averaged only 8.7 MPG this season. And he’s played only 10+ minutes in 11 games this season. However, seven of those 11 games have occurred this month (including his last six). Is Phil Jackson warming up Walton for Boston on Sunday?
- Not surprisingly, the Lakers’ best five-man combination with greater than 15 minutes together in all games (playoffs and regular season) against Boston has been Ron Artest, Bryant, Fisher, Gasol and Odom at +10.5 per 48 minutes in 64 minutes together.
- In all games against Boston, this Lakers lineup has held the Celtics to a mere 38.3 percent shooting and 90.8 points per 48 minutes.
- The Celtics’ best trio in all games (playoffs and regular season) against Los Angeles (with greater than 100 minutes together) has been Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins at +7.9 per 48 minutes in 340 minutes together.
- The next best Celtics trio in those games against Los Angeles has been the Big Three of Ray Allen, Pierce and Garnett at +4.8 per 48 minutes in 515 minutes together. When together, they held the Lakers to 93.0 points per 48 minutes. As a point of reference, since 2007-08, the Lakers’ average scoring rate has been 104.3 points per 48 minutes.
- Bryant shoots better against Boston when Perkins is on the floor (41.7 percent) than when Perkins is off the floor (38.3%).
- However, Bryant gets to the free-throw line less frequently with Perkins on the floor (5.6 FTAs per 36 minutes) than when Perkins is off the court (7.5 FTAs per 36 minutes). Overall, Bryant’s Lakers perform worse with Kobe and Perkins on the floor at the same time (-5.0 per 48 minutes) than when Bryant is on the court and Perkins is off the floor (-1.5 per 48 minutes).
- Former Laker Jordan Farmar had the Lakers’ worst overall plus-minus against the Celtics (-60 overall and -9.6 per 48 minutes), while ex-Laker Vladimir Radmanovic (+24 overall and +7.1 per 48 minutes) and current Laker Artest (+320 overall and +3.0 per 48 minutes) had the best. Gasol has been relatively even at -1 overall against Boston.
- Pierce has had the Celtics’ best overall plus-minus against the Lakers (+67 overall and +4.3 per 48 minutes), while Glen Davis (-30 overall and -6.4 per 48 minutes) has had the worst. Boston’s next best plus-minus players on a per 48 minute basis (with a minimum of 75 MP) were two shooters no longer with their team – Eddie House at +14.6 per 48 minutes and James Posey at +11.3 per 48 minutes.
- The Lakers’ typical offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) in the playoffs since 2007-08 has been 108.2. But that rate has dropped in playoff games against the Celtics to 101.4. Against Boston in the playoffs, the Lakers have shot 3.6 percent worse from the field and 4.3 percent worse on 3-pointers relative to their overall playoff rates.
- Since 2007-08, the Lakers’ scoring rates in the playoffs overall (102.0 PPG) has still been significantly higher than in their playoff games against Boston (92.1 PPG).