BOSTON – When you’ve got four All-Stars, does it really matter who you play next to them?
For the Boston Celtics, it might not.
The Celtics stunned the league by trading Kendrick Perkins (along with Nate Robinson) last week, acquiring Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City. There are a couple of dozen aspects to this trade worthy of debate between now and June (and we addressed a couple of them here).
One argument for the Celtics breaking up their core is that they were 33-10 (and 5-2 against Chicago, Miami and Orlando) before Perkins played a game this season. According to NBA.com StatsCube, Boston’s original starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal has played just 18 games together, but has been dominant in that time, outscoring its opponents by 102 points in 266 minutes (18.4 per 48).
O’Neal (inflamed right Achilles) hasn’t played since Feb. 1, so Krstic became the starting center as soon as he arrived. And once again, the Celtics have a dominant starting lineup.
Boston’s new starting group of Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett and Krstic has outscored its opponents by 39 points in 69 minutes together. It’s been strong both offensively (scoring 119.9 points per 100 possessions) and defensively (allowing just 92.0).
It all goes back to the big four. There have been more efficient four-man units this season than Rondo, Allen, Pierce and Garnett, but only one has played at least 500 minutes together. That group was Miami’s Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, which was a plus-15.7 per 100 possessions in 675 minutes, but was broken up when the Heat waived Arroyo on Tuesday.
Only four four-man units have played more minutes together than the Celtics’ big four, but none of those groups has been as dominant as Boston’s, which has outscored its opponents by 15.0 points per 100 possessions.
Four-man units that have played at least 1,000 minutes together
|Team||Unit||Min.||Off. Eff.||Def. Eff.||Diff.|
|LAL||Artest, Bryant, Fisher, Gasol||1319||111.2||101.0||+10.3|
|HOU||Battier, Lowry, Martin, Scola||1198||109.7||104.8||+5.0|
|NOH||Ariza, Okafor, Paul, West||1136||105.4||101.7||+3.6|
|MEM||Conley, Gasol, Gay, Randolph||1071||105.3||103.7||+1.6|
|BOS||Allen, Garnett, Pierce, Rondo||1070||112.1||97.1||+15.0|
|CHA||Augustin, Diaw, Jackson, Wallace||1065||105.0||104.6||+0.4|
|GSW||Curry, Ellis, Lee, Wright||1032||110.9||111.7||-0.8|
|UTA||Bell, Jefferson, Millsap, Williams||1013||104.9||108.5||-3.6|
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions