By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The Miami Heat begin their quest to three-peat with a series against a franchise that has never won a playoff game.
The Charlotte Bobcats are back in the playoffs thanks to the league’s most improved defense from last season. But they shouldn’t be thought of as a defense- only team, as they’ve also been the league’s most improved offensive team over the course of the last five months.
Here are some statistical nuggets regarding the Nos. 2 and 7 seeds in the Eastern Conference, as well as the four regular-season games they played against each other.
Miami Heat (54-28)
Pace: 93.3 (27)
OffRtg: 109.0 (2)
DefRtg: 102.9 (11)
NetRtg: +6.1 (4)
- Their effective field-goal percentage of 55.4 percent was the highest in NBA history, topping their mark of 55.2 percent last season.
- Forced 17.6 turnovers per 100 possessions, the highest rate in the league.
- Their lineup of Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Shane Battier and Chris Bosh was the best-shooting lineup in the league among those that played at least 200 minutes together, with an effective field-goal percentage of 57.9 percent.
- 29.6 percent of their opponents’ shots were 3-pointers, the third-highest opponent rate in the league and the highest among playoff teams.
- 38.1 percent of their 3-point attempts came from the corners, by far the highest rate in the league. The next highest was Washington at 31.3 percent.
Charlotte Bobcats (43-39)
Pace: 94.7 (21)
OffRtg: 101.2 (24)
DefRtg: 101.2 (6)
NetRtg: +0.1 (16)
- By far the most improved defensive team in the league, having allowed 7.8 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season. The next best improvement came from Golden State, which allowed 2.7 fewer points per 100 possessions than it did a year ago.
- Offensive efficiency increased every month from October to March.
- Were the best team in the first six minutes of games, outscoring their opponents by 15.2 points per 100 possessions.
- Led the league in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 77.6 percent of available defensive boards.
- Kemba Walker led the league with 100.3 touches per game.
- James scored a career-high 61 points in the Heat’s 124-107 win on March 3, shooting 8-for-10 from 3-point range. He shot 1-for-6 on 3s in the first three meetings.
- In that same game, Al Jefferson scored 38 points, shooting 8-for-9 from mid-range.
- No complete Bobcats lineup played in more than two of the games. Jefferson missed the first meeting and Gerald Henderson missed the last one.
- Wade played in just the first two meetings and the Heat scored less than a point per possession in his 58 minutes.
- Jefferson shot 19-for-28 (68 percent) when he was being defended by Bosh and 16-for-33 (48 percent) otherwise.
- See more exclusive SportVU matchup data here.