VIDEO: Heat vs. Hornets: By the Numbers
HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The Eastern Conference took a step forward this season. It won 48 percent of its games against the West, its second best mark in the last 17 seasons.
Most of the improvement came in the middle of the conference, where teams 5-10 were all at .500 or above, with better records than their Western Conference counterparts.
The Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets were two of the league’s most improved teams. Miami improved on both ends of the floor and was 5.0 points per 100 possessions better than they were last season, while Charlotte took a huge jump on offense and was 6.6 points per 100 possessions better than they were in 2014-15.
Appropriately, the Heat and Hornets finished with the same record and will face each other in the postseason. Statistically, it’s the most evenly-matched series of the first round.
Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 3-6 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more.
Miami Heat (48-34)
Pace: 95.7 (25)
OffRtg: 104.2 (12)
DefRtg: 101.5 (7)
NetRtg: +2.6 (10)
- Most improved offensive team after the All-Star break, scoring 7.6 points per 100 possessions more than they did before the break.
- Averaged 42.9 points in the paint before the break (14th in the league) to 52.8 (1st) after it.
- Joe Johnson had an effective field-goal percentage of 58.8 percent after the All-Star break, up from 47.1 percent before the break. That was the biggest increase among 136 players that took at least 250 shots before the break and at least 200 shots after it.
- Josh Richardson shot 53 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break, the best mark among players who attempted at least 75 post-break threes.
- Dwyane Wade has missed his last 20 3-point attempts. He hasn’t made one since Dec. 16. His effective field goal percentage (45.9 percent) and true shooting percentage (51.7 percent) were both career-low marks.
- 38.7 percent of the Heat’s 3-point attempts came from the corners, the highest rate in the league. The next highest rate was Utah at 32.3 percent. But they still ranked just 12th in corner threes, because only three teams took a lower percentage of their total shots from 3-point range.
- Defensively, had the second biggest improvement in opponent effective field goal percentage, the second biggest improvement in defensive rebounding percentage, and the second biggest improvement in opponent free throw rate from last season. But they had the second biggest drop-off in opponent turnover rate. Overall, they were the fourth most improved defensive team, allowing 2.3 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season.
Charlotte Hornets (48-34)
Pace: 97.8 (18)
OffRtg: 105.1 (9)
DefRtg: 101.8 (9)
NetRtg: +3.3 (8)
- Most improved offensive team, scoring 7.4 points per 100 possessions than they did last season.
- They not only saw the league’s biggest jump in 3-point percentage (+4.4%), but also had the league’s biggest jump (by a wide margin) in percentage of total shots that were threes (+12.2%).
- Led the league with 1,830 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts.
- Had the league’s lowest turnover rate (12.7 turnovers per 100 possessions) for the third straight season.
- Also had the league’s best defensive rebounding percentage for the third straight season, grabbing 79.8 percent of available defensive boards. That mark topped last seasons (79.3 percent) for the highest defensive rebounding percentage since the league starting separating offensive and defensive boards in 1973.
- Current starting lineup – Kemba Walker, Courtney Lee, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller – scored 114.5 points per 100 possessions in 406 minutes together, the third best OffRtg among 53 lineups that played at least 200 minutes.
- Walker had an effective field-goal percentage of 49.5 percent, up from 42.9 percent last season. That increase of 6.7 percent was the biggest among 124 players who took at least 500 shots both seasons.
- Batum had a usage rate of 21.5 percent, up from 14.5 percent last season. That was the biggest jump among players who played at least 1,000 minutes both seasons.
- Three of the four games were within five points in the last five minutes.
- Joe Johnson and Courtney Lee were only with their current teams for the final meeting, while Al Jefferson missed the December and February games for Charlotte. Both teams only had their current starting lineups for the March 17 meeting in Miami, and the Hornets’ starters played just eight minutes together in that game (because Zeller left with a knee issue).
- Whiteside had one of his three triple-doubles – 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks – in the Feb. 5 meeting in Charlotte.
- The Hornets were a plus-38 in 138 minutes with Batum on the floor and a minus-30 in 54 minutes with him on the bench. Wade was a minus-17 and minus-16 in the Heat’s two losses.
- The Heat grabbed just 14.4 percent of available offensive rebounds, while the Hornets grabbed just 14.9 percent of available offensive rebounds. For both teams, that was their lowest offensive rebounding percentage against Eastern Conference opponents.