The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will face off in a critical Game 6 on Thursday night at TD Garden. The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference series, 3-2, after winning the last three games including a key victory in Miami in Game 5. Here are six stats to keep in mind for this Game 6 battle.
1) The Celtics will play Game 6 on Thursday, June 7. The Cs are 1-0 on that day of the week. They eliminated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round on Thursday, April 26. The last time the Celtics played on June 7 was during the 1987 NBA Finals. They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 109-103, in Game 3 at the Boston Garden.
2) With a win over the Heat in Game 5, the Celtics improved to 9-0 this postseason when leading or tied after the third quarter. They have not consistently maintained halftime leads (7-5 when up or tied after two), but once they get ahead in the third, they have never faltered. In contrast, they are 2-7 when trailing after three.
3) How Important are Fast Starts? If youre going by the stats, jumping out early hasnt made that much of a difference. The Celtics are 5-3 in the playoffs when they have a leadare tied after the first quarter, and are similarly 6-4 when behind after one.
4) Forget about the century mark, reaching 90 points for the Celtics has been key. They are 8-1 when scoring 90 or more points and 3-6 when posting 89 or less. The Heat are actually averaging 0.4 points more per game than the Celtics in the series, but over the Cs last three wins, they are outscoring the Heat, 96.0 points to 90.1.
5) Rajon Rondo has moved up NBA postseason assist leader rankings during the Celtics run. He is currently ranked 19th all-time in NBA postseason dimes (821) and fifth among active players. He needs just five assists to pass Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek and Chauncey Billups for 17th on the all-time list.
What is more noteworthy is how quickly Rondo has accumulated the dimes, appearing in just his fifth postseason. Take a look at how he compares to those near him on the active leader charts.
1. Jason Kidd: 1239 assists, 16 postseasons
2. Steve Nash: 1052 assists, 11 postseasons
3. Kobe Bryant: 1040 assists, 15 postseasons
4. Chauncey Billups: 825 assists, 11 postseasons
5. Rajon Rondo: 821 assists, 5 postseasons
6. Tony Parker: 777 assists, 11 postseasons
7. LeBron James: 728 assists, 7 postseasons
8. Tim Duncan: 640 assists, 14 postseasons
9. Derek Fisher: 570 assists, 14 postseasons
10. Dwyane Wade: 550 assists, 8 postseasons
6) Will LeBron Deliver? LeBron James is 1-3 in his last four Game 6 appearances in which his team has trailed in the series, 3-2. See how James has performed in similar Game 6 situations, including two previous games in Boston.
Game 6: 2011 NBA Finals
Dallas Mavericks 105 Miami Heat 95
(Mavs won NBA title)
James: 40 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
Game 6: 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Boston Celtics 94 Cleveland Cavaliers 85
(Celtics moved on to Conference Finals)
James: 46 minutes, 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists
Game 6: 2009 Eastern Conference Finals
Orlando Magic 103 Cleveland Cavaliers 90
(Magic advanced to NBA Finals)
James: 45 minutes, 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
Game 6: 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Cleveland Cavaliers 74 Boston Celtics 69
(Cavs forced a Game 7, which the Celtics won)
James: 47 minutes, 32 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists