The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are tied at two games a piece. There are a lot of obvious things that anyone who has been watching the series will have noticed: Lebron and Wade did crazy things in Game 4, both teams’ defenses have put on the clamps, the shooting is down, Danny Granger will let any Heat player know when something rubs him the wrong way, and Roy Hibbert’s size and skills are a huge advantage for the Pacers (but his lack of speed is an advantage for the Heat).
But a look at the total series statistics shows us a few surprising tidbits. Basketball is a game played 48 minutes at a time so we cannot look too much into these statistics, but we have four full games of evidence to analyze now and they do give us a good look at who is giving consistently good performances.
16 Rebounds (Chalmers) vs. 8 rebounds (Hansbrough)
Four games into this series, Mario Chalmers has doubled Tyler Hansbrough up in rebounds grabbed. To be fair, Chalmers has played more than double the minutes of Tyler, but does that really remove all the shock? Eight rebounds in nearly 52 minutes over four games? Two rebounds per game? One rebound every six-and-a-half minutes? Hansbrough has yet to have the momentum-swinging impact on a game in this series that earned him the nickname Psycho-T.
20-for-57 FGs (Granger)
Danny Granger has been aggressive at times and made some big buckets in this series. He has played with great effort and has had the task of guarding Lebron James on defense. Also, no one is going to question how much he wants to win this series and he has made 7 of his last 15 three-pointers. But the fact of the matter is that he is shooting 35% (eFG% of 42.1%) through four games and is certainly not making up for that with only 8 free throws attempted. (In the regular season, he shot 41.2% with an eFG% of 48.1% while averaging 4.7 free throws per game). This might be a troubling reminder of how dangerous it can be when your best player relies on low-percentage shots to score.
93 points (Granger + George) vs 210 points (Lebron + Wade)
This one might not be so surprising. I don’t think anyone expected George and Granger to match the scoring of Wade and James. But has it really seemed that lopsided for the series? Didn’t it seem like Granger and George were playing nice defense on Wade and James while also providing a nice scoring punch of their own? Sure, Game Four’s 70 points from Wade and James might skew this a little, but keep in mind it also factors in a 5 point game from Wade in Game 3.
123 minutes (Hill) vs 73 minutes (Collison)
Should it really be that one-sided? Collison was the starter for most of the season, does it make sense to minimize his role this much? I understand that you are rarely going to give two point guards equal minutes, but if you are going to be using the “stick with the hot hand” approach, wouldn’t Collison have more minutes in this series? Collison’s weakness in this series is that he can only guard Mario Chalmers due to his size. Since Chalmers starts wouldn’t it make sense to start Collison so that Hill could come in when the Heat bring in a bigger lineup?
22 assists (James) vs 21 assists (Collison + Hill)
55:18 minutes (Turiaf)
This is the Eastern Conference semifinals. Ronny Turiaf is a major piece to this Miami Heat team. That may be a credit to the impact of Wade and James, but it is also an obvious reminder that without Chris Bosh this Miami team can be beat. The Heat might have two unbelievable talents, but the Pacers have more talent two through ten.
49 rebounds (Hibbert) vs 49 rebounds (Lebron)
If you don’t think Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world then you are wrong. The frightening truth is that James can do most things on the basketball court better than any player on the Pacers.
0 players shooting > 50% (IND) vs 3 players shooting > 50% (MIA)
Those three players for Miami? Joel Anthony, Chris Bosh and Ronny Turiaf. None of them have more than 13 FG attempts. What does that mean? I’m not quite sure. But it sure seems like, all things considered, the best shooters in this series cannot make their shots. The chances of that changing for both teams in Game 5 are slim. But it just goes to show that if one team gets hot in any given game, they might very well be able to run away with a victory.
Tags: Stat Talk