NBA Playoffs 2013: 5 Eye-Popping Stats of the Playoffs so Far
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Once the regular season ends, it's usually pretty easy to determine how each NBA team wins basketball games. The team numbers pile up, and 82 games are ample enough of a sample size to figure out a team's identity.
The Indiana Pacers win with defense, for example, while the Miami Heat spread you out and kill you with uncanny three-point accuracy.
We know who these teams are.
That is why it is so strange when the playoffs arrive and those trends are turned on their head.
The following numbers may not be the ones that have sparked the most debate throughout the playoffs, but they help explain why some teams have already started their summer vacations and why one is still in contention to win an NBA title.
Note: All stats courtesy of NBA.com's advanced stats tool.
The Knicks Forgetting How to Shoot
During the regular season, the New York Knicks shot fairly well. Their field-goal percentage was 44.8 percent, which ranked 15th in the league.
But with their shooting behind the arc (37.6 percent) and record-setting number of three-point attempts per game (28.9 of them), their effective field-goal percentage (eFG percentage, which adjusts shooting percentage to account for threes being worth more) was 51.5 percent, good for eighth best in the NBA.
In the playoffs, however, their field-goal percentage dropped to 41.0 percent (worst among the 16 postseason teams) and their eFG percentage plummeted to 46.0 percent (15th out of 16).
Some of this was a result of going up against the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers, the sixth-best and best defenses, respectively, during the regular season in terms of holding down opponent eFG percentage.
Still, a lot of it was just New York missing shots, especially in the paint.
The Celtics Coughing Up the Ball
The Boston Celtics did a good job protecting the ball this year. In the regular season, they only turned it over 14.6 times per game.
Only 12 teams were better.
The postseason was another story altogether, however, as the Celtics coughed it up 17.3 times per night, easily the worst among the 16 postseason teams.
To put that in perspective, the Houston Rockets led the NBA with 16.4 turnovers per game during the regular season, and that was while playing at a considerably higher pace than the Celtics did in the playoffs.
Paul Pierce was the biggest cause of the sloppiness, turning the ball over 5.3 times per game. In his defense, however, the team lacked a traditional point guard after Rajon Rondo's season ended with an ACL tear at the end of January.
Perhaps teams without point guards just struggle to control the ball.
The Bulls Playing Great Late Through Offensive Rebounding
The Chicago Bulls were an excellent offensive-rebounding team during the regular season. So it was no surprise to see them use this to their advantage in the playoffs.
But it was impressive to see just how much they have dominated the offensive glass in crunch time.
In 39 "clutch" minutes (when the game is within five points with under five minutes left), the Bulls pulled down an ungodly 34.1 percent of their misses. This ratio is the best among playoff teams.
Joakim Noah was a big factor. He averaged 4.3 offensive boards per game throughout the postseason.
Mid-Range Struggles out West
Shooting from mid-range is difficult in the NBA. Only six teams shot above 41 percent from this area during the regular season.
But it was an even bigger challenge for the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets this postseason. Both shot below 30 percent, with the Lakers hitting only 29-of-98 (29.6 percent) looks from the mid-range and the Rockets making just 16-of-55 (29.1 percent).
This is a big reason that neither team had much of a chance to advance to the second round.
Pau Gasol (5-of-24) and James Harden (2-of-13) were two of the worst offenders.
The Grizzlies Living at the Line
There are many reasons that the Memphis Grizzlies have been so tough to beat this postseason. One has been their ability to get easy points at the free-throw line.
The Grizzlies didn't get to the line a lot this year. They took just 21.3 free throws per game, which was roughly the league average.
But in the playoffs, they have lived at the charity stripe, getting there 30.3 times per game. No team has shot more freebies in the postseason.
Mike Conley has made the biggest individual jump, rising from 3.5 free-throw attempts per game in the regular season to 6.8 attempts in the playoffs. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen have also all increased their averages considerably.