Among the four Game 6s on ESPN tonight, the @ESPNStatsInfo twitter followers picked Boston to have the best shot to come back from a 3-2 deficit. Here are numbers that show why that just might happen.
What went right for the Celtics in Games 4 and 5
The Boston Celtics have relied heavily on jump shots against the New York Knicks. During the first three games of the series, that didn’t strategy backfired. But in Games 4 and 5 the Celtics finally found their touch, especially on catch-and-shoot jumpers.
Celtics on Catch-and-Shoots
The Celtics were a combined 14 of 55 (7 of 40 from 3-point range) in the first three games of the series. Since then, they are a combined 21 of 39 (16 of 32 on 3-pointers).
The three Celtics with the biggest improvements on those plays were three of their top scorers.
What went wrong for the Knicks in Games 4 and 5
Defensively, the Celtics may need to just let the Knicks keep running their increasingly isolated offense. The Knicks had already used isolation on a league-high 16% of their offensive plays in the regular season, but in the playoffs that rate has jumped even higher to 27%.
No Knicks player has led the charge in isolation more than Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has gone isolation on 45% of his plays this postseason after doing so 26% of the time in the regular season.
Carmelo Anthony in Isolation
In the past, Anthony has received a lot of criticism for being an inefficient player. He puts up high point totals, but normally takes a lot of shots to get there.
This playoff series has been no different.
Over the course of the regular season, Anthony averaged 22.2 field goal attempts per game. In the last two games, he’s averaged 29.5.
Highlighting the regular-season scoring champion’s “put-the-team-on-my-back” mentality, Anthony has spent 50 percent of his time in isolation in the past two games -- nearly doubling his regular-season average of 26.3 percent.
Despite this time investment, Anthony has not produced. He's averaging 0.7 points per play in isolation in the past two games, far below his regular season average of 0.9.