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John Schuhmann

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Only one player -- and he's with L.A. -- has taken more shots than Boston's Rajon Rondo in The Finals.
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History favors L.A., but in this series, history means squat


Posted Jun 16 2010 1:21PM

There have been 16 Game 7s in NBA Finals history, but Thursday's will be only the second in the last 16 years.

History is not in favor of the Celtics. The home team has won 13 of those 16 winner-take-all situations. But location hasn't meant much to Boston this season. If the Celtics win Game 7, they'll finish the year with the same record on the road as they have at home (33-20). And they've already won more playoff games away from the TD Garden this season (six) than they won over the last two postseasons combined (five).

Of course, the Lakers are 40-12 at home this season, winning 16 of their last 17 at the Staples Center. The most recent home loss was in Game 2 last Sunday.

What does it all mean? We'll find out Thursday night. Everything comes down to Game 7 and Game 1,312 of the 2009-10 season

In the meantime, there's not much to say about Game 6. It was about as ugly of a blowout as you'll see in the postseason. Still, here are a few numerical notes from Tuesday's action and the series thus far ...

1. From red hot to ice cold

Perhaps it was the law of averages acting up again. Two nights after they shot 56 percent in Game 5, the Celtics shot just 33 percent on Tuesday. It was their worst game of the season (105 games) and second-worst of their last 10 postseasons (100 games). It was also the worst any team has shot against the Lakers this season.

The Celtics scored just 67 points on 87 possessions, a miserable mark of 77 points per 100. It was just the fourth time (once in each series) they've been held under a point per possession in the postseason. Their worst offensive game had been Game 1 of the first round against Miami, when they scored 85 points on 90 possessions (94.4 per 100).

Not only did the Celtics shoot poorly, they couldn't get to the line. Their 10 free throws were the fewest they've attempted all season and the fewest they've attempted in a postseason game since May 2, 1992.

2. Sometimes, 36 minutes is enough

Overall, the Lakers' offensive numbers don't look very good. They shot just 41.8 percent and scored just 89 points on 86 possessions (103.5 per 100). But those numbers are skewed by an awful fourth quarter (3-for-18, 13 points on 23 possessions), when the game had already been decided and D.J. Mbenga saw playing time for just the third time in the postseason.

L.A. scored 76 points on 63 possessions through the first three quarters, a very efficient 120.6 per 100. And the Lakers did it with much more balance than they had in Game 5. On Sunday, Kobe Bryant took 27 of his team's 78 shots (35 percent). In Game 6, Bryant took just 19 of the Lakers' 79 shots (24 percent).

3. Statistical advantage

Each team has won three games, but with two comfortable victories, the Lakers have outscored the Celtics by 20 points in the series, 551-531. They've scored 106.6 points per 100 possessions and held Boston to just 102.1.

The Lakers have won 13 of the 24 quarters. Overall, they've been the better team in the first (138-126), second (147-127) and third periods (141-128), while the Celtics have been better in the fourth (150-125).

4. Win the first, win the game

While fourth-quarter execution has been critical three times in this series, the winner of the first period has won each game. But the first quarter has also been the ugliest. The teams have combined to score just 97.1 points per 100 possessions in the first period, as opposed to 104.2 in the second, 108.9 in the third and 107.8 in the fourth.

In games involving the Celtics against the Lakers in the postseason, the winner of the first quarter is 28-9. The score was tied once after the first quarter.

Quick Hits

• Since attempting 36 free throws in Game 1, Boston has gone downhill: 26 attempts in Game 2, 24 in Game 3, 23 in Game 4, 13 in Game 5, and 10 in Game 6.

• The Celtics are 11-4 over the last three seasons without Kendrick Perkins, questionable for Game 7 with a sprained knee. That includes a loss at L.A. in Game 5 of the 2008 Finals.

• Though he's shooting just 35 percent, Ron Artest has the best plus-minus of the series (plus-41) after a plus-26 in Game 6. Paul Pierce, who had the best plus-minus in the 2008 Finals (plus-52) has the worst in this series (minus-32).

• In six games of the 2008 Finals, Kevin Garnett took 105 shots. He's attempted just 75 through the first six games of this series. Rajon Rondo took just 53 shots two years ago, but has taken 84 this time around. That's the second-most of anyone in the Finals, but still 55 fewer than Kobe Bryant.

• Rasheed Wallace was 0-for-7 from the field on Tuesday, with six of his misses coming from 3-point range. It was the first time in his career (1,264 games) that he's taken at least five shots, with at least five beyond the arc ... and missed them all.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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