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John Schuhmann

Jason Richardson
Orlando's Jason Richardson is comfortable outside the 3-point arc, too.
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Numbers Game: Reasons to hunker down on Christmas Day


Posted Dec 24 2010 11:25AM

The first meeting between the two-time champion Los Angeles Lakers and the new-look Miami Heat is clearly the marquee matchup of Christmas Day. But there are plenty of reasons to watch each of the five games. Here's a look inside the numbers of each matchup.

Chicago @ New York, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Bulls: Pace: 95.6 (11), Off: 103.6 (16), Def: 97.6 (3)

Knicks: Pace: 99.2 (2), Off: 108.4 (6), Def: 106.1 (20)

Statistically, the Bulls and Knicks are the second-and third-most improved teams behind only the Heat. Chicago has improved by 7.7 points per 100 possessions from last season, while New York has improved by 6.3.

The Bulls are the No. 1 rebounding team in the league, grabbing 52.5 percent of all available boards. They rank eighth (29.1 percent) in offensive rebounding and 13th (74.6 percent) in defensive rebounding.

The Knicks have ranked last or second-to-last in the league in blocked shots per game each of the last six seasons. This season, they rank second with 6.7 blocks per game. After blocking 83 shots in 82 games with the Suns last season, Amar'e Stoudemire has 61 blocks in 29 games this year.

Boston @ Orlando, 2:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Celtics: Pace 93.0 (23), Off: 107.4 (8), Def: 96.9 (1)

Magic: Pace: 93.1 (21), Off: 104.9 (12), Def: 99.9 (6)

The Celtics are known to be a tough matchup for the Magic because they don't need to double-team Dwight Howard, but Orlando is the only team in the league with a winning record against Boston since the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Including two postseason series, the Magic are 13-11 against the Celtics over the last four seasons.

No team shoots the ball better from the field than the Celtics, but they rank only eighth in offensive efficiency because they rank 19th in turnover rate, 27th in free-throw rate and 29th in offensive rebounding percentage.

No team takes a higher percentage of its shots from 3-point range than the Magic, who attempt 30.9 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. And two of the players they acquired last Saturday, Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas, rank in the top five in 3-point attempts.

Miami @ L.A. Lakers, 5 p.m. ET, ABC

Heat: Pace: 93.0 (22), Off: 108.5 (4), Def: 97.1 (2)

Lakers: Pace: 96.3 (9), Off: 109.2 (2), Def: 102.0 (11)

The Heat have the league's fifth-best record, but rank first in point differential, outscoring their opponents by 11.4 points per 100 possessions, the second-highest differential since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls (+12.0). The highest of the last 14 years was the 2007-08 Celtics, who outscored their opponents by 11.5 points per 100 possessions.

The current Laker starting lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol logged a total of 432 minutes together last season and outscored its opponents by 4.6 points per 100 possessions. This season, that lineup already has played 547 minutes -- the most of any lineup in the league -- and outscored its opponents by 11.7 points per 100 possessions.

The Heat score just 33.1 percent of their points in the paint, the lowest in the league and the third-lowest in the 11 seasons that points in the paint have been tracked. Only the 2002-03 Knicks (30.9 percent) and 2007-08 Blazers (32.7 percent) had lower ratios.

Denver @ Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Nuggets: Pace: 98.8 (3), Off: 108.5 (5), Def: 106.6 (23)

Thunder: Pace: 95.6 (12), Off: 106.7 (9), Def: 104.1 (17)

The Thunder are on pace to set the record for best free-throw percentage in a season, making 84.5 percent of their attempts. The record is held by the 1989-90 Celtics, who shot 83.2 percent. But the Thunder don't just shoot them well, they also shoot them often. Oklahoma City ranks first in the league with 32.2 free-throw attempts per 100 possessions. Denver ranks second (31.8).

Of players who have attempted at least 200 shots from the floor, Nenê is the most efficient scorer, with a true shooting percentage of .684. He leads the league in field-goal percentage (61.9 percent) and is also making a career-high 79.1 percent of his free throws.

Of lineups that have played at least 100 minutes, the Thunder lineup of Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Nenad Krstic has been the best offensively, scoring 122.3 points per 100 possessions.

Portland @ Golden State, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Blazers: Pace: 91.2 (30), Off: 103.8 (15), Def: 103.5 (14)

Warriors: Pace: 97.9 (4), Off: 103.2 (17), Def: 108.7 (27)

The Blazers are the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the league, grabbing 31.2 percent of available offensive boards. They've actually ranked in the top eight in the league in offensive rebounding percentage in 16 of the last 21 seasons.

Of lineups that have played at least 100 minutes, the Warriors' lineup of Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams, Dorell Wright, David Lee and Andris Biedrins has been the second-worst in the league, getting outscored by 17.4 points per 100 possessions. Only the Cavs' lineup of Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao has been worse (-23.3).

According to reports, Brandon Roy doesn't think he and Andre Miller are a good fit, but Roy is a plus-95 in 617 minutes playing alongside Miller. He's a minus-47 in 195 minutes with Miller on the bench.

All stats are through Thursday, Dec. 23 and were compiled with the help of the NBA and StatsCube.

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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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