2017 NBA Playoffs
2017 NBA Playoffs

Numbers preview: Celtics (1) vs. Bulls (8)

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann NBA.com


Apr 14, 2017 7:26 PM ET


Will the top-seeded Celtics have problems against your-not-so-ordinary eighth seed Bulls?

The Boston Celtics are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but also a team that hasn't won a playoff series in five years. They've taken clear steps forward in their last three regular seasons under Brad Stevens, but still have a lot to prove in the playoffs.

The Celtics have scored just 93.6 points per 100 possessions in 10 playoff games over the last two years (getting held under a point per possession in eight of the 10), with Isaiah Thomas shooting just 38 percent. The addition of Al Horford has given Thomas more support this year, but the All-Star point guard will still be the focus of opposing defenses in the playoffs, and other guys will have to step up.

Their opponent in the first round is an eight seed, but a weird one. The Chicago Bulls were inconsistent from game to game, capable of beating the best teams in the league one night and losing to the worst teams the next. In fact, the Bulls were 12-9 against the teams with the league's eight best records, but just 13-12 against the teams with the league's nine worst records.

You never know what you're going to get with the Bulls and you haven't seen these Celtics win a playoff series yet. That makes this 1-8 series different than most others.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 1-8 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Boston Celtics (53-29)

Pace: 99.3 (12)
OffRtg: 108.6 (8)
DefRtg: 105.5 (12)
NetRtg: +3.1 (7)

Regular season:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
vs. Chicago:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Celtics notes:

Chicago Bulls (41-41)

Pace: 97.7 (20)
OffRtg: 104.6 (21)
DefRtg: 104.5 (6)
NetRtg: +0.1 (14)

Regular season:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
vs. Boston:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Bulls notes:

The matchup

Season series:Tied 2-2 (home team won all 4 games)
Oct. 27 @ CHI - Bulls 105, Celtics 99
Nov. 2 @ BOS - Celtics 107, Bulls 100
Feb. 16 @ CHI - Bulls 104, Celtics 103
Mar. 12 @ BOS - Celtics 100, Bulls 80

Pace: 95.8
BOS OffRtg: 108.3 (11th vs. CHI)
CHI OffRtg: 100.1 (24th vs. BOS)

Matchup notes:

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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