Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Sunday, May 9, 2021
Get ready for Sunday's ESPN doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Heat (36-31) at Celtics (35-32)
1 p.m. ET, ESPN
• This is the first of a two-game set between these teams in Boston that will determine the head-to-head tiebreaker should they finish the regular season with matching records. And considering the Heat and Celtics currently rank sixth and seventh in the East, this series could determine which team gets a guaranteed playoff spot and which team has to go through the play-in tournament.
• The Celtics won first meeting, 107-105 on Jan. 6, behind 27 points from Jayson Tatum, 21 points and 12 rebounds from Jaylen Brown and a timely tip-in from rookie Payton Pritchard with two-tenths of a second remaining to give the Celtics the win over the team that knocked them out of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Boston has played a league-high 42 clutch games and is 17-25 (.405) in those games; Miami is 18-16 (.529) in clutch games, but one of their losses came against Boston.
• Last season, the Heat defeated the Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals against the Lakers. Three of Miami’s four wins in the series came by five points or less; the Celtics actually led the composite score in the series by a point (675-674). Bam Adebayo (21.8 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 5.2 apg) and Jayson Tatum (26.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 6.3 apg) led their respective teams in points, rebounds and assists during the series.
• Jimmy Butler is one of six players in the NBA to average at least 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists this season. His 21.6 ppg is his highest scoring average since 2017-18 in Minnesota and his 7.0 rpg and 7.2 apg are both career highs in his 10th NBA season.
• Duncan Robinson ranks fourth in both 3-pointers made (231) and attempted (571); 3-point attempts account for 85.6% of Robinson’s field goal attempts, which is the second-highest percentage behind Washington’s Davis Bertans. Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics in 3-pointers made (175, 13th) and attempted (454, 12th), but 3-pointers only account for 36.8% of his total field goal attempts.
Knicks (37-30) at Clippers (45-22)
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
• Julius Randle (24.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 5.9 apg) is one of five players averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists this season – joining Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook and Domantas Sabonis.
• The Clippers (322) and Knicks (249) rank second and fifth, respectively, in corner 3-pointers made, with five of the top 20 corner 3-point shooters in the league represented these two teams – Marcus Morris Sr. (54 3PM, 8th), Nicolas Batum (49 3PM, 12th) and Paul George (44 3PM, T-17th) for the Clippers; RJ Barrett (53 3PM, 9th) and Reggie Bullock (52 3PM, 11th) for the Knicks. Among the 124 players with at least 50 corner 3-point attempts, Morris and George are tied for second in accuracy at 55.7%.
• The Clippers won the first meeting with the Knicks, 129-115 on Jan. 31 in New York, behind Kawhi Leonard’s 28 points. RJ Barrett was the primary defender on Leonard for a team-high 7:19 (63.2% of Leonard’s offensive matchup time) and allowed 11 points on 4-9 shooting from the field, 1-2 from 3-point range and 2-2 from the free throw line. Kawhi finished 11-11 at the free throw line, earning eight attempts in just 2:05 of matchup time against Reggie Bullock, Julius Randle or Mitchell Robinson.
• The Clippers are 26-9 at home this season, with their offense averaging 4.5 more points per game at home (116.4) than on the road (111.9). LA has a league-best 61.1% true shooting percentage at home, while the Knicks rank 27th at 55.1% shooting on the road.
• The Clippers have won five straight and 15 of the last 16 games with the Knicks, dating back to the 2012-13 season. New York’s last win over LA came on Nov. 20, 2017; the only current Knick on that team was Frank Ntilikina during his rookie season.