Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Get ready for Tuesday's TNT doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Clippers (24-12) at Celtics (17-17)
7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
• The Celtics won the first meeting of the season with the Clippers 119-115 on Feb. 5 in LA behind a game-high 34 points from Jayson Tatum. Nicolas Batum was the primary defender on Tatum for a team-high 5:27 and held Tatum to four points on 2-8 shooting. Tatum scored 11.8% of his points during that 37.4% of his offensive matchup time. In 9:13 of matchup time against all other defenders, Tatum scored 29 points on 10-18 shooting as 85.3% of his points came in 63.2% of his offensive matchup time.
• In addition to scoring a game-high 34 points, Tatum was also the primary defender on Kawhi Leonard for a team-high 5:20 (41.5% of Kawhi’s offensive matchup time). Tatum held Kawhi to 1 point on 0-2 shooting from the field and 1-2 from the free-throw line, to go with two assists and one turnover. So far this season, 18 players have defended Leonard for at least five minutes; no other player has held Leonard without a field goal and to fewer than four points head-to-head.
• The Celtics shot 16-38 (42.1%) on 3-point shots in their February win over LA. So far this season, the Celtics are 11-1 when they make at least 14 3-pointers in a game. For the season, the Celtics rank 21st in 3-pointers made (12.1 per game), 22nd in 3-pointers attempted (32.8 per game) and 13th in 3-point accuracy (36.7%). The Clippers rank 10th in opponent 3-point percentage, holding teams to 35.7% shooting.
• The Clippers rank fourth in the league in bench scoring, with their reserves averaging 40.2 points per game. Marcus Morris (11.8 ppg) and Lou Williams (11.5 ppg) account for 58% of the Clippers’ bench scoring. The Celtics rank 27th in bench scoring at 31.8 ppg.
• The Celtics rank sixth in the league in points off turnovers (18.6 per game) with Jayson Tatum accounting for 4.2 ppg (8th in league). The Clippers rank 16th as a team (16.9 ppg), but have two of the top three players in points off turnovers – Paul George (5.0, 1st) and Kawhi Leonard (4.4, 3rd).
Suns (22-11) at Lakers (24-11)
10 p.m. ET, TNT
• The Suns enter Tuesday having won two straight and five of their last six games. Since Jan. 28, the Suns are a league-best 14-3 (0.824 win percentage) with the fourth-ranked offense (118.9 points per 100 possessions) and fifth-ranked defense (108.8 points allowed per 100 possessions). During that same stretch, the Lakers have gone 10-6, with the 24th-ranked offense (107.7) and league-best defense 106.0.
• After averaging 20.2 points over five games in December and 24.3 points over nine games in January, Devin Booker increased his scoring once again in February by averaging 27.9 points on 52.3% shooting over 15 games. Booker has scored at least 33 points in three of his last four games.
• LeBron James is one of four players this season averaging at least 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists – along with fellow All-Stars James Harden, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic. This would be the 11th time LeBron has averaged at least 25-7-7 in his career; Oscar Robertson (6) and Russell Westbrook (4) are the only other players with more than two such seasons.
• Chris Paul (9.0 apg) and LeBron James (8.1 apg) rank fourth and eighth, respectively, in assists this season. The two are also members of the all-time top 10 in assists with Paul currently ranked sixth (9,940 career assists) and James currently ranked eighth (9,620). Paul needs 201 assists to catch Magic Johnson for fifth place; he would need 23 games at his current pace. LeBron needs 267 assists to catch Oscar Robertson for seventh place; he would need 33 games at his current pace.
• The Suns (97.84, 29th) and Lakers (98.98, 23rd) both rank in the bottom third of the league in pace. However, the Lakers rank seventh in fast break points (14.9 per game), led by LeBron James at 4.9 ppg (2nd in league).