2011 NBA Playoffs, by the numbers…

Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh (L), LeBron James (C) and Dwyane Wade sit on the bench while their team plays the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto, April 13, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Here’s a look at each first round matchup, taking into account Dean Oliver’s Four Factors of winning:

1. offensive and defensive effective FG% (which weight three-point shots with an extra point)

2. turnover rate (percentage of possessions ending in a turnover, both on offense and defense)

3. offensive and defensive rebound rate (percentage of available rebounds on each end of the floor)

4. FTM/FGA (which shows how well a team gets points from the free throw line)

Since we’re using both offensive and defensive numbers, I’ll call them the Eight Factors.

I have also included pace (possessions per game) and offensive and defensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) for reference. Below the two rows for the two teams is a third row that shows the difference in each category. A positive number is good for the first team listed (which will always be the higher seed). A negative number means the higher seed is worse in that category.

I’ll put the season series results in parenthesis next to each matchup.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Chicago vs. #8 Indiana (Bulls, 3-1)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
CHI 92.9 .501 .135 .294 .227 .463 .136 .762 .222 105.5 97.4
IND 97.2 .486 .141 .259 .235 .487 .128 .741 .237 101.9 103.4
    .015 .006 .035 -.008 .024 .008 .021 .015 3.6 6.0

The Bulls have the advantage in every category except for offensive FT/FGA rate. It would be a huge upset if Chicago didn’t win this series.

#4 Orlando vs. #5 Atlanta (Hawks, 3-1)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
ORL 93.4 .521 .145 .261 .227 .475 .134 .769 .219 105.5 98.9
ATL 91.6 .501 .135 .234 .209 .495 .123 .746 .211 103.2 104.6
    .020 -.010 .027 .018 .020 .011 .023 -.008 2.3 5.7

Of the Eight Factors (offensive and defense Four Factors), the Magic lead in six of them. Plus, they swept the Hawks in the playoffs last year, though the Hawks did win the season series. With home court advantage, this looks like an Orlando win. (Side note: Doesn’t Atlanta look like a team built to lose in the first round for the next five years?)

#2 Miami vs. #7 Philadelphia (Heat, 3-0)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
MIA 93.3 .524 .135 .252 .279 .475 .126 .755 .223 109.3 100.7
PHI 93.9 .494 .123 .246 .210 .487 .135 .745 .231 104.0 102.5
    .030 -.012 .006 .069 .012 -.009 .010 .008 5.3 1.8

The Head lead in six of the Eight Factors, though the Sixers do a better job of taking care of the ball and forcing turnovers. I’d be shocked if Philly were to win more than 1-2 games in this series given the way the Heat have been playing of late (i.e. very well).

#3 Boston vs. #6 New York (Celtics, 4-0)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
BOS 92.4 .519 .145 .211 .235 .469 .148 .747 .235 104.0 97.8
NYK 98.1 .513 .126 .242 .246 .511 .138 .719 .240 108.3 106.9
    .006 -.019 -.031 -.011 .042 .010 .028 .005 -4.3 9.1

Not surprisingly, the Knicks are better offensively than the Celtics, but Boston is quite a bit better on the other end of the court, which should offset New York’s scoring. That, coupled with the season sweep would indicate that the Celtics are a heavy favorite in this series. The Knicks could make things interesting if Carmelo Anthony and/or Amare Stoudemire get hot, but the C’s should prevail in the end, especially with a potential Game 7 at home.

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili warms up at the Pepsi Center in Denver on March 23, 2011. The Spurs own the best record in the NBA at 57-13 entering into the game against the Nuggets. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 San Antonio vs. #8 Memphis (Tied, 2-2)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
SAS 94.6 .527 .128 .249 .229 .491 .126 .747 .190 109.4 102.8
MEM 94.4 .493 .130 .289 .218 .502 .157 .725 .228 104.4 102.5
    .034 .002 -.040 .011 .011 -.031 .022 .038 5 -0.3

Given the way the Spurs are playing (4-8) in their last 12 games, and Manu Ginobili’s injury to his elbow, the Grizzlies could surprise in this first round matchup. Ginobili is scheduled to undergo an MRI today, and if he only misses a game or two, I think the Spurs (who have an advantage in six of the Eight Factors), will prevail. If Memphis is able to steal a game in San Antonio, this one could get very interesting.

#4 Oklahoma City vs. #5 Denver (Thunder, 3-1)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
OKC 95.3 .501 .131 .274 .299 .493 .129 .736 .228 108.6 104.0
DEN 98 .526 .131 .239 .281 .500 .127 .754 .224 109.5 104.8
    -.025 .000 .035 .018 .007 .002 -.018 -.004 -0.9 0.8

Considering the fact that the Nuggets’ numbers are weighted down by some poor play before the Carmelo trade, this is shaping up to be a very tight series. OKC leads in four of the Eight Factors, while the Nuggets have an advantage in three categories. I suspect that this one might go the full seven games, with Kevin Durant and Co. prevailing in the end. Let’s not forget that they got better at the trade deadline as well. They also have the two best players in the series in Durant and Russell Westbrook.

#2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #7 New Orleans (Lakers, 4-0)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
LAL 93.3 .502 .123 .292 .228 .477 .128 .723 .181 107.9 101.3
NOR 90.8 .493 .128 .251 .226 .501 .144 .762 .220 103.8 102.5
    .009 .005 .041 .002 .024 -.016 -.039 .039 4.1 1.2

L.A. leads in six of eight categories. The Lakers are great on the offensive glass while the Hornets rebound well defensively, so expect there to be a battle on the Hornets’ glass. The Lakers should be able to put their late-season swoon behind them and play like champions, or at least resemble champions enough to advance.

#3 Dallas vs. #6 Portland (Tied, 2-2)

TEAM PACE eFG% TOR ORR FT/FGA eFG%a TORa DRR FT/FGAa OEFF DEFF
DAL 93.4 .525 .136 .241 .222 .488 .130 .748 .206 107.6 102.3
POR 90.4 .486 .126 .295 .224 .510 .154 .720 .231 105.6 104.2
    .039 -.010 -.054 -.002 .022 -.024 .028 .025 2.0 1.9

Of the Eight Factors, each team leads in four and the two teams split the season series, so this is a very even matchup. The Blazers don’t shoot the ball as well, but they really get on the offensive glass, though that’s a strength of the Mavs. There are a couple of interesting matchups (Andre Miller/Jason Kidd and LaMarcus Aldridge/Dirk Nowitzki) that could decide the series, but I think Jason Terry is the key. If Portland can control his scoring off the bench, they have a great chance to win the series. In four games against the Blazers, Terry has averaged 12.1 points per game on 43% shooting, so Portland seems to have his number. I’ll go with the Blazers.

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