Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 9:00 PM
There’s a very good chance that the Brooklyn/Boston is going to develop into a great NBA rivalry in the coming years. The two areas already have a natural enmity for each other that goes back ages because of New York/Boston grudge battles. Brooklyn is serious about being an annual playoff team, while Boston is an enduring playoff dynasty…even if they’ll be rebuilding in the very near future because their current stars are near retirement.
We’ve already seen intensity in regular season meetings. It would have been something if these two teams had lined up in the playoffs. That doesn’t seem destined for this season…with Brooklyn set for the 1-4-5-8 half of the draw as they battle Chicago and Atlanta for home court advantage in the projected 4-5 series…and Boston set for the 2-3-6-7 half of the draw with a likely #7 finish.
So, let’s treat TONIGHT’S national TV game like it’s a playoff game! This will give us a chance to re-introduce our gauntlet of indicators for the NBA as we transition from the spectacle of the Big Dance to the Showbiz Spectacular that is the NBA Playoffs.
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY RANKINGS
Brooklyn: #9 in the NBA
Boston: #21 in the NBA
If you’re new to handicapping or analytics, “efficiency” is scoring divided by possessions. You have to factor in pace when evaluating both sides of the ball…or fast teams will look like they have bad defenses, while slow teams will look like they have bad offenses. That really matters in the case of the Nets because they’re a slow team that actually scores efficiently on a per-possession basis. You may have been thinking that both of these offenses have struggled this year. Brooklyn is better than you realized.
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY RANKINGS
Brooklyn: #17 in the NBA
Boston: #5 in the NBA
That being said, Brooklyn’s defense isn’t as good as you were thinking! Their very slow pace creates low scoring games that seem like defensive struggles. But, Brooklyn only has a league average defense (in a 30-team league) once you account for that. Boston is still playing elite defense. In fact, the basically tries to win with defense at the expense of everything else because of their current roster make-up.
REBOUND RATE RANKINGS
Brooklyn: #3 in the NBA
Boston: #29 in the NBA
Boston barely bothers trying for offensive rebounds, just sending everyone back to defend when a shot goes up. That kills their rebound rate, and doesn’t give them much margin for error on a nightly basis. Brooklyn is a fantastic rebounding team, which would be getting more run from the media if raw volume was higher. In slow games, it’s hard to post eye-popping numbers. Brooklyn does post eye-popping “percentage” numbers once you do some digging.
Brooklyn: #29 in the NBA
Boston: #17 in the NBA
Boston is thought of as a slow team, but actually plays at league average this year. Brooklyn is the second slowest team in the NBA. This could help them in the playoffs when everything slows down. Because, that will have them in their comfort zone. Except…
WON-LOST RECORDS VS. .500 OR BETTER
What in the world?! Brooklyn is actually HORRIBLE vs. great quality opposition. They slow down bad teams and absolutely CRUSH them in the half court. Versus quality, they look like the old New Jersey Nets. A pretender that shouldn’t be on the floor. Things aren’t as bad lately in this category as they’ve been through the season as a whole. But, it’s very hard to take the Nets seriously as a playoff threat given that breakdown. They’re going to compete with Miami in the second round when they’re 12-26 vs. all winning teams?
Brooklyn is in a back-to-back after hosting Philadelphia Tuesday, which may influence how they go about things in this particular matchup. JIM HURLEY is in close contact with his New York sources…who will be VERY involved in the NBA Playoffs this year. If we hear something special from them…that something special will be passed on to clients!
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Back tomorrow with more NBA and MLB big game previews. Watch and win based on what you learn from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!