Friday, May 13, 2011

Heat Produced: Embrace the Chaos - Celtics Eliminated 97-87 in Game 5



The Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics started as a battle between order and chaos. Chaos won and the reigning Eastern Conference champs were dethroned by Miami’s Three Kings. Fans can love it or hate it, but as Common said on the Ozomatli song this post was named after, “Whether love or hate... For revolution, chaos we embrace... Only through chaos will we ever see change.”


Let’s recap Game 5 as well as the series’ Most Valuable Player, Best Reserve, Best Coach and all of the wins produced stats that have been updated on the Heat Produced Page.

This article will use Win Score and Estimated Wins Produced, statistical models created by Professor David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal, to measure how much a player's box score statistics contributed to their team's efficiency differential and wins. An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (Est.WP48), a star player produces +0.200 Est.WP48 and a superstar produces +0.300 Est.WP48. More information on these stats can be found at the following links:

Simple Models of Player Performance
Wins Produced vs. Win Score
What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say
Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics


Game 5 Player Notes:
This spreadsheet contains the Wins Produced stats estimated from the Game 5 box score.


  • Dwyane Wade was the most productive player on the floor with an estimated 0.406 wins produced from 34 points on 19 shots and 15 free throw attempts with 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
  • Wade carried the Heat on his back in the first half with an estimated 0.290 wins produced. How heavy was the load? The rest of the Heat produced an estimated -0.141 wins produced in the first half.
  • At halftime, LeBron James told Wade, “I got ya back.”
  • LeBron James was the second-most productive player on the floor with an estimated 0.269 wins produced from 33 points on 20 shots and nine free throw attempts with seven rebounds, four assists and five turnovers.
  • LeBron had his worst quarter of the series in the first quarter with an estimated -0.215 wins produced from one point on four shots and two free throw attempts with one rebound and two turnovers.
  • After the first quarter, LeBron was in rare air that only Wade could breathe. In the first three quarters, Wade produced an estimated 0.453 wins and 0.663 est.WP48. In the last three quarters, LeBron produced an estimated 0.483 wins and 0.688 est.WP48 from 32 points on 16 shots and seven free throw attempts with six rebounds and four assists.
  • Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Celtics said it best, “[Wade] carried them just long enough for LeBron to knock us out.”
  • LeBron closed the game out with an estimated 0.206 wins produced in the fourth quarter from 13 points on seven shots and three free throw attempts with no turnovers.
  • The only player with a better stretch than LeBron’s fourth quarter was Wade with an estimated 0.229 wins produced from 9.2 minutes played in the second quarter. His est.WP48 in the second quarter was 1.196. That’s nearly 12 times the production of an average player! And more productive than the Celtics were in the second and third quarters COMBINED.
  • Chris Bosh was the third-most productive player on the floor with an estimated 0.218 wins produced from 14 points on nine shots and six free throw attempts with 11 rebounds and no turnovers while helping to limit Kevin Garnett to 15 points on 13 shots and eight free throw attempts with 11 rebounds, three turnovers and three fouls.
  • Like LeBron, Bosh also had his worst first quarter of the series with an estimated -0.109 wins produced from two points on three shots with one foul and zero rebounds.
  • After the first quarter, Bosh played like a hall-of-famer with an estimated 0.326 wins produced and 0.491 est.WP48 from 12 points on six shots and six free throw attempts with 11 rebounds and a highlight dunk in the fourth quarter that perfectly illustrated the difference between him and KG in the series.


  • Mike Bibby bounced back from two terrible games in Boston with an estimated 0.091 wins produced and 0.224 est.WP48 from three points on three shots with one assist, one steal and zero turnovers. Not impressive enough for you? That’s because it’s not impressive. Bibby only produced a 3.7 Win Score per 48 minutes (WS48) in the game. In a typical Heat game this season, the average WS48 at point guard was 5.4. In this game, the average WS48 was 0.0. The bar was low enough for even a slumping Bibby to be very productive.
  • Despite the low bar that was set for point guard productivity, Mario Chalmers managed to be the least productive Heat player with an estimated -0.119 wins produced from two points on six shots with one assist and three fouls.
  • How bad were the Heat point guards? Well, Rajon Rondo was the most productive Celtics player with an estimated 0.146 wins produced from six points on five shots with two rebounds, one steal, three assists and two turnovers.
  • When an all-star can outplay your point guards with one arm, then it might be a problem. So Heat coach Erik Spoelstra decided to go without a point guard in crunch time and replaced Chalmers with James Jones for the last five minutes. Jones produced 0.773 est.WP48 in that stretch by hitting a wide-open three-pointer to cut the Celtics lead to just two points.
  • Nenad Krstic was the second-most productive Celtics player with an estimated 0.139 wins produced from eight points on three shots and three free throw attempts with two rebounds, two blocks and four fouls. When Nenad Krstic is the second-most productive Celtics player on a team with a “Big Three” then it was a bad night for the Green Gang.
  • Speaking of Boston’s Big Three, Paul Pierce was the least productive player on the floor with an estimated -0.223 wins produced from 12 points on 12 shots and one free throw attempt with four turnovers and five fouls. Former Celtic and Hall of Fame coach John Thompson said on his daily radio show that people made too much of Pierce saying he wanted to guard LeBron. What Pierce didn’t realize, he said, was that LeBron wanted Pierce to guard him, too.

I'm sure LeBron was thinking two words, "All day."

  • The other two members of Boston’s Big Three were just average. Ray Allen produced an estimated 0.114 wins from 18 points on 12 shots and one free throw with three rebounds and two steals. KG produced an estimated 0.090 wins.
  • The Heat’s Three Kings produced an estimated 0.893 wins. The Celtics’ Big Three produced an estimated -0.018 wins.

Game 5 Team Notes:
  • The game started with the Heat’s worst quarter in the American Airlines Arena this season. The Heat produced an estimated -0.354 wins in the first quarter. Before Game 5, the Heat’s worst stretch at home was the third quarter vs. the Orlando Magic on March 3rd when they blew a 24-point lead.
  • As was the case all series, the Heat came back from a poor start with a dominant second quarter. The Heat (on the back of Wade) put together their 13th-best quarter at home this season to make it a two-point game at the half.
  • This spreadsheet lists the best and worst quarters for the Heat this season by estimated wins produced.


  • The Heat eliminated the Celtics with an estimated 0.402 wins produced - their best fourth quarter of the series. The Celtics came up short in the final frame with an estimated -0.270 wins produced.
  • With Joel Anthony in foul trouble for the second and third quarters, the Heat only outplayed the Celtics at three positions - shooting guard, small forward and center. The Heat outplayed the Celtics at four positions in their previous three wins this series. Here’s what the Heat produced at each position (based on est.WP48, an est.WP48 > 0.100 means the Heat won the position battle):
    • Point Guard: 0.050
    • Shooting Guard: 0.343
    • Small Forward: 0.201
    • Power Forward: 0.041
    • Center: 0.167
  • Game 5 was the first game the Heat won without winning the power forward matchup. With The Warden in foul trouble, Spoelstra used Juwan Howard at power forward and Bosh at center. Sixty-six percent of Bosh’s production came at center in the second quarter when he produced an estimated 0.144 wins and 0.720 est.WP48. Yes, Bosh can be very effective in the middle.
  • Lineups with Bosh at center have produced an efficiency differential of +16.6 in 57.8 minutes during the playoffs (see this spreadsheet).


  • The Heat starters produced an estimated 1.021 wins from an estimated efficiency differential# of +30 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics starters produced an estimated 0.081 wins from an estimated efficiency differential of -11.9 points per 100 possessions.
  • The Heat bench produced an estimated -0.219 wins from an estimated efficiency differential of -41 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics bench produced an estimated 0.117 wins from an estimated efficiency differential of -3.9 points per 100 possessions.

Series Awards:
  • Most Valuable Player — Wade was the most productive Heat player in the series with an estimated 1.2 wins produced and 0.270 est.WP48. He was above average in every category except free throw shooting, turnovers and fouls.
  • Sixth ManJoel Anthony was the most productive Heat reserve in the series with an estimated 0.6 wins produced and 0.170 est.WP48. He did six things well against the Celtics. 1) He didn’t shoot often, but made it count when he did, resulting in efficient shooting of 60 percent. 2) The same goes for his free throws at 88 percent. 3) He caught enough passes and made enough good passes to keep his turnovers well below average. 4) He grabbed enough rebounds to make sure he secured more possessions than he lost. 5) He blocked a lot of shots. 6) He played excellent defense without fouling. Of course, Anthony played so well against the Celtics that Spoelstra started him the last two games of the series. The most productive reserve after The Warden was Chalmers with an estimated 0.1 wins produced and 0.044 est.WP48.
  • Best Coach — Spoelstra gets a slight nod over Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Spoelstra gave his best six players 84 percent of the minutes available in the series while Rivers only gave his best six players 80 percent of the available minutes. Of course, Rivers had to deal with the constraints of older players and injuries, but Spoelstra had to juggle similar issues with Big Z, Bibby and Udonis Haslem. In the end, I think Spoelstra handled it better, but I admit those issues were probably easier to handle when you never trailed in the series.

Eastern Conference Semifinal Notes:
This spreadsheet contains the Heat Wins Produced stats estimated from the series’ box scores.


  • The Heat scored an average of 104.9 points per 100 possessions and allowed 101.2 points per 100 possessions for an efficiency differential of +3.7. The Chicago Bulls produced an efficiency differential of +8.7 against the Hawks (based on data from basketball-reference.com). According to nbastuffer.com, the Heat (at +6.8) have the third-best efficiency differential in the playoffs behind the Dallas Mavericks (+10.2) and Bulls (+8.3).
  • The Three Kings provided 95 percent of the Heat’s estimated wins produced in the series.
  • LeBron was the second-most productive player in the series with an estimated 0.92 wins produced and 0.197 est.WP48. He was above average in every category except free throw shooting, steals and turnovers.
  • Bosh was the third-most productive player in the series with an estimated 0.9 wins produced and 0.225 est.WP48. His production was driven by getting to the line and shooting a good percentage, rebounding, protecting the ball and defending the post without fouling.
  • The least productive player in the series was Zydrunas Ilgauskas with an estimated -0.3 wins produced and -0.346 est.WP48. He was below average in every category except shooting volume, rebounding and assists. No wonder Spoelstra chose to bench him and play Howard in Game 5.
  • The Heat outplayed the Celtics at three positions (shooting guard, small forward and center) and played them to a virtual standstill at power forward. This spreadsheet lists the top Heat players at each position (by estimated wins produced).


  • The Heat struggled with slow starts (0.034 est.WP48) and shaky finishes (0.032 est.WP48) in the first round against the 76ers. The slow starts continued against the Celtics with just 0.022 est.WP48 but they were much more productive in the fourth quarter with 0.105 est.WP48.
  • The second quarter continued to be where the Heat have dominated in the playoffs. An estimated 48 percent of the Heat’s wins were produced in the second quarter vs the Celtics. An estimated 53 percent of the Heat’s wins were produced in the second quarter vs the 76ers.
  • There are a few explanations for the Heat’s dominance in the second and fourth quarters. One explanation is that the Heat reserves, which played most of their minutes in those quarters, outplayed the Celtics reserves in the series. Heat reserves produced 0.055 est.WP48 and Celtics reserves produced 0.009 est.WP48 in the series.
  • A better explanation is that LeBron and Bosh played much better in those quarters. They were the two least productive Heat players in the first quarter, but 100 percent of LeBron’s production came in the second and fourth quarters and 67 percent of Bosh’s production came in those quarters. This spreadsheet lists the production of Heat players by quarter.


This spreadsheet contains the Celtics Wins Produced stats estimated from the series’ box scores.


  • Garnett was the most productive Celtics player in the series with an estimated 0.8 wins produced and 0.205 est.WP48. The opponents’ starting power forward has been the most productive player in both rounds of the playoffs. Bosh was outplayed by Brand in the first round but he did manage to slightly outplay Garnett. It’s will be interesting to see if the Bulls try to attack Bosh like the 76ers and Celtics have and whether or not they will have the same amount of success.
  • The second-most productive Celtics player was Allen with an estimated 0.3 wins produced and 0.070 est.WP48. He only had two above average games in the series — the first one and the last one.
  • Only two Celtics in Rivers’ eight-player rotation were above average — Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal (0.104 est.WP48).

What If...
On Thursday’s Dan LeBatard Show, Bill Simmons said he believed that the series would have gone seven games if Rondo didn’t dislocate his elbow. Well, the fact of the matter is that Rondo was actually more productive AFTER the injury.

As this spreadsheet illustrates, Rondo produced an estimated -0.034 wins before he dislocated his elbow and 0.273 estimated wins after he dislocated his elbow. Simmons argued that Rondo was juuust starting to figure things out, but his best stretch in Game 3 came AFTER the injury and his performance was below average for the game’s first three quarters.


If Rondo stayed healthy and maintained his pre-injury performance, then he would not have helped prevent the inevitable.

The Heat is on. Everything burns.


The Heat's estimated wins produced stats for the entire playoffs are posted on the Heat Produced Page.


Unless referenced otherwise, original game data used for this post was taken from popcornmachine.net and nba.com.

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