If you haven't checked out NBA.com's StatsCube, you should. It's fun little toy that produces some interesting numbers.
Pierce vs. Melo
Before the series, we kept hearing how Carmelo Anthony gave the Knicks a chance to give Boston some trouble. But people don't take into account the Celtics defense as a whole, and Paul Pierce's defense in particular. Pierce has never been regarded as a great defender because earlier in his career, he didn't always give 100% on that end. But if you take a look at the Pierce/Anthony matchup by the numbers, Pierce clearly gave Melo trouble.
With Paul Pierce on the court, Carmelo Anthony shot 36% per 36 minutes for the series. With Pierce on the bench, Melo shot 50%. Melo was a -12.6 in the matchup. The only place Melo did well with Pierce on the floor is in the paint, shooting 48% while being checked by Pierce as opposed to 33% while Pierce sat.
Rondo vs. Everyone
We welcomed "Rajon Rondo" back to the Celtics this series. How dominant was he?
He averaged 35.2 assists per 100 possessions. He assisted on 45% of the Celtics field goals. With Rondo on the court, the Knicks shot 37.9%. With him on the bench, they shot 43.6% (that's probably misleading considering Rondo sat with most other starters). With Rondo on the floor, the Knicks Net Rating (point differential per 100 possessions) was -11.9. With him on the bench, it was +17.11
Ray Allen in the clutch
"The clutch" is defined as the last five minutes of a game with the score differential of five points or less. So basically, Games 1 and 2. Ray Allen's eFG% (adjusts value of a 3pt FG relative to a 2pt FG) was 83.3%. His True Shooting % (adjusts for 3pt FG's and FT's) was 87.2%. Too technical? Ray shot 100% from 3 and 100% from the line in the clutch. Clutch Jesus indeed.
The resurrection of Jermaine O'Neal
That's how it was classified in one of the comments… so we're sticking to it.
Jermaine spent more time on the bench (100 minutes) vs. the floor (92 minutes). So these stats show a lot. When JO was on the floor, the Knicks rebound percentage was 43.5%. With him on the bench, it was 51.4%. With JO in the game, the Knicks turnover percentage was 14.86%. Without him, it was 9.43%
Maybe most telling: The Celtics net rating with the Big 4 and Jermaine was 28.18. Sub in Glen Davis for Jermaine: 3.38. And if you want to say "well, that's Big Baby… he sucked for most of the series"… a line up of Paul, Ray, Rondo, Baby and Jermaine had a net rating of 89.04.
Just a little delve into the numbers and some interesting results. The final verdict is stuff we pretty much already knew: Pierce is a better defender than people give him credit for. Rajon Rondo can control a game. Ray Allen is a great shooter. And Jermaine O'Neal made a difference on defense.