## The Algebra of the Game: South Beach Heat can’t melt gelling C’s

The Algebra of this here Game is clear enough even for Stevie Wonder to see.

Each team recorded 34 successful Field Goals. But Boston’s 26 free throw attempts represent a dozen converted possessions. The Heat’s higher-percentage work at the charity stripe was the conclusion to just seven possessions. That’s 46 – 41, in favor of the Celtics.

Now let’s consider the specialty shooting – foul shots and treys. Miami missed but one FT and made seven three-balls, for a gain of six points. The C’s six bombs minus four bricks gains only two points. Overall, that’s a four-point gain for the home team.

So, we’ve got Boston ahead by five in “Flow” and Miami ahead by four in “Striping” – pretty simple Math so far, right? (A real Math teacher would cuss my ass out for calling this Algebra!!!)

As for the point value of conversions – since we’re calculating performance at the foul and three-point lines separately … then a possession should be viewed as a chance to get a good old fashioned two points. (Is my logic going astray here?)

Ergo, that five-conversion advantage represents a spread of 10 points. Subtract the four Miami gains and the good guys win by six. Final score, 96 – 90.

Q. E. D. (Quite Easily Demonstrated)

A Little History

Actually, the Celtic approach to victory last night was the exact opposite of the normal Blueprint for Success during the Brad Stevens, Pace-and-Space Era. In 2016-17, Brad’s troops averaged 50.7 “Empty Possessions” per game.

In terms of “Flow” this placed them No. 20 in the league. On the other hand, their +7.5 points per game in “Striping” ranked second only to Houston and its bizarre style.

Last year’s guys finished third in 3PAr (the percentage of FGA’s that are 3FGA’s) at .393.

This year’s ranks 15th at .344 – maybe more efficient Offensive Rebounding accounts for some of that drop-off.

Basketball History teaches that 12 days and 6 games is a small sample size … we’ll see.

The Algebra of the Game

1st Quarter
FG: C’s – 9-21, .429 / Mia – 11-23, .478
3FG: C’s – 2-6, .333 / Mia – 4-7, .571
FT: C’s – 1-1, 1.000 [0] / Mia – 0-0, .000 [0]
TO: C’s – 3 / Mia – 5
OR: C’s – 2 + 0 (team) / Mia – 5 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 22 / Mia – 22
CV%: C’s – 9 / 22, .409 / Mia – 11 / 22, .500

2nd Quarter
FG: C’s – 9-22, .409 / Mia – 6-16, .375
3FG: C’s – 2-6, .333 / Mia – 0-5, .000
FT: C’s – 6-8, .750 [4] / Mia – 7-7, 1.000 [3]
TO: C’s – 3 / Mia – 6
OR: C’s – 3 + 1 (team) / Mia – 0 + 1 (team)
Poss: C’s – 25 / Mia – 24
CV%: C’s – 13 / 25, .520 / Mia – 9 / 24, .375

 Can a guy be too old to win MIP?
3rd Quarter
FG: C’s – 10-19, .526 / Mia – 7-19, .368
3FG: C’s – 1-3, .333 / Mia – 3-11, .273
FT: C’s – 6-7, .857 [3] / Mia – 1-2, .500 [1]
TO: C’s – 3 / Mia – 4
OR: C’s – 3 + 0 (team) / Mia – 0 + 2 (team)
Poss: C’s – 22 / Mia – 22
CV%: C’s – 13 / 22, .591 / Mia – 8 / 22, .364

4th Quarter
FG: C’s – 6-19, .316 / Mia – 10-21, .476
3FG: C’s – 1-8, .125 / Mia – 0-7, .000
FT: C’s – 9-10, .900 [5] / Mia – 7-7, 1.000 [3]
TO: C’s – 4 / Mia – 4
OR: C’s – 3 + 1 (team) / Mia – 1 + 2 (team)
Poss: C’s – 24 / Mia – 25
CV%: C’s – 11 / 24, .458 / Mia – 13 / 25, .520

Full Game
FG: C’s – 34-81, .420 / Mia – 34-79, .430
3FG: C’s – 6-23, .261 / Mia – 7-31, .226
FT: C’s – 22-26, .846 [12] / Mia – 15-16, .938 [7]
TO: C’s – 13 / Mia – 19
OR: C’s – 11 + 2 (team) / Mia – 6 + 6 (team)
Poss: C’s – 93 / Mia – 93
CV%: C’s – 46 / 93, .495 / Mia – 41 / 93, .441

Note re Calculations:
The number of “possessions” is an accurate count, not a formula-based estimated value.

For purposes of clarity, the bracketed digit following the FT% is the exact count of “conversions” represented by those FTA’s.

“Possessions” calculation: FGA’s + FT conversions + TO’s – OR’s (including Team OR’s)
“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions

In the third quarters of their last three games, Boston has shot 29-53 (.547) from the floor, 10-15 (.667) from deep, and 13-17 (.765) from foul line while converting just under 50 percent of their possessions – 34 out of 70.

What kind of hoodoo-voodoo’s getting’ laid down in that locker room at halftime? That third period on opening night against the LeBrons was border-line surreal, if you recall.

A young team like this is bound to stumble from time to time. But with the kind of depth Coach seems to want to nurture, the “down” stretches shouldn’t be too bad or too long.

Abacus Reveals
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