10 Numbers to Know for the Clippers vs. Rockets Series
The Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets made it to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, but their paths were very dissimilar.
The Clippers survived a down-to-the-wire, seven-game gauntlet against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. The Rockets, on the other hand, disposed of the Dallas Mavericks in just five games.
Will the rest factor matter, or will the Clippers be able to prevail?
It's a complex question, and there's no one answer. But here are 10 important numbers to know about the matchup.
Houston's Free Throw Rate: 31.2%
I probably don't need to stress that James Harden shoots a lot of free throws (he made 715 this season and attempted 824). Still, the Rockets shot a lot of free throws this year, and when bench play isn't a strength (as is the case for the Clippers), this could prove vital.
In the regular season, the Clippers fouled more than all but six teams in the NBA. Harden will put pressure on the Clippers' defense in many ways, but the threat of foul trouble might help sway the series.
Los Angeles' Offensive Rating: 112.4
Houston's Defensive Rating: 103.4
Shooting a lot of threes and playing at a high pace sure sounds like things that bad defensive teams do, but in terms of Defensive Rating, the Rockets are not a bad defensive team. Their Defensive Rating of 103.4 ranked eighth in the NBA this year. Much of that (2,738 minutes) was without Dwight Howard.
With Dwight on the floor this regular season, the Rockets posted a Defensive Rating of 100.2. Without him, the mark was 104.9, meaning Howard made the Rockets about five points better per 100 possessions. Factoring their Offensive Rating with Howard (108.7) compared to without him (106.4), the Rockets were 7.0 points better per 100 possessions.
Los Angeles' Turnover Rate: 11.6%
Still, stopping the Clippers won't be easy. To make matters worse, the Clippers hold onto the ball. They turned over the ball on just 11.6 percent of possessions, second-best in the NBA in the regular season.
Their turnover rate against the Spurs in round one? 11.5 percent. The Rockets can cause some turnovers, however. The did it on 14.6 percent of possessions in the regular season (fifth best in the NBA).
Houston's Turnover Rate: 15.0%
Houston, on the other hand, turned the ball over a lot during the regular season. The team's turnover percentage (15.0) ranked 28th in the NBA.
Los Angeles was pedestrian when it came to turning over opponents (13.2 percent) in the regular season, but the turnover battle could wind up deciding a game or two, and that might favor the Clippers if Paul continues his low-turnover ways.
Los Angeles's Defensive Rebounding: 75.7%
In the regular season, the Clippers ranked ninth in defensive rebounding percentage. The Rockets didn't fare so well. Their defensive rebounding percentage (72.9 percent) ranked 28th in the NBA.
Again, Dwight wasn't on the floor for north of 2,700 minutes this year. Their defensive rebounding rate with him on the floor shot up from 72.0 percent without him to 75.2 percent with him.
Houston's 3-Point Attempt Rate: 39.2%
Houston shoots a lot of threes. Nearly 40 percent of their field goal attempts in the regular season came from behind the arc.
They don't just chuck it from anywhere, though. During the regular season, 32.7 percent of their three-point attempts came from the corner, the top mark in the NBA (and just one of three higher than 30.0 percent).
Houston shot 34.8 percent from behind the arc in the regular season, which ranked 14th. The Clippers actually finished third in the league in percentage (37.6 percent) and rate (32.2 percent)
Los Angeles's Mid-Range Rate: 21.6%
Both teams shot a significant portion of their field goals from beyond the arc, but they are far from identical in their offense.
In the regular season, 21.7 percent of the Clippers' shots were attempted between 16 feet and the three point line, an area deplored by the Rockets. The Clippers' mid-range rate ranked seventh-highest in the regular season. The Rockets attempted just 6.8 percent of their shots from this range, easily the lowest in the NBA (the 76ers' 11.4 percent ranked 29th).
Don't get me wrong -- they're great at doing it. Their 43.4 percent from this range ranked second in the league, but just expect two very different offensive approaches in the series.
Houston's Possessions per 48: 96.5
Houston plays at one of the fastest paces in the league. Their 96.5 possessions per game ranked just behind the Warriors (98.3) in the regular season. The Clippers (94.7) ranked 10th.
No matter where the shots are coming from or who grabs the rebounds, possessions are going to be available for both teams.
Los Angeles's Win Probability: 64.04%
Our aglorithms ranked the Clippers as the second best team in the NBA this year, so it's no surprise that they favor the Clippers over the Rockets, who ranked eighth in the NBA.
The Clippers are the only team that our numbers give more than a 8.7 percent chance to win aside from the Warriors (49.4 percent). Los Angeles currently has a 16.9 percent chance to win the Finals.