Myths about Game 7 - offensive rebounding

I'm kinda sick of many of the 'analyst' sound-bites about Game 7.

One that really bites me is the whole "The Celtics lost because they got out-rebounded on the offensive boards!"

Well, we did lose.  But it wasn't because of the Lakers grabbing offensive rebounds.

Details after the jump.

LA players grabbed 23 offensive rebounds.   Together with Team Rebounds they grabbed 27 rebounds off offensive misses.  That sounds terrible, doesn't it?

It sounds even worse if you compare it to the number of offensive rebounds that the Celtic's grabbed - only 8 off our offensive misses.

But of course, that's a silly comparison because those are off totally different sets of misses.  We missed fewer shots - naturally we created fewer rebound chances on our end.

Still, 27 second-chances .... that sounds like that must be how LA got back into the game, right?


First off, a huge chunk of LAs offensive rebounds came in the first period.  They had 11 spread across just 6 possessions (due to multiple misses) and those resulted in just .... 5 pts.  By the end of this, they trailed by 9.

LA had 5 more in the 2nd period across 5 possessions resulting in ... 4 pts.   By the end of the 2nd, at which point LA had grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, they were by then trailing by 12 pts.

After the break, they were more efficient - they put 3 of 4 ORBs back in the hoop in the 3rd and that finally did help them get back in the game.  Though just plain more accurate shooting had more to do with it.

But in the critical 4th period, LA had 6 Offensive Rebounds across 4 possessions and netted ... 2 pts.

Overall, those 27 second chances were spread across 20 of LA's 83 possessions.  They netted 17 points off those 20 possessions.  That's actually a worse efficiency (.85) than LA realized overall (1.00).

So in the end, offensive rebounds are simply not a strong indicator of anything other than .... missed shots.

LA finally took control of the game, not through rebounding, but through offensive efficiency - in the 4th period they scored on most of their possessions, though a large number of those were converted through free throws.  By converting their possessions, whether through FGs or Free Throws, they prevented the Celtics from running their preferred transition offense.  They did a good job of covering the switch on the pick & roll, preventing Pierce from getting the favorable matchups he had exploited earlier in the series.

Meanwhile, the Celtics bigs looked gassed by the end.  Clearly not having Perkins in the rotation killed.  Sheed had not played over 30 minutes in ... what?  Forever?  And now he had to play over 35!  KG also looked gassed.

I don't know whether the swarm of foul calls were fair or not.  I do know that generally tired defenders tend to commit fouls. 

While I'm posting, I just have to marvel at Kobe's good fortune.

He shot 6 for 24.   If Fisher's wild lob doesn't go in to tie the game.  And Artest doesn't hit his unlikely 3 pointer to extend the lead.  And Vujacic doesn't hit those two free throws to ice it. ... Kobe goes home a goat.  Instead because of his teammates freakishly finally coming through for him - he gets an MVP trophy.

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