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Boston’s Bench Boost

Posted by Neil Paine on June 11, 2010

Led by Glen Davis (18 pts, 5 reb) and a superb relief performance by the bench in general, the Celtics scrapped their way to a 96-89 win in Game 4 of the Finals, drawing the championship series even at 2 games apiece. Just how good were the Boston reserve corps last night? Since 1991, here are the teams that received the biggest Win Share boosts from non-starters in a Finals game:

Date Team Opponent BenchWS
6/7/1998 CHI UTA 0.73
6/16/2000 IND LAL 0.64
6/17/2008 BOS LAL 0.59
6/16/2005 DET SAS 0.53
6/10/2007 SAS CLE 0.53
6/10/2008 LAL BOS 0.45
6/11/2000 IND LAL 0.42
6/13/2003 SAS NJN 0.42
6/11/2006 DAL MIA 0.40
6/15/2003 SAS NJN 0.40
6/9/1995 HOU ORL 0.39
6/7/2007 CLE SAS 0.38
6/7/2000 LAL IND 0.37
6/13/2001 LAL PHI 0.36
6/23/2005 SAS DET 0.36
6/10/2004 DET LAL 0.35
6/14/2007 CLE SAS 0.35
6/10/2010 BOS LAL 0.34
6/8/2010 LAL BOS 0.33
6/8/2008 BOS LAL 0.31

And how about Davis' individual performance? Here are the most WS in a Finals game by a bench player since 1991:

Date Player Team Opp Min Poss PProd ORtg %Pos DRtg OWS DWS WS
6/7/2007 Daniel Gibson CLE SAS 27.8 8.3 15.4 185.6 18.3 97.6 0.29 0.05 0.34
6/7/1998 Scott Burrell CHI UTA 25.0 4.0 6.9 173.7 8.3 49.7 0.16 0.15 0.32
6/16/2005 Lindsey Hunter DET SAS 22.0 9.5 15.4 162.6 24.1 83.5 0.24 0.07 0.31
6/9/1995 Sam Cassell HOU ORL 30.0 16.1 26.7 165.6 27.8 113.4 0.25 0.05 0.30
6/14/2007 Manu Ginobili SAS CLE 33.4 20.4 25.0 122.1 34.5 96.6 0.26 0.04 0.29
6/10/2008 Sasha Vujacic LAL BOS 27.6 8.5 14.2 167.3 17.1 94.8 0.25 0.04 0.28
6/10/2007 Manu Ginobili SAS CLE 28.1 15.3 21.4 139.9 30.0 92.6 0.18 0.09 0.27
6/23/2005 Robert Horry SAS DET 32.0 9.3 14.0 150.5 18.1 96.1 0.22 0.05 0.27
6/10/2001 Robert Horry LAL PHI 24.0 6.9 13.3 191.7 15.6 98.2 0.22 0.05 0.27
6/7/2009 Lamar Odom LAL ORL 45.7 11.4 17.0 149.3 13.6 98.5 0.20 0.06 0.26
6/10/2010 Glen Davis BOS LAL 22.5 9.3 15.9 170.7 23.4 103.3 0.22 0.04 0.26
6/15/2006 James Posey MIA DAL 26.4 10.1 13.2 130.9 20.1 75.3 0.16 0.10 0.26
6/16/2000 Austin Croshere IND LAL 25.0 10.3 15.3 148.1 21.4 84.3 0.14 0.11 0.25
6/13/2006 Erick Dampier DAL MIA 29.4 10.0 14.5 145.9 17.4 95.1 0.16 0.06 0.22
6/16/1999 Kurt Thomas NYK SAS 31.0 11.3 14.1 124.8 19.8 88.6 0.17 0.05 0.22
6/11/2000 Travis Best IND LAL 21.0 7.9 12.9 164.5 20.1 97.6 0.17 0.05 0.22
6/8/2004 Luke Walton LAL DET 27.0 4.2 9.3 223.2 9.1 101.3 0.17 0.04 0.21
6/5/1996 Toni Kukoc CHI SEA 27.0 11.6 17.6 151.6 24.5 113.2 0.16 0.04 0.20
6/11/2000 Derek Fisher LAL IND 27.0 7.3 13.9 190.3 14.5 121.2 0.22 -0.02 0.20
6/6/1997 Greg Foster UTA CHI 24.0 10.4 15.7 150.6 23.8 105.6 0.16 0.04 0.20

Simply put, without the outstanding play of their reserves, the Celtics would probably be looking down the barrel of a 3-1 deficit (which would carry less than a 10% probability of winning the series). But with the series 2-2, Boston now has about a 45% chance of winning the series (assuming they are evenly-matched with the Lakers). For that reason, it's hard to overstate how important it was for Boston to win last night, and it was Davis & the bench that keyed them to the victory.

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6 Responses to “Boston’s Bench Boost”

  1. Jason J Says:

    That Bulls / Jazz game up at the top is misleading. Those were not valuable contributions. That was the worst playoff blowout I've seen. MJ, Dennis, and especially Scottie (who would pull his back out in the next game) put a defensive hex on the Jazz in the first quarter, and that was the end of it. Burrell and the Bulls whitewash bench players looked like they were playing against practice cones.

  2. Bradley Campbell Says:

    I think this argument has to be revisited for a few "WinShare Boosts" cases. Four of the top 5 were blowouts. I'd expect a higher contribution from the bench as their minutes are increased.

  3. Mike G Says:

    In that 96-54 blowout by the Bulls over the Jazz, reserves scored just 30 of the 96, and somehow registerd .73 Win Shares?
    How many WS does the Bulls' whole team get in one game?

    In Game 4 this year, Boston subs scored 36 of 96, and in fewer total minutes.

  4. Neil Paine Says:

    The Bulls' whole team had something like 2.2 WS for the entire game -- which seemingly makes no sense, except for the fact that the Jazz had the negative of that, so it still added up to zero for the game... It's tough to put into words just how horrifyingly bad the Jazz were in that game.

  5. Ghosts of Ehlo Says:

    Love to see a list of the worst performances by a team in the finals. Hate to see that beloved Jazz team at the top.

    Is there a way to weight these bench performances to give more credit for the competitive games? What stood out about Boston's bench on Friday was that they took, extended and held a fourth quarter lead against LA's starters.

  6. Ghosts of Ehlo Says:

    *thursday