Breakdown: Boston's bench costs them Game 2
In an attempt to find a scapegoat for the Celtics devastating home loss last night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference championship series, a lot of people are pointing the finger at Rajon Rondo. That is wrong. Rondo was actually excellent. By my calculations, he slightly outplayed his counterpart, Chauncey Billups. In fact, using the Win Contribution metric, the entire Celtic starting five thoroughly whipped the Piston starting five. It was the Celtic bench that gave the game back to the visitors.
By WC tally, had the game been a 5-on-5 contest at the Y, the Celtics would have won easily. Their starting five had a combined Win Contribution of +3.233 (led by Kevin Garnett's +1.333, Rajon Rondo's +0.923, and Ray Allen's +0.800) to the Pistons starting fives' Win Contribution of +1.837 (led by Chauncey Billups +0.787, and dragged down by Tayshaun Prince's -0.330).
But as I stated earlier in the season when I assessed the strength of each NBA team's bench production, it is the collective job of the starters to build a Win Contribution advantage... the bench's job is to do as little as possible to erode that advantage away. Last night, the Celtics bench produced an avalanche of erosion.
In 33 minutes of action, or nearly 14% of the Celtics player minutes in last nights game, the Fantastically Bad Four of James Posey, Eddie House, Glen Davis, and Tony Allen combined to produce 4 points, 8 missed field goals, 3 missed free throws, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 1 turnover, and 5 fouls. Thank goodness for the fouls and missed shots or we may have no record at all that any of them participated in the game.
When adjusted to account for position, then, the four combined to produce a staggeringly negative Win Contribution of -2.783. The entire Celtics bench accounted for a negative Win Contribution of -2.679 (PJ Brown and Leon Powe made positive contributions).
The Pistons bench, on the other hand, combined to produce a negative Win Contribution of only -0.335, which, when combined with the poor work done by the Celtics bench, completely made up the "stagger" and then some. The Pistons overall Win Contribution, then, was around +1.304, while the Celtics was approximately +0.594. And the Pistons took Game 2 on the Celtics home court.