Ugly was in the air tonight. From the gushing wound on Shane Battier's forehead, to endless three-point brickage by the Lakers, to the commercials for Domino's terrifying bread bowl pastas, there was plenty to displease the eye and roil the digestive tract. The tempo-free numbers, I'm here to inform you, are no exception. Take a look after the jump, if you think your stomach is up to the challenge. I disclaim all responsibility for any resulting nausea, vomiting or internal bleeding.
Each team had the ball for 95 possessions tonight, a figure that almost exactly splits the difference between the Lakers' and Rockets' regular-season averages. I was surprised not to have come up with a pace in the 80s, as watching in realtime the game certainly felt like a slow, sludgy affair. Admittedly, the count is inflated by the end of the 4th quarter, when the Lakers were trying to foul their way to a comeback.
The per-possession numbers for each team:
- Turnover rate: Lakers - 14%, Rockets - 19%.
- FTA/FGA: Lakers - 0.22, Rockets - 0.40 (ouch).
- Effective field goal percentage: Lakers - 45%, Rockets - 51%.
- True shooting percentage: Lakers - 48% (oy), Rockets - 58%.
- Offensive rebounding rate: Lakers - 28%, Rockets - 24%.
- Defensive rebounding rate: Lakers - 76%, Rockets - 72%.
- Points per possession: Lakers - 0.97 (grrr), Rockets - 1.05.
A main cause of our misery lurks in the true shooting numbers above. The Rockets posted a nice 58% true shooting figure on the strength of a 25-for-29 performance from the line. Powered by 16 missed threes and 12-of-19 free throw shooting, the Lakers punished the rims to the tune of 48% true shooting, a figure that if sustained over the regular season would land you four percentage points behind the league-worst Clippers.
Rye will be here in the morning with a full Game One damage assessment. In the meantime, a tip o' my cap to Yao for getting back into action after an apparently painful knee injury. Paul Pierce is incredulous that you did so without the help of a magical wheelchair.