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The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will square off in Boston Saturday in Game Seven of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. This will be the seventh Game Seven the Celtics have played in the last eight years. This will be Philadelphia’s first Game Seven since the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks to advance to the NBA Finals. The 76ers did play a decisive Game Five in 2002 in a five-game first-round series against the Celtics. The Celtics won that contest.
Here’s a look at the last 21 Game Sevens (since 2005) and a handful of statistics that may determine who wins Saturday’s game.
1. Points: In the past 21 Game Sevens, the winning team has averaged 98.5 ppg while the losing team has averaged only 82.9 Teams that have scored 100 or more points have won eight and lost two. Teams that score 90 or more points are 15-7; teams that score 80 or more points are 20-11. The winning team has given up 90 or more points in only seven of the 21 Game Sevens.
2. Point Differential: None of the last 21 Game Seven have been decided by three or fewer points. Eight of the games were decided by four to nine points. Teams won by 10 or more points in seven of the games; teams won by 20 or more points in six of the Game Sevens.
3. Home Team: The home team won 14 of the last 21 Game Sevens, including seven of the last eight. The last away team to win a Game Seven: This year when the Clippers defeated Memphis in the first round of the playoffs.
4. Game Six: There doesn’t seem to be an advantage for the team that wins Game Six. The team that won Game Six only won eight of the last 21 Game Sevens.
5. Leads at the end of the quarter: The team that leads at the end of the first quarter won 18 of the 21 games. The team leading at halftime won 19 of 21. The team leading going into the fourth quarter won 17 of 20 (there was one tie at the end of the third quarter).
6. 20-Point Scorers: The team that won Game Seven had at least one player score 20 or more points in 20 of the 21 games. The losing team had a 20-point scorer in 14 of the 21 games. The Game Seven winning team had two 20-point scorers in 10 of the 21 games; the losing team had a pair of 20-point scorers in five games.
7. Turnovers: Committing fewer turnovers was not a significant stat in the last 21 Game Sevens. The winning team had fewer turnovers in only nine of the 21 games.
8. Shooting Percentage: The winning team had a higher field goal percentage in 16 of 20 games (in one game both teams had the same percentage). In 19 of the 21 games, the winning team made a higher percentage of three-point shots made than their opponents.
9. Rebounds: The Game Seven winning team had more rebounds than the losing team in 15 of 19 contests (in two games the teams had the same number of rebounds).
10. Game Seven Appearances: The Boston Celtics have played in six of the last 21 Game Sevens, tops in that category. The Celtics are 3-3 in those games. The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have each played in four Game Sevens since 2005. The Lakers won three of those four games; the Rockets lost all four of their Game Sevens since ’05. Detroit, San Antonio and Atlanta have each played in three Game Sevens since 2005.
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