As a follow up to this post, I’ve compiled the numbers from 82games clutch statistics in the postseason. They define “clutch” as the last five minutes of a 5-point game or closer. Unfortunately, the samples are much smaller and they don’t include 2010 playoff figures. The ten most notable players from that period:
Again, LeBron James comes out looking like Kal-El from Krypton. He and Carmelo Anthony are the only players to increase their shooting percentages down the stretch of close playoff games. Apparently, it’s impossible to shoot well in the playoffs. So much so that Kobe Bryant’s drop in eFG% of 5.6% over these six years is actually better than most of contemporaries.
LeBron somehow also ups his assists, which means from this group, only Steve Nash is setting the table as much at then end of close games. Nash bodes quite well, with per 36 minute averages of 22 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds with an eFG% of 47% (second only to James). No surprises coming from perhaps the two best offensive players of the decade.
Garnett vs. Duncan
It’s worth revisiting how the two best “power forwards” of the era did here, since KG is so often criticized for shrinking down the stretch of games. In the regular season study, Garnett held his own again Timmy. Here, Duncan has a clear advantage:
Give Duncan some credit, although nothing overly spectacular. In Minnesota in 2004, Garnett averaged about 22 points per 36 minutes on 44% eFG% in these situations. He darn near disappeared in 2008 in Boston. In both cases, the rebounding and passing suffered. Garnett did shoot 80% from the line to Duncan’s 61% , but that’s about his only advantage. Although an extremely small sample — just 74 minutes — it’s a modicum of evidence supporting KG as a choker and validating Duncan’s endgame over Garnett’s.
EDIT: Thanks to drza’s contributions, it should be noted that if we include 2003, Garnett’s per36 numbers change to: 22.7 points 8.1 rebounds 0.9 assists 1.7 turnovers 55.7 TS% 48.6 eFG% in 84 minutes.