Playoffs by the numbers


Some important factors to consider in the NBA's first-round playoff matchups:

Suns (53-29) vs. Spurs (47-35) Head to head: Suns 3, Spurs 1

Playoff history: first meeting

Dishing the rock: Suns guard Kevin Johnson ranked second in the NBA in assists, averaging 10.7.

Missing in action: Center David Robinson, after thumb surgery, is out for at least the first round, after which his Spurs are expected to be using their thumbs, too -- to hitch-hike home.

Warriors (55-27) vs. SuperSonics (47-35) Head to head: Warriors 3, SuperSonics 2

Playoff history: Warriors lead, 1-0

Sharpshooters: The Warriors shot .507 from the field this season.

Long ranger: Seattle guard Dana Barros led the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage (.446).

Jazz (55-27) vs. Clippers (45-37) Head to head: Jazz 3, Clippers 1

Playoff history: first meeting

Somebody will score 102. . . .: Each team allowed opponents an average of 101.9 points.

. . . . or shoot 46 percent: Each team's opponents shot .459 from the field for the season.

Give and take: Jazz guard John Stockton led the league in assists (13.7) and steals (2.98).

Trail Blazers (57-25) vs. Lakers (43-39) Head to head: Trail Blazers 4, Lakers 1

Playoff history: Lakers lead, 4-1

Scoring Threatt?: At 15.1, Lakers guard Sedale Threatt had the lowest average for a playoff team's scoring leader.

Buck shot: Portland forward Buck Williams was the NBA's leader in field-goal percentage (.604).

Knicks (51-31) vs. Pistons (48-34) Head to head: Knicks 2, Pistons 2

Playoff history: Tied, 1-1

Putting a lid on the basket: The Pistons allowed 96.9 points per game, the Knicks 97.7, lowest among playoff teams.

Chairman of the boards: Detroit forward Dennis Rodman won the league rebounding title with an 18.7 average, more than three per game higher than runner-up Kevin Willis of the Hawks.

Don't shoot me, I'm only the power forward: Knicks forward Charles Oakley averaged just under five field-goal attempts per game.

Cavaliers (57-25) vs. Nets (40-42) Head to head: Cavaliers 2, Nets 2

Playoff history: first meeting

Take them, they're free: The Nets' .732 free-throw percentage ranks last among playoff teams.

Follow your shot: New Jersey leads playoff teams with 18.4 offensive rebounds per game. Cleveland's 12.7 average is No. 16 among the 16.

Don't foul him: Cavaliers guard Mark Price was the NBA's top free-throw shooter at .947.

Not Petro-fied to shoot: Nets guard Drazen Petrovic was the team leader in scoring (20.6), field-goal percentage (.508), free-throw percentage (.808) and three-point percentage (.444).

Celtics (51-31) vs. Pacers (40-42) Head to head: Celtics 2, Pacers 2

Playoff history: Celtics lead, 1-0

Let 'em fly: The Pacers' 4.1 three-pointers per game leads playoff teams.

Share and share alike: Indiana also leads playoff teams with 29.2 assists per game.

Iron Chief: Though forward Larry Bird's back ailments limited him to 45 games for Boston, center Robert Parish, 38, played in 79.

Bulls (67-15) vs. Heat (38-44) Head to head: Bulls 4, Heat 0

Playoff history: first meeting

Double figures: The Bulls averaged 10.4 more points than they allowed.

Doesn't figure: The Heat averaged 4.2 fewer points than they allowed.

Bulls' eye: Chicago shot 50.8 percent from the field, No. 1 in the NBA.

You can't touch this: Opponents averaged 4.3 blocks against the Bulls, lowest among playoff teams.

It's like stealing: In addition to leading the league in scoring (30.1), Bulls guard Michael Jordan ranked sixth in steals (2.28).

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