By the numbers: Irving and Horford give each other an assist


Well before the season officially began, the Celtics' plan was to have Kyrie Irving and Al Horford become a lethal 1-2 punch.
Irving’s ability to drive and finish seemed an ideal complement to Horford’s knack for stretching defenses beyond the 3-point line with his long-range accuracy. 
So it’s not all that big a surprise that they've been effective playing off one another which can be seen in how they rank among the Eastern Conference leaders in scoring/assist combos. 

Their chemistry has come together quite nicely in little to no time. In fact, they've combined to assist on 116 of their made baskets this season. Irving has assisted on 62 of Horford’s made baskets, which ranks second in the Eastern Conference to Cleveland’s Kevin Love, who's had an assist on 88 of LeBron James’ made baskets this season. And Horford has often returned the favor, assisting on 54 of Irving's made baskets this season. That ranks fourth in the Eastern Conference. 
Here’s a few more “Take This for Data!” stats to chomp on leading into tonight’s game between Boston and Charlotte. 
We talk about rebounding and its importance, and sometimes it may come across as being overstated as to its value and impact on winning. But think about this for a minute: The Celtics have had 18 games this season when they won the battle on the boards. Their record? That would be 18-0. So yes, we talk a lot about rebounding and the reason is clear -- it matters maybe more than any other stat relative to the Celtics, when it comes to winning. 
Speaking of rebounding, let’s talk about Mr. Jayson Tatum, the precocious 19-year-old who is making all the one-and-done critics look pretty silly these days. He plays big minutes because he’s proven himself to be a pretty good defender. And while his offense is impressive, he has had some nights when shots just weren’t falling. He has had four games this season in which he shot less than 40 percent from the field. In the following game, he has shot a combined 59.9 percent (26-for-44).
Irving didn’t need a breakout season here in Boston to prove himself as one of the NBA’s better players. But he is delivering among some rarified air, particularly on the road. He’s averaging 26.2 points per game on the road while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from 3-point range. Irving is one of just four players in the NBA this season averaging at least 25 points per game while shooting at least 50 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3’s. 
Joining Irving on this ultra-exclusive list of players are Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, and his ex-teammate in Cleveland, LeBron James – all former league MVPs. 
From the under-the-radar file, we come up with this: Marcus Smart has scored in double figures each of Boston’s last six games. While it may not seem like that big a deal, consider this: he’s only had a streak like this once before (Feb. 5-15, 2017). He has been particularly effective from 3-point range, connecting on 43.8 percent of his 3’s (14-of-32).
For as long as Terry Rozier has been in the NBA, rebounding has been one of his strengths. Although he comes off the bench, the 6-foot-1 guard ranks sixth in the NBA among players 6-4 and under when it comes to rebounds per game (4.4). Making his rebounding success even more impressive is that despite ranking in the top six in rebounds per game, he’s just 34th in minutes played.


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