No Lead Safe During the 2012 Playoffs

A regulation NBA contest lasts 2,880 seconds and during the 2012 post season, teams have been utilizing every one.

Only one team has advanced to the conference finals, but the playoffs have already seen three epic comebacks, including the most prominent fourth quarter rally in league history during the first playoff weekend.

Through 56 playoff games, 18 have been decided by three points or less.

Even though the scoring is off to a sluggish start this post season, the second lowest of the past 10 years, offenses have been clicking in the fourth quarter.

Eleven times a team has scored 30 or more fourth quarter points this post season, with San Antonio and Miami, two of the most explosive offenses in the league, failing to accomplish the feat.

Oklahoma City has lost just once in eight tries this post season, sweeping the defending champion Mavericks and putting the Lakers on the brink of elimination.

While its run has been impressive, the Thunder has capitalized on three game-winning buckets from Kevin Durant and a one-man fourth quarter annihilation of Dallas from James Harden to sit just one victory away from a return trip to the Western Conference finals.

Kevin Durant has drained 10-of-23 attempts in game-tying or go-ahead situations this season.

During its four game set with the Lakers, three games have gone to the wire, as Oklahoma City twice staged fourth quarter rallies to claim victory and a free throw parade from Kobe Bryant enabled Los Angeles its lone win of the series.

No team has been more explosive than the Oklahoma City as it averages 25.5 points in the fourth quarter and has topped the 30 point mark in the period a league-high three times.

For all of the thrilling moments the Thunder have provided during the playoffs, its performance hasn’t been among the historic late game revivals some of the other teams have experienced.

The Clippers started the trend with a barrage of 3-pointers from Nick Young, three in less than 60 seconds, as they overcame a 27 point deficit to snatch away Game 1.

Los Angeles trailed by 24 points with 9:12 remaining but used a 28-3 run and survived a buzzer beating attempt from Rudy Gay to supplant Boston’s 21-point comeback against the Nets in the 2003 Eastern Conference finals as the NBA’s greatest.

Prior to the Paul Pierce inspired comeback, no team had ever comeback from a deficit of more than 18 in the fourth quarter.

During their second round match-up with Philadelphia, the Celtics squandered an 18 point lead in the third quarter, allowing the 76ers to tie the series 2-2.

After shooting just 25 percent over the first three quarters, the 76ers knocked down half of its attempts from the field and torched the second stingiest defense in the league for 33 points in the fourth.

Tony Parker and the Spurs overcame a 24 point deficit to win Game 3 against the Clippers.

San Antonio has outscored its opponents 820-710 in the post season and hasn’t needed a strong showing in the fourth quarter because they game is usually put away.

That didn’t stop the Clippers in Game 3.

Los Angeles scored early and often, taking a 40-16 lead in the second quarter and snapping a 16-game winning streak for the Spurs in the process.

Instead, San Antonio held the Clippers to just eight points in the third quarter, scored 24 consecutive points and overcame a 22 point deficit after the first quarter, the largest in league history.

Only three contests have gone into overtime and during the extra session, both the Clippers and Celtics were able to extend their advantage by four points or more prior to the final buzzer sounding.

More time hasn’t been necessary to make this post season intriguing.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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