Best duos in Boston Celtics history

Written by:
May 4, 2022
Brocreative // Shutterstock

Best duos in Boston Celtics history

NBA teams may put five players on the court, but oftentimes the magic really happens when two of them combine their superpowers to drive home victory upon victory. Game in and game out, they’re like Batman and Robin or Han Solo and Chewbacca, a pair that scores big, defends hard, and makes fans cheer.

Throughout NBA history, we’ve had a basic understanding of how good players are by looking at their basic actions to see how much they contribute to the final score. From scoring baskets, throwing the perfect alley-oop, or blocking out the opponent to grab a rebound, we can make some determinations about excellence. However, the rise of analytics in sports has introduced a whole new level of stat-gathering, which gives a better understanding for just how phenomenally some basketball players work together.

Stacker compiled a list of the best duos in Boston Celtics history using data from Stathead. Along with basic statistics like points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game (that's PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, and BPG), statisticians now also track more advanced measures that allow for more accurate data-based ranking.

Box Plus/Minus (BPM) -- which was used to make the list below -- measures a player’s effectiveness when he’s on the court. A positive score indicates the number of points by which his team outperformed the opponent. A negative number shows how much better the opposing team did while he was playing. While useful, BPM is only available for seasons from 1974 on, hence the lack of more recent seasons on this list.

Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) looks at how much value a player adds to the team versus someone coming off the bench.

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) looks at a number of mostly offensive actions, both positive and negative, that a player does when he’s on the court to measure how good they are on a minute-by-minute basis. The average score across the NBA is 15.00, which allows for year-over-year comparisons.

Win Shares (WS) looks at a player’s actions during an entire game to determine how much he contributed to a team's win.

Read on to see how well the data-driven duos meet your expectations.

#5. 1987-88 Boston Celtics
- Larry Bird: 8.8 BPM (#2 player in 1987-88)
- Kevin McHale: 3.5 BPM (#15 player in 1987-88)
- Total: 12.3 BPM (#2 duo in 1987-88)

#4. 2018-19 Boston Celtics
- Kyrie Irving: 7.2 BPM (#6 player in 2018-19)
- Al Horford: 5.1 BPM (#15 player in 2018-19)
- Total: 12.3 BPM (#4 duo in 2018-19)

#3. 2007-08 Boston Celtics
- Kevin Garnett: 8.2 BPM (#4 player in 2007-08)
- Paul Pierce: 4.8 BPM (#11 player in 2007-08)
- Total: 13 BPM (#2 duo in 2007-08)

#2. 1985-86 Boston Celtics
- Larry Bird: 8.7 BPM (#1 player in 1985-86)
- Kevin McHale: 4.4 BPM (#10 player in 1985-86)
- Total: 13.1 BPM (#1 duo in 1985-86)

#1. 1986-87 Boston Celtics
- Larry Bird: 9.4 BPM (#2 player in 1986-87)
- Kevin McHale: 5.1 BPM (#10 player in 1986-87)
- Total: 14.5 BPM (#1 duo in 1986-87)

Trending Now