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Working overtime
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics achieved the impossible. They were able to put away an opponent in only 48 minutes.

If you don't know how big of a deal that is, you haven't been watching the Celtics recently.

Friday night, the C's played a double-overtime thriller against the Atlanta Hawks (they lost, 123-111). Just two days later, the Celtics traveled back to Boston for yet another double-overtime game against the defending champion Miami Heat (this time they won, 100-98).

That's 164 minutes of basketball in a span of three games. The Celtics must be running on fumes right now.

This last week has probably been the craziest, but really, the Celtics have been doing this all season. Eight of Boston's 45 games in 2012-13 have featured at least one period of bonus basketball.

And that doesn't even lead the league!

The Dallas Mavericks have experienced a whopping nine overtime games this season, including five since Christmas.

Overall, these two teams have been involved in over 30 percent of the NBA's overtime clashes in 2012-13. Of course, the one time Boston and Dallas faced each other this season it required two overtimes (the Celtics won by a slim margin, 117-115).

Surely, there must be something fantasy-related that we can take away from all of this.

And indeed there is. Check out how the star players from these two teams have performed in overtime games this season:

Overtime games

Kevin Garnett: 19.2 ppg, 38.2 mpg

O.J. Mayo: 20.3 ppg, 42.7 mpg

Paul Pierce: 22.0 ppg, 41.8 mpg

Now, compare those stats to their season averages in points and minutes:

Season averages

Garnett: 14.9 ppg, 30.4 mpg

Mayo: 17.8 ppg, 35.8 mpg

Pierce: 18.7 ppg, 33.8 mpg

Five minutes probably doesn't seem like much, but in the fantasy world, that extra time can really make a huge difference. Especially when you reach overtime roughly once every five games like the C's and Mavs have this season.

Take a look at how these three have fared in games that didn't go into overtime in 2012-13:

Garnett: 14.0 ppg, 28.7 mpg

Mayo: 17.1 ppg, 34.1 mpg

Pierce: 17.9 ppg, 32.1 mpg

Garnett's ppg average has risen almost a full point thanks to the eight overtime games he's appeared in while Pierce (0.8 ppg increase) and Mayo (0.7) have also benefited from their teams' inability to get the job done in regulation.

It's a pretty simple concept and it applies to all fantasy sports including football, hockey and even baseball with extra innings. The more time you're out on the field (or in this case, the court), the more time you'll have to rack up fantasy stats.

The problem here is that there's nothing that makes the Mavericks and Celtics more overtime-prone than anybody else. There's no stat we can pinpoint to figure out why 20 percent of the Mavericks' games end in overtime while only 2.4 percent of the Minnesota Timberwolves' games end in that same fashion.

It's all chance. And it's not a phenomenon we can expect to happen with any great frequency. Only 53 of the 680 NBA games played this season have gone past regulation (7.8 percent).

If anything, it shows that Garnett, Mayo and Pierce are actually a tad overrated.

This isn't Buffalo Wild Wings where we can just flip a switch and the game goes into overtime. Individual players can't control how long the game will last on a given night. You can't "earn" overtime.

So basically, Garnett, Mayo and Pierce aren't as good as you thought they were.

Unless ... we consider the hangover effect.

Five minutes of overtime isn't like playing five minutes in the first or second quarter. It's mentally frustrating, it's high intensity and mostly it's just flat-out exhausting.

That's why players don't always post their usual numbers the night after an overtime game. Garnett, Mayo and Pierce all prove my point:

Games following an overtime game

Garnett: 16.2 ppg, 30.3 mpg

Mayo: 16.6 ppg, 34.4 mpg

Pierce: 15.0 ppg, 37.0 mpg

So in a sense, overtime can actually be a double-edged sword. One night you're awesome, the next you're still tired and can barely get around the court.

Over a full season, overtime tends not to matter much but if your fantasy team has enough depth, you can use it as a guideline for creating your daily lineup.

As a rule of thumb, I'd always go with a set of fresh legs over a guy who just played in an overtime game.

With all the overtimes Dallas has played this season, you'd think they'd be good at it by now. Not so much. They're just 1-8 when the game goes longer than 48 minutes.

The Celtics are a slightly more respectable 4-4.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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