MORRISVILLE, N.C. – Hockey fans certainly know the value of plus/minus statistics in measuring a player’s performance. PC maker Lenovo’s recently created “Lenovo Stat” is trying to do the same thing for the NBA.

The stat tracks on-court combinations in each game and calculates their effectiveness. It’s similar to the “three stars” in the NHL but is based on cold-hearted analysis of data, not sports reporters’ whims. And the stat calculates far more than plus/minus which is based on goals scored and allowed per player shift.

However, as the NBA playoffs unfold the action on the court is showing stats don’t tell the entire story of a team – or individuals – when it comes to game performance. Stats can lie, just as the mountains of data in baseball can’t predict a player’s performance in the clutch. (Ask Yankee fans about Alex Rodriguez.)

The Celtics’ starting five, for example, top the Lenovo Stat for the regular season. Boston posted the best record in the league behind the troika of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. But the Celtics are tied up in a first-round battle with the Atlanta Hawks, who had the worst record of any team to make the playoffs. A rout Thursday night did give Boston a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.

The Golden State Warriors are a prime example of the Lenovo Stat limitation. They didn’t make the playoffs but had the fourth best stat ranking for its starting five, according to Morrisville-based Lenovo, which also provides computers and other services to the NBA.

The Phoenix Suns, meanwhile, ranked seventh but have already been destroyed in the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs. Interestingly, the Suns’ top combo included Shawn Marion, who was traded late in the season to Miami as part of the Shaquille O’Neal trade. And any Sun combo with O’Neal didn’t crack the stat’s top 10.

So is the stat further proof the O’Neal was a bad one?

By the way, no Spurs combo cracked the stat’s top 10. It’s hard to believe that any combination including the Spurs’ Tim Duncan didn’t crack the top 10.

The Los Angeles Lakers put three five-man combinations at the top of the stat. And why not, with Kobe Bryant leading the way.

The stat also reflects the power of New Orleans in the Western Conference playoffs. The Lenovo Stat ranked the Hornets second with Chris Paul leading the way. Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. Just ask perennial All-Star Jason Kidd whom Paul embarrassed as the Hornets blew Kidd’s Mavericks out of the playoffs.

The top 10 combos and their stat total:

1. Boston (Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Perkins, Rondo), 396
2. New Orleans (Stojakovic, Peterson, Chandler, West, Paul), 256
3. Detroit (McDyess, Wallace, Prince, Hamilton, Billups), 240
4. Golden State (Jackson, Harrington, Biedrins, Ellis, Davs), 152
5. Phoenix (Hill, Stoudemire, Marion, Bell, Nash)
6. Los Angeles Lakers (Bryant, Odom, Walton, Bynum, Fisher), 106
7. Toronto (Bosh, Moon, Parker, Bargnani, Calderon), 105
8. Lakers (Bryant, Odom, Gasol, Radmanovic, Fisher), 101
9. Orlando (Howard, Lewis, Turkoglu, Nelson, Evans), 97
10. Lakers (Bryant, Odom, Gasol, Walton, Fisher), 83

For more about the Lenovo Stat, check out