Friday, April 22, 2011

Stat of the Day: NBA Playoffs Game 3

Data from 1991-2010 Playoffs
The adjacent table shows series in which the higher seed won the series, and only lost one game in the series. What game is the inferior team most likely to win? According to the table, the series-losing team is most likely to win game 3. The losing team's lone victory came in Game 3 in almost 62% of those matchups. It makes sense--the losing team is down 2-0, so there is always that sense of desperation. It also makes sense that the first game is least likely to be the only upset--it's pretty tough to win four straight playoff games under any conditions, much less after losing the first game (presumably at home). Additionally, it is also the their first home game in the series. Most teams play better at home, and the home crowd is usually in a frenzy trying motivate the team. This occurs in the first home game much more than it would in the second. The fans usually have an unavoidable drop in enthusiasm between the first home game and the second home game. So far this Playoffs we've had three Game 3s that were 2-0: Indiana and Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami, and Dallas against Portland. In the two Eastern Conference cases, however, the home team lost Game Three anyways (Chicago and Miami are both up 3-0), though the TrailBlazers did beat Dallas on their home court in game three. The Knicks have a chance to break that trend with a home game tonight against the Celtics, as do the Nuggets with a victory over the Thunder.

There's A Stat For That

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