Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NBA Playoffs 1st Round Comparison

Most people I've talked to feel like they've watched an entire NBA Playoffs series after seeing the first round of this year's playoffs.  It's been amazing basketball.  I've said before, we are watching players whose numbers resemble that of other "golden eras" of the NBA.  

The first round for the most part over the past few years has meant a few games in overtime each year.  As far as this tournament goes, the first round isn't necessarily the most competitive because of the match-ups.  Teams are "seeded" based on regular season performance in each conference and in general teams that are "seeded" further apart will not have as competitive a match up in the first round, thus the advantage to perform well in the regular season to get the 1 seed.  The western conference has had some amazing games in the first round.  Several of the games have gone into overtime.  In fact, more than the last several years combined.  

Below is a simple network of playoff games that have gone into overtime 2010-2013.  Each line indicates a series that was played and each arrow is a game.  Blue=Western, Red=Eastern, and the width of the line is the margin of victory (gotta looks closely) and the arrow points to the visitor away from the home team.  

NBA Playoffs 1st Round 2010-2013

The margin of victory for instance in the Bulls-Nets game last year was 8 points (also 3OT).  For all these games, the average margin of victory was 6 points.  Most of these games you will notice are Eastern conference teams.

NBA Playoffs 1st Round 2014

2014 has been a different story.  In just the Memphis-Thunder match up we've seen 4 games go into overtime (it's been a grind).  These two teams were very competitive and did not demonstrate in general, the match up expectations we have based on "seeding".  The average margin of victory for all these games was 3 points.  The west has been very competitive in the first round.  There have been more first round match ups that have gone into overtime than the past 4 years combined and then the margin of victory has on average been half of what the margin was 2010-2013.

Stamina.  The players for the teams that have advanced are going to need it and most of the people I've talk to need it just to watch the games.  So if you feel like you've watched an entire series, those feelings are legitimate...and we're only out of the first round.