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Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Pool B, Round 1

Posted by Neil Paine on March 22, 2010

Since WhatIfSports doesn't have a "neutral court" option for the NBA, I decided to make each matchup a 2-3-2 best-of-7 series to lessen the impact of HCA (home teams win 60% of the time in any 1 game, but only 53.2% in a 7-game series). Here are the opening-round series from Pool B (click on series links for game-by-game box scores):

#8 '54 Lakers vs. #9 '66 Celtics
Game 1: 66BOS 103, 54MNL 91
Game 2: 66BOS 106, 54MNL 101
Game 3: 66BOS 121, 54MNL 112
Game 4: 54MNL 106, 66BOS 104
Game 5: 54MNL 112, 66BOS 110
Game 6: 66BOS 102, 54MNL 100
(1966 Celtics Win Series 4-2)

#5 '93 Bulls vs. #12 '78 Bullets
Game 1: 93CHI 132, 78WSB 101
Game 2: 78WSB 102, 93CHI 100
Game 3: 93CHI 113, 78WSB 90
Game 4: 93CHI 121, 78WSB 90
Game 5: 93CHI 104, 78WSB 69
(1993 Bulls Win Series 4-1)

#4 '97 Bulls vs. #13 '84 Celtics
Game 1: 97CHI 113, 84BOS 105
Game 2: 97CHI 109, 84BOS 93
Game 3: 84BOS 115, 97CHI 102
Game 4: 84BOS 104, 97CHI 88
Game 5: 97CHI 111, 84BOS 103
Game 6: 97CHI 128, 84BOS 88
(1997 Bulls Win Series 4-2)

#3 '87 Lakers vs. #14 '88 Lakers
Game 1: 87LAL 114, 88LAL 83
Game 2: 87LAL 132, 88LAL 123
Game 3: 88LAL 130, 87LAL 120
Game 4: 87LAL 123, 88LAL 114
Game 5: 88LAL 114, 87LAL 112
Game 6: 88LAL 118, 87LAL 114
Game 7: 88LAL 135, 87LAL 123
(1988 Lakers Win Series 4-3)

#6 '81 Celtics vs. #11 '65 Celtics
Game 1: 81BOS 115, 65BOS 102
Game 2: 81BOS 128, 65BOS 105
Game 3: 65BOS 118, 81BOS 112
Game 4: 81BOS 108, 65BOS 98
Game 5: 65BOS 133, 81BOS 113
Game 6: 81BOS 127, 65BOS 117
(1981 Celtics Win Series 4-2)

#7 2002 Lakers vs. #10 1951 Royals*
Game 1: 02LAL 101, 51ROC 86
Game 2: 02LAL 117, 51ROC 95
Game 3: 02LAL 99, 51ROC 85
Game 4: 02LAL 96, 51ROC 81
(2002 Lakers Win Series 4-0)

(* = Teams before 1952 are unavailable at WIS, so I used the '52 Royals with as few MP as possible given to players who weren't on the '51 team.)

#2 '86 Celtics vs. #15 '63 Celtics
Game 1: 86BOS 125, 63BOS 113
Game 2: 63BOS 111, 86BOS 106
Game 3: 86BOS 122, 63BOS 102
Game 4: 86BOS 123, 63BOS 112
Game 5: 63BOS 126, 86BOS 123
Game 6: 86BOS 137, 63BOS 114
(1986 Celtics Win Series 4-2)

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8 Responses to “Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Pool B, Round 1”

  1. AYC Says:

    These simulations seem to overwhelmingly favor the more recent teams; I only count 5 series where the older team wins, and that includes the '50 Lakers beating the '55 squad.

    PS Come on, Pippen outscoring Bird!!?

  2. James Says:

    Pippen would have done a better job on Larry 'Legend' in both their primes than anyone ever did. Pippen was a solid scorer (and 94 without MJ was very good), but an outstanding defender as we all know.....Larry would have had problems with his length, quickness and ability to stay on the floor and not bite on pump fakes.

    Pity we don't have a time machine to actually put some of these match-ups together, would be orsum! The Dream Team practices would have been the only place that was close to seeing Pippen v Bird, and Larry was well past prime by then.

    Enjoying the tourney, nice work!

  3. dickey simpkins Says:

    How is it a stretch to say Pippen couldn't score on Bird? He was a relatively efficient scorer who got to the rim and by the mid '90s was a very good outside shooter.

    And there's a reason why these scenarios favor the newer teams, they're almost always better, and that would be true in any major sport. You think the '72 Dolphins would go undefeated in the current NFL?

  4. AYC Says:

    Bird averaged 24.2 ppg in '84, 27.5 ppg in the playoffs
    Pippen averaged 20.2 ppg in 97, 19.3 ppg in the playoffs.

    Bird didn't play in the 50's, he played in the 80's and 90's overlapping with MJ and Pippen by a few years; he faced plenty of stellar defenders (Rodman, Robert Reid, Michael Cooper, Bobby Jones); and in 92 at age 35 with a bad back he was still dropping 21/10/7 per game

  5. AYC Says:

    And Pippen was never a reliable outside shooter

  6. AYC Says:

    84 Celts match up extremely well with the bulls; I'll take Bird/Mchale/Maxwell over Pip/Rodman/Kukoc ever day of the week; Parish vs. Longley? Please. And Gerald Henderson with DJ (and Ainge off the bench) is an underrated backcourt; bulls wouldn't be able to focus in on Bird because of all the other scorers on that team.

  7. AYC Says:

    Old Bird vs young Pippen:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=birdla01&p2=pippesc01

  8. EYO Says:

    Those basketball-reference stats are completely meaningless. In the early matchups, you're comparing a 9-time all-star with a rookie and with the difference in minutes played, there is no way that Pippen was guarding Bird for the majority of the time he was on the floor. When the playing time does even out, it's not a fair comparison as Bird was clearly in decline versus Pippen approaching his peak. Even if the numbers and ages matched up, there's no way to infer exactly who was guarding who without watching the games all over again. You're also trying to compare a #1 scoring option to a #2 option, of course the #1 is going to have higher counting numbers. Their efficiencies match-up much more favorably.

    And the comparison between Bird/McHale/Maxwell/Parish and Pippen/Rodman/Kukoc/Longley is absolutely meaningless again, you're clearly excluding the most talented player on either of those teams. You take the time to mention Gerald Henderson, Dennis Johnson, and Danny Ainge without mentioning Jordan?