You Are Here > Basketball-Reference.com > BBR Blog > NBA and College Basketball Analysis

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all Basketball-Reference content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing Basketball-Reference blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Basketball-Reference.com // Sports Reference

For more from Neil, check out his new work at BasketballProspectus.com.

Which Single-Game Playoff Outcomes Were the Most Surprising?

Posted by Neil Paine on May 4, 2010

Watching Boston destroy Cleveland in the second half of last night's game, on Cleveland's home court, made me think about surprising playoff outcomes. Going into a game between Boston and Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena, you would expect the Cavs to win by at least ~3.3 points even if you knew nothing about the two teams, since that's the average margin by which the home team wins any given game. And if you did know about the relative quality of the two teams -- Boston won 61% of its regular-season games, Cleveland won 74% -- you would expect Cleveland to win by even more. An example: using SRS, you might expect the Cavs to win by roughly 6 points (6.2 - 3.4 + 3.3 = 6.1). And, not coincidentally, the betting line on last night's game was Cleveland -6. But instead, Boston won by 18, a difference of 24 vs. what we would have expected going into the game.

Along these lines, which playoff games (since 1991) have yielded the most unexpected results? Well, to measure that I'll use a variation on the method above. For each game, I estimated the teams' "true" efficiency differentials using Statistical +/-, taking the average regular-season SPM of the team's players, weighted by the minutes they played in the game. Then, for every matchup I subtracted the away team's "true" differential from the home team's and added 3.7 points (the NBA's average regular-season home-court efficiency advantage since 1991), which will be our "expected" efficiency differential for the home team in the game. I also calculated the home team's actual efficiency differential for the game. The absolute value of the difference between the actual differential and the expected one will be our measure of a "surprise outcome": the bigger the difference, the more surprising the result.

Here are the biggest single-game playoff surprises since 1991:

Date Home SPM Away SPM xDiff HomePts AwayPts Poss HomeRtg AwayRtg Diff Surprise
4/27/2009 NOH 1.31 DEN 1.90 3.1 63 121 87.2 72.2 138.7 -66.5 69.6
4/25/1991 PHO 2.34 UTA -0.43 6.5 90 129 97.0 92.8 133.0 -40.2 46.7
5/7/2005 DAL 7.02 HOU 9.18 1.5 116 76 86.4 134.3 88.0 46.3 44.8
5/3/2002 BOS 4.06 PHI 5.66 2.1 120 87 77.8 154.2 111.8 42.4 40.3
5/25/2001 LAL 9.34 SAS 9.48 3.5 111 72 90.1 123.2 79.9 43.3 39.7
5/5/1996 UTA 6.50 POR 5.75 4.4 102 64 86.5 117.9 74.0 43.9 39.5
6/16/2000 IND 5.23 LAL 12.03 -3.1 120 87 92.9 129.2 93.7 35.5 38.7
5/16/1998 UTA 5.02 LAL 8.49 0.2 112 77 90.1 124.3 85.4 38.8 38.6
5/22/2000 LAL 10.28 POR 8.42 5.5 77 106 87.7 87.8 120.9 -33.1 38.6
4/18/2009 POR 4.44 HOU 3.08 5.0 81 108 80.6 100.5 134.1 -33.5 38.6
6/7/1998 CHI 10.50 UTA 6.86 7.3 96 54 91.8 104.5 58.8 45.7 38.4
6/16/2005 DET 6.99 SAS 12.78 -2.1 102 71 85.7 119.0 82.9 36.2 38.3
4/28/1995 ORL 4.90 BOS -4.62 13.2 124 77 91.8 135.1 83.9 51.2 38.0
5/15/1992 BOS 4.72 CLE 11.42 -3.0 122 91 92.0 132.6 98.9 33.7 36.7
5/30/1996 UTA 7.56 SEA 9.14 2.1 118 83 90.3 130.7 91.9 38.8 36.7
4/24/2008 WAS 1.66 CLE 2.14 3.2 108 72 90.5 119.3 79.6 39.8 36.6
5/7/2005 BOS 3.70 IND 5.22 2.2 70 97 80.5 86.9 120.4 -33.5 35.7
4/30/2005 IND 0.97 BOS 3.45 1.2 79 110 91.3 86.6 120.5 -34.0 35.2
4/25/1996 CLE 6.44 NYK 5.36 4.8 83 106 75.9 109.4 139.7 -30.3 35.1
5/10/2008 CLE 4.77 BOS 13.37 -4.9 108 84 80.1 134.9 104.9 30.0 34.9
4/23/2001 MIA 4.28 CHH 3.36 4.6 76 102 87.1 87.3 117.2 -29.9 34.5
4/29/2003 MIN 3.68 LAL 4.93 2.4 90 120 93.6 96.1 128.2 -32.0 34.5
5/21/1992 CHI 9.38 CLE 7.38 5.7 81 107 91.7 88.3 116.6 -28.3 34.0
5/12/2009 LAL 4.39 HOU -0.53 8.6 118 78 94.0 125.6 83.0 42.6 34.0
6/17/2008 BOS 13.72 LAL 9.69 7.7 131 92 94.4 138.8 97.5 41.3 33.6
5/11/1991 DET 3.50 BOS 7.61 -0.4 83 115 94.8 87.6 121.3 -33.8 33.3
4/27/2002 SEA 0.39 SAS 2.98 1.1 75 102 84.0 89.3 121.4 -32.1 33.2
4/28/1998 ATL 3.32 CHH 0.67 6.3 96 64 81.2 118.2 78.8 39.4 33.1
4/27/1997 SEA 9.09 PHO 1.15 11.6 122 78 98.7 123.6 79.0 44.6 32.9
5/16/2001 PHI 5.98 TOR 1.69 8.0 121 88 80.9 149.6 108.8 40.8 32.8
5/6/1998 SEA 9.36 LAL 9.74 3.3 68 92 81.5 83.4 112.9 -29.5 32.8
5/10/2006 PHO 6.00 LAC 4.24 5.4 97 122 92.0 105.4 132.6 -27.2 32.6
4/25/2009 MIA 0.82 ATL 1.46 3.0 107 78 82.3 130.1 94.8 35.3 32.2
4/30/2009 PHI 2.21 ORL 2.31 3.6 89 114 88.2 100.9 129.3 -28.4 31.9
5/26/2007 UTA 3.66 SAS 9.99 -2.6 109 83 89.3 122.0 92.9 29.1 31.8
4/20/2010 BOS 2.15 MIA 4.68 1.2 106 77 88.2 120.2 87.3 32.9 31.7
5/8/1999 MIA 5.79 NYK 1.58 7.9 75 95 85.0 88.3 111.8 -23.5 31.4
5/3/2007 GSW 2.57 DAL 9.81 -3.6 111 86 90.4 122.8 95.1 27.7 31.2
5/11/2000 UTA 13.38 POR 8.95 8.1 84 103 83.2 101.0 123.8 -22.8 30.9
4/22/2006 SAS 6.18 SAC 1.20 8.7 122 88 86.2 141.6 102.1 39.5 30.8
5/9/2006 SAS 10.62 DAL 8.30 6.0 91 113 88.8 102.5 127.3 -24.8 30.8
4/21/2004 MIA 1.36 NOH 0.48 4.6 93 63 85.2 109.1 73.9 35.2 30.6
4/21/2001 MIA 2.72 CHH 3.86 2.5 80 106 92.8 86.2 114.3 -28.0 30.6
5/1/2001 DAL 4.35 UTA 3.81 4.2 107 77 86.4 123.8 89.1 34.7 30.5
4/20/2010 PHO 3.20 POR 3.68 3.2 119 90 86.3 137.9 104.3 33.6 30.4
6/12/1996 SEA 9.14 CHI 18.30 -5.5 107 86 84.6 126.5 101.7 24.8 30.3
5/2/2003 POR -2.24 DAL 7.28 -5.8 125 103 90.6 137.9 113.6 24.3 30.1
5/29/2009 DEN 5.41 LAL 10.06 -1.0 92 119 87.2 105.5 136.4 -31.0 30.0
4/24/1992 NYK 2.98 DET -1.56 8.2 109 75 89.0 122.4 84.2 38.2 30.0
5/19/1996 CHI 16.71 ORL 9.33 11.1 121 83 92.7 130.5 89.5 41.0 29.9
6/2/1995 IND 4.68 ORL 8.82 -0.5 123 96 91.8 134.0 104.6 29.4 29.9
5/3/1993 CHH -0.16 BOS 0.14 3.4 119 89 90.5 131.5 98.4 33.2 29.8
4/21/2008 CLE 3.21 WAS 2.86 4.0 116 86 88.9 130.4 96.7 33.7 29.7
4/29/2008 HOU 6.43 UTA 9.60 0.5 95 69 87.3 108.8 79.0 29.8 29.3
5/11/1996 UTA 6.30 SAS 2.37 7.6 105 75 81.4 129.0 92.1 36.8 29.2
4/24/1997 MIA 7.02 ORL -1.69 12.4 99 64 84.7 117.0 75.6 41.3 28.9
5/13/1995 HOU 5.65 PHO 1.55 7.8 118 85 90.4 130.6 94.1 36.5 28.7
5/18/1996 SEA 8.85 UTA 5.78 6.8 102 72 84.7 120.5 85.1 35.4 28.7
5/3/2010 CLE 12.35 BOS 6.50 9.5 86 104 94.2 91.3 110.4 -19.1 28.6
5/11/1995 PHO 3.00 HOU 9.23 -2.5 118 94 92.6 127.4 101.5 25.9 28.5
5/12/1999 NYK 1.86 MIA 4.35 1.2 97 73 80.9 119.9 90.2 29.7 28.5
5/23/2008 LAL 7.51 SAS 6.92 4.3 101 71 91.8 110.0 77.3 32.7 28.4
5/6/2006 PHO 6.69 LAL 4.78 5.6 121 90 91.5 132.2 98.3 33.9 28.3
4/29/2006 MIL -1.16 DET 7.92 -5.4 124 104 88.0 140.9 118.2 22.7 28.1
5/15/2003 LAL 0.42 SAS 8.73 -4.6 82 110 85.5 95.9 128.6 -32.7 28.1
5/27/2001 LAL 7.30 SAS 7.90 3.1 111 82 93.0 119.4 88.2 31.2 28.1
4/26/2001 NYK 6.04 TOR 4.31 5.4 74 94 88.3 83.8 106.5 -22.7 28.1
5/1/2006 MEM 1.05 DAL 7.79 -3.1 76 102 83.8 90.7 121.7 -31.0 28.0
6/3/1992 CHI 10.12 POR 6.65 7.1 122 89 94.8 128.6 93.8 34.8 27.6
4/25/1991 CHI 8.11 NYK -2.91 14.7 126 85 97.2 129.6 87.4 42.2 27.5
5/4/1996 SEA 9.53 HOU 5.05 8.2 108 75 92.6 116.6 81.0 35.6 27.5
5/1/2009 MIA 0.85 ATL -0.07 4.6 98 72 81.2 120.7 88.7 32.0 27.4
6/4/2009 LAL 8.76 ORL 10.84 1.6 100 75 86.2 115.9 87.0 29.0 27.4
5/28/1995 HOU 9.59 SAS 10.30 3.0 81 103 90.2 89.8 114.1 -24.4 27.3
5/11/2001 TOR 5.22 PHI 8.61 0.3 102 78 86.8 117.4 89.8 27.6 27.3
5/23/2004 MIN 1.00 LAL 8.60 -3.9 89 71 77.6 114.7 91.5 23.2 27.1
5/30/1995 SAS 8.95 HOU 9.09 3.5 90 111 90.0 100.0 123.3 -23.3 26.9
5/7/1996 SAS 8.40 UTA 9.36 2.7 75 95 83.1 90.3 114.4 -24.1 26.8
6/4/1999 POR 6.00 SAS 9.20 0.5 63 85 83.8 75.2 101.4 -26.2 26.7
4/30/1995 CHH 2.18 CHI 12.70 -6.8 106 89 85.5 124.0 104.1 19.9 26.7
4/22/2007 DAL 11.34 GSW 2.19 12.8 85 97 87.1 97.6 111.4 -13.8 26.6
4/22/2003 MIN 3.71 LAL 4.26 3.1 119 91 94.1 126.4 96.7 29.7 26.6
4/25/2008 PHI 1.43 DET 9.59 -4.5 95 75 90.5 105.0 82.9 22.1 26.6
5/15/2000 IND 6.20 PHI 6.37 3.5 86 107 91.8 93.7 116.5 -22.9 26.4
5/3/1994 UTA 5.33 SAS -2.51 11.5 105 72 87.3 120.3 82.5 37.8 26.3
4/30/2002 ORL 4.65 CHH 1.47 6.9 85 102 88.2 96.4 115.6 -19.3 26.1
5/30/2004 IND 8.73 DET 8.38 4.0 65 83 81.5 79.8 101.9 -22.1 26.1
5/3/1998 MIA 5.68 NYK 2.77 6.6 81 98 87.2 92.9 112.4 -19.5 26.1
5/5/2007 DET 5.10 CHI 5.30 3.5 95 69 88.4 107.5 78.1 29.4 25.9
5/12/1994 ATL 2.94 IND 6.40 0.2 92 69 88.0 104.6 78.4 26.1 25.9
4/30/2003 DET 7.11 ORL -1.69 12.5 98 67 80.7 121.4 83.0 38.4 25.9
4/19/2009 DEN 3.52 NOH 1.49 5.7 113 84 92.2 122.6 91.1 31.5 25.7
4/27/2003 POR 0.09 DAL 8.55 -4.8 98 79 90.8 107.9 87.0 20.9 25.7
5/13/2008 NOH 9.43 SAS 12.32 0.8 101 79 83.1 121.6 95.1 26.5 25.7
5/1/2003 BOS 1.38 IND 6.99 -1.9 110 90 84.6 130.0 106.4 23.6 25.6
5/5/1991 DET 4.58 ATL 0.53 7.7 113 81 96.8 116.8 83.7 33.1 25.3
4/23/1998 UTA 10.83 HOU 3.78 10.7 90 103 89.1 101.0 115.5 -14.6 25.3
5/27/2003 SAS 10.09 DAL 1.92 11.8 91 103 89.6 101.6 115.0 -13.4 25.2
4/27/2008 PHO -1.40 SAS 7.08 -4.8 105 86 93.3 112.6 92.2 20.4 25.2
5/7/2006 DET 6.35 CLE 2.07 8.0 113 86 81.8 138.2 105.2 33.0 25.1

Last night's C's game is right there, at #59 on the list (the Celtics 1st-round win over Miami without Kevin Garnett is actually #36 and the most surprising result of 2010 so far)...

Now, a lot of these are unexpected blowouts, which are certainly surprising, but what if we limited the list just to games where the final margin was within single-digits?

Date Home SPM Away SPM xDiff HomePts AwayPts Poss HomeRtg AwayRtg Diff Surprise
4/30/1995 ORL 11.36 BOS -1.08 16.1 92 99 83.5 110.2 118.6 -8.4 24.5
5/5/1992 CHI 14.78 NYK 4.05 14.4 89 94 82.0 108.5 114.6 -6.1 20.5
4/30/2003 DAL 13.71 POR 1.57 15.8 99 103 85.6 115.7 120.4 -4.7 20.5
4/24/2005 SAS 14.01 DEN 3.89 13.8 87 93 90.9 95.7 102.3 -6.6 20.4
4/26/1998 SEA 13.41 MIN 3.43 13.7 93 98 83.2 111.7 117.7 -6.0 19.7
5/4/1992 CLE 13.69 BOS 4.64 12.7 98 104 88.4 110.9 117.7 -6.8 19.5
5/2/1993 PHO 11.98 LAL 1.78 13.9 81 86 91.2 88.8 94.3 -5.5 19.4
5/4/2009 LAL 12.56 HOU 5.56 10.7 92 100 93.2 98.7 107.3 -8.6 19.3
5/18/1999 ATL 6.13 NYK -0.01 9.8 92 100 86.8 105.9 115.2 -9.2 19.0
5/1/1997 ORL -0.36 MIA 12.26 -8.9 99 91 82.4 120.2 110.5 9.7 18.7
5/10/1992 NYK 3.02 CHI 16.35 -9.7 93 86 78.8 118.1 109.2 8.9 18.5
5/2/1996 ATL 6.14 IND 0.91 8.9 75 83 85.2 88.0 97.4 -9.4 18.3
5/8/1997 CHI 15.87 ATL 10.30 9.3 95 103 89.0 106.8 115.8 -9.0 18.2
4/22/2007 SAS 12.78 DEN 5.54 10.9 89 95 85.3 104.4 111.4 -7.0 18.0
4/20/2003 DET 6.85 ORL -1.55 12.1 94 99 90.3 104.1 109.7 -5.5 17.6
4/29/2001 TOR 5.72 NYK 1.35 8.1 89 97 83.5 106.5 116.1 -9.6 17.6
4/25/1997 SEA 13.62 PHO 5.21 12.1 101 106 93.0 108.6 114.0 -5.4 17.5
5/30/2000 LAL 13.70 POR 9.12 8.3 88 96 88.7 99.2 108.2 -9.0 17.3
4/28/2008 ATL 0.79 BOS 15.80 -11.3 97 92 85.4 113.6 107.7 5.9 17.2
4/20/2008 DET 10.85 PHI 2.52 12.0 86 90 81.3 105.8 110.7 -4.9 16.9
6/21/1999 NYK 0.43 SAS 11.29 -7.2 89 81 83.3 106.8 97.2 9.6 16.8
5/22/2006 SAS 13.41 DAL 8.84 8.3 111 119 93.9 118.2 126.7 -8.5 16.8
6/6/2001 LAL 11.90 PHI 4.85 10.7 101 107 99.8 101.2 107.2 -6.0 16.7
5/6/1998 CHI 12.25 CHH 1.71 14.2 76 78 81.8 92.9 95.4 -2.4 16.7
5/7/2002 LAL 13.23 SAS 3.92 13.0 85 88 87.1 97.6 101.0 -3.4 16.4
5/22/2008 BOS 14.76 DET 9.58 8.9 97 103 81.1 119.6 127.0 -7.4 16.3
6/9/1999 IND 5.80 NYK 1.07 8.4 94 101 89.7 104.8 112.6 -7.8 16.2
5/15/2001 MIL 6.42 CHH 3.49 6.6 86 94 83.9 102.5 112.0 -9.5 16.1
4/29/1995 NYK 6.71 CLE 1.05 9.3 84 90 88.3 95.2 102.0 -6.8 16.1
4/28/1992 NJN 1.09 CLE 15.49 -10.7 109 104 97.3 112.0 106.8 5.1 15.9

Here are games which weren't surprising at all:

Date Home SPM Away SPM xDiff HomePts AwayPts Poss HomeRtg AwayRtg Diff Surprise
6/14/1992 CHI 14.84 POR 14.06 4.5 97 93 89.9 107.9 103.4 4.4 0.0
4/21/2007 DET 7.44 ORL 1.86 9.3 100 92 86.6 115.4 106.2 9.2 0.0
6/18/2006 MIA 9.87 DAL 12.49 1.1 101 100 91.6 110.3 109.2 1.1 0.0
6/9/2002 NJN 6.22 LAL 13.00 -3.1 103 106 95.5 107.9 111.0 -3.1 0.0
5/14/1996 CHI 15.49 NYK 4.54 14.6 94 81 88.6 106.1 91.4 14.7 0.0
5/3/1994 MIA 5.26 ATL 4.48 4.5 90 86 88.5 101.7 97.2 4.5 0.1
5/14/1999 SAC 1.31 UTA 6.09 -1.1 89 90 86.0 103.5 104.7 -1.2 0.1
4/24/2003 MIL 2.56 NJN 8.33 -2.1 101 103 93.0 108.6 110.8 -2.2 0.1
5/7/1992 POR 10.62 PHO 7.51 6.8 126 119 104.2 120.9 114.2 6.7 0.1
4/26/2006 DET 8.53 MIL -0.11 12.3 109 98 89.8 121.3 109.1 12.2 0.1
5/18/1998 UTA 10.34 LAL 9.68 4.3 99 95 93.7 105.6 101.4 4.3 0.1
4/26/1996 SEA 9.01 SAC -0.42 13.1 97 85 92.2 105.3 92.2 13.0 0.1
5/16/1997 NYK 2.00 MIA 11.21 -5.5 90 95 88.3 101.9 107.6 -5.7 0.1
5/13/2000 PHI 5.42 IND 6.63 2.5 92 90 86.3 106.6 104.3 2.3 0.2
5/18/1997 MIA 10.44 NYK 2.26 11.9 101 90 91.3 110.6 98.6 12.0 0.2
5/20/1997 CHI 15.56 MIA 10.68 8.6 84 77 83.5 100.6 92.2 8.4 0.2
5/7/2003 NJN 8.90 BOS 2.99 9.6 104 95 95.8 108.5 99.1 9.4 0.2
5/27/2009 LAL 11.46 DEN 5.71 9.4 103 94 93.3 110.3 100.7 9.6 0.2
5/27/2004 LAL 9.81 MIN 5.09 8.4 92 85 85.8 107.2 99.1 8.2 0.2
5/2/2002 NJN 7.22 IND 0.81 10.1 120 109 106.4 112.8 102.5 10.3 0.3
5/20/1995 PHO 6.46 HOU 10.94 -0.8 114 115 94.9 120.1 121.2 -1.1 0.3
5/7/2000 MIA 5.36 NYK 4.21 4.8 87 83 87.4 99.6 95.0 4.6 0.3
5/17/1998 CHI 10.70 IND 7.68 6.7 85 79 93.3 91.1 84.6 6.4 0.3
5/14/2000 UTA 7.75 POR 8.17 3.3 88 85 85.2 103.3 99.8 3.5 0.3
5/15/1999 MIN -0.49 SAS 11.16 -8.0 85 92 85.0 100.0 108.3 -8.2 0.3
5/26/2006 DAL 11.26 PHO 7.65 7.3 105 98 92.5 113.5 106.0 7.6 0.3
6/1/1995 HOU 14.01 SAS 12.18 5.5 100 95 86.4 115.7 109.9 5.8 0.3
5/15/1996 ORL 12.28 ATL 6.30 9.7 96 88 80.6 119.2 109.2 9.9 0.3
5/4/2003 DAL 13.34 POR 3.20 13.8 107 95 88.8 120.5 107.0 13.5 0.3
5/15/2004 IND 10.08 MIA 0.24 13.5 94 83 83.3 112.9 99.7 13.2 0.3

Finally, here are the biggest surprises of 2010 so far (as alluded to, Boston's blowout win over Miami on April 20 after losing Kevin Garnett ranks as the top surprise of this year's playoffs):

Date Home SPM Away SPM xhDiff HomePts AwayPts Poss HomeRtg AwayRtg Diff Surprise
4/20/2010 BOS 2.15 MIA 4.68 1.2 106 77 88.2 120.2 87.3 32.9 31.7
4/20/2010 PHO 3.20 POR 3.68 3.2 119 90 86.3 137.9 104.3 33.6 30.4
5/3/2010 CLE 12.35 BOS 6.50 9.5 86 104 94.2 91.3 110.4 -19.1 28.6
4/22/2010 POR 3.29 PHO 5.27 1.7 89 108 86.8 102.5 124.4 -21.9 23.6
4/24/2010 MIL -0.32 ATL 5.86 -2.5 107 89 86.3 123.9 103.1 20.9 23.3
4/27/2010 DAL 2.03 SAS 5.37 0.3 103 81 95.4 107.9 84.9 23.1 22.7
4/24/2010 OKC 0.93 LAL 3.71 0.9 110 89 91.4 120.3 97.3 23.0 22.1
4/26/2010 PHO 3.46 POR 5.27 1.9 107 88 82.2 130.2 107.1 23.1 21.3
4/27/2010 LAL 3.96 OKC 2.36 5.3 111 87 93.3 118.9 93.2 25.7 20.4
4/21/2010 DAL 7.19 SAS 8.13 2.7 88 102 83.3 105.7 122.5 -16.8 19.6
5/2/2010 ATL 5.73 MIL 1.59 7.8 95 74 79.2 119.9 93.4 26.5 18.7
4/27/2010 CLE 14.44 CHI -0.01 18.1 96 94 86.8 110.6 108.3 2.3 15.8
4/23/2010 UTA 1.75 DEN 7.68 -2.3 105 93 91.3 115.0 101.8 13.1 15.4
4/29/2010 POR 5.26 PHO 4.57 4.4 90 99 88.5 101.7 111.9 -10.2 14.5
4/25/2010 CHI -2.01 CLE 10.86 -9.2 98 121 97.2 100.8 124.4 -23.7 14.5
4/25/2010 UTA 1.65 DEN 8.06 -2.7 117 106 96.4 121.3 109.9 11.4 14.1
4/30/2010 MIL 1.73 ATL 8.36 -3.0 69 83 83.7 82.5 99.2 -16.7 13.8
4/22/2010 CHI -1.08 CLE 14.16 -11.6 108 106 93.3 115.8 113.6 2.1 13.7
4/28/2010 ATL 7.03 MIL 2.64 8.1 87 91 85.0 102.4 107.1 -4.7 12.8
4/19/2010 DEN 8.47 UTA 3.08 9.1 111 114 100.0 111.0 114.0 -3.0 12.1
4/26/2010 CHA 4.93 ORL 7.40 1.2 90 99 84.6 106.4 117.0 -10.6 11.8
4/26/2010 MIL 2.02 ATL 7.88 -2.2 111 104 85.7 129.5 121.3 8.2 10.3
4/21/2010 ORL 8.33 CHA 3.57 8.4 92 77 80.3 114.5 95.9 18.7 10.2
4/28/2010 DEN 5.24 UTA 2.77 6.2 116 102 93.9 123.5 108.6 14.9 8.7
5/3/2010 PHO 6.06 SAS 8.98 0.8 111 102 97.8 113.5 104.3 9.2 8.4
4/27/2010 BOS 6.76 MIA 7.05 3.4 96 86 90.5 106.1 95.0 11.0 7.7
4/18/2010 PHO 5.34 POR 6.98 2.0 100 105 91.2 109.7 115.1 -5.5 7.5
4/17/2010 DEN 6.86 UTA 3.92 6.6 126 113 92.7 136.0 121.9 14.0 7.4
4/18/2010 DAL 6.12 SAS 9.33 0.5 100 94 91.0 109.9 103.3 6.6 6.1
4/25/2010 MIA 6.69 BOS 6.29 4.1 101 92 91.4 110.6 100.7 9.9 5.8

ShareThis

6 Responses to “Which Single-Game Playoff Outcomes Were the Most Surprising?”

  1. downpuppy Says:

    That the Celtics were 2 games better on the road than at home this year says something.

    What it says, I have no clue.

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    I've wondered about that as well. I watched almost every C's game this season, and it was amazing how sloppy and unmotivated they were at home in the 2nd half vs. the amazing intensity with which they played at the Garden in 2008 and even '09. So maybe using a universal home-court advantage term here is misleading, because the Celtics' probability of beating any given opponent on the road might be higher than the average NBA team's. But the sample sizes involved in using team-specific HCA terms are dangerously small, which is why it's usually a better bet to assume the mean % for all teams.

  3. Jason J Says:

    I recall that 1995 Cs v. Magic win. Brian Hill inexplicably left D3 on an island against what remained of the Human Highlight Film, and the Cs ran P&R after P&R for Sherm Douglas.

  4. downpuppy Says:

    The 124-77 stomping from Game 1 is on the first list.

    One good thing about expansion is that 35-47 teams don't make the playoffs much anymore.

  5. Ryan Says:

    I don't think there's a person on Earth that thought the *1998* Bulls could beat the Jazz by an NBA Finals record margin.

    That would top the list, for me.

  6. Ryan Says:

    I should mention that I was far more involved with the title-run Bulls that any team since, so I clearly shoulder a bias.