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Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Championship

Posted by Neil Paine on April 7, 2010

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the final round of the WhatIfSports Most Dominant Playoff Tournament, featuring the 1993 Chicago Bulls, the 5th seed in Pool B, and the 2005 San Antonio Spurs, the #9 seed in Pool A. The Bulls got here by beating the dominant 1996 incarnation of themselves in a grueling 7-game series that pitted Jordan vs. Jordan, with the 29-year-old MJ coming out on top. On the other side of the bracket, the Spurs cruised past the 2009 Lakers, holding Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, & Lamar Odom to a combined 39 points in the 5th and deciding game of their semifinal series. So now, without further ado, it's time for these two great clubs to battle for the title of 2010 Most Dominant Playoff Tournament Champion...

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Playoffs | 10 Comments »

Do Young Teams Cover the Spread Less Often in Their Playoff Debut?

Posted by Neil Paine on April 7, 2010

Listening to Bill Simmons talk to Chad Millman on the B.S. Report, they mentioned how a good play was to bet for a young team (like this year's Thunder) to come out and lay an egg in their first playoff game because they feel pressure and don't know how to handle it yet. They pointed to last year's Blazers-Rockets Game 1 as a situation where a young team came out at home, favored, with a crowd full of energy, and they fell flat, failing to cover the spread. So my first thought was, is this a real trend or just one of those "seems like it happens a lot" theories that don't hold up under close scrutiny?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

So Who’s the MIP?

Posted by Justin Kubatko on April 6, 2010

The other day I decided to check out the Most Improved Player (MIP) list on ESPN.com's NBA Awards Watch. Before visiting the page I figured that Kevin Durant would be at the top of the list, as Durant has made a stratospheric leap this season, going from at best an average player to one of the top five players in the NBA. Imagine my surprise when I saw Durant in the second spot on this list, behind Aaron Brooks of the Houston Rockets. In my mind I knew that this had to be wrong, that Durant's improvement was the most improbable performance of the season, but I needed a way to quantify it. The question is: How? Let's go to the data...

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Posted in Awards, Statgeekery | 31 Comments »

Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Final Four

Posted by Neil Paine on April 6, 2010

Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Round 4

Results from the Tournament's Final Four, courtesy of WhatIfSports (click on series links for game-by-game box scores):

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Playoffs | 16 Comments »

CBB: Duke 2010 — “Easy” Road?

Posted by Neil Paine on April 6, 2010

Note: This post was originally published at College Basketball Reference, S-R's brand-new College Hoops site, so when you're done reading, go over and check it out!

Prior to the 2010 tournament, many media pundits felt that Duke had the easiest bracket of any #1 seed, despite Kansas actually being the top overall seed in the field. If no upsets happened, Duke would have to go through AP #9 Villanova to reach the Final Four; by comparison, Kansas would have to go through #5 Ohio State, Syracuse would have to go through #7 K-State, and Kentucky would have to go through #6 West Virginia.

As the tournament progressed, the only upset that happened along Duke's path was #3 Baylor reaching the Regional Final instead of Villanova, who had been picked off by Saint Mary's (CA). This meant that instead of #9 'Nova, Duke actually only had to go through the 19th-ranked Bears to reach Indy. Once they reached the Final Four, they found #6 West Virginia waiting for them, and in the Championship Game the Blue Devils had to beat #11 Butler, whom they only topped by 2 when a pair of shots by Gordon Hayward each missed by mere inches. So you can see why some are reacting to Duke's crown today with criticism that they faced one of the easiest roads to a championship in NCAA history. But is this true? Was Duke's path to glory really devoid of potholes along the way? And if so, how does 2010 Duke compare to other past champions who had more grueling roads?

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Posted in NCAA, Statgeekery | 2 Comments »

Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Round 4

Posted by Neil Paine on April 5, 2010

Pools A & D, Round 3
Pools B & C, Round 3

Results from the 4rd round of the tournament, courtesy of WhatIfSports (click on series links for game-by-game box scores):

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Playoffs | 12 Comments »

Layups: Dennis Johnson Elected to Hall of Fame

Posted by Neil Paine on April 4, 2010

Better late than never: ESPN has a source reporting that Dennis Johnson, the legendary guard who played a key role on three championship teams during the 1970s & '80s (2 with the Boston Celtics and 1 with the Seattle SuperSonics), has apparently been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this voting cycle. Johnson, who passed away suddenly at age 52 in 2007, had been long regarded as one of the HoF's most glaring omissions, given his championship resume and the fact that he made up half of one of the most famous plays in NBA history. It's a shame he couldn't live to see the honor, but congratulations are still in order to Johnson, one of the winningest players of all time.

Posted in Hall of Fame, Layups | 34 Comments »

Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Pools B & C, Round 3

Posted by Neil Paine on April 2, 2010

Pools A & D, Round 3

More results from the 3rd round of the tournament, courtesy of WhatIfSports (click on series links for game-by-game box scores):

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Playoffs | 6 Comments »

BBR Rankings: 2010-04-02

Posted by Neil Paine on April 2, 2010

Rising: Suns (W-NYK, W-@MIN, W-@CHI, W-@NJN), Heat (W-@MIL, W-TOR, W-@DET)
Falling: Celtics (W-SAC, L-SAS, L-OKC), Grizzlies (L-@MIL, L-DAL)

(Want to know how the BBR Rankings are calculated? Read this first... "MLE" = Maximum Likelihood Estimate.)

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Posted in BBR Rankings | Comments Off

Most Dominant Playoff Tournament: Pools A & D, Round 3

Posted by Neil Paine on April 1, 2010

Results through Round 2
Now it's time for the 3rd round of the tournament, courtesy of WhatIfSports (click on series links for game-by-game box scores):

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Posted in Insane ideas, Just For Fun, Playoffs | 8 Comments »

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