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Mini-Mini-Mailbag: Percentage of League Games That Were Back-to-Backs

Posted by Neil Paine on July 22, 2011

Quick mailbag for Nick, who asked how many games in each season (since 1999) featured at least 1 team playing its second game in two nights:

1999: 392 of  725 (54.1%)
2000: 494 of 1189 (41.5%)
2001: 481 of 1189 (40.5%)
2002: 504 of 1189 (42.4%)
2003: 487 of 1189 (41.0%)
2004: 475 of 1189 (39.9%)
2005: 500 of 1230 (40.7%)
2006: 474 of 1230 (38.5%)
2007: 486 of 1230 (39.5%)
2008: 483 of 1230 (39.3%)
2009: 471 of 1230 (38.3%)
2010: 490 of 1230 (39.8%)
2011: 497 of 1230 (40.4%)

Hopefully the 2011-12 lockout will resolve quickly, so we don't have to have back-to-backs in 54% of games like in 1999 (and the 102.2 league offensive rating that came with it).

10 Responses to “Mini-Mini-Mailbag: Percentage of League Games That Were Back-to-Backs”

  1. huevonkiller Says:

    2004 had a league 102.9 rating. We're in a more defense-oriented era especially in the playoffs.

  2. GordonX Says:

    The 2003/04 season was a one time low. After the last remnants of handchecking were removed before the 04/05 season the rating jumped to 106.1. In 05/06 it was at 106.2, in 06/07 at 106.5, in 07/08 at 107.5, 08/09 at 108.3. Only in the last few years did the rating drop to 107.6 and 107.3.

    And before 03/04? 02/03 posted a rating of 103.6, 01/02 was at 104.5, 00/01 was at 103.0, 99/00 at 104.1. 98/99 was already covered, 97/98 was at 105.0.If you look at the playoffs you get similar results.

    So, no, your statement is blatently wrong. We are in a offense-oriented era dominated by perimeter players.

  3. huevonkiller Says:

    GordonX you really skimmed over my grammar. I said *more* defensive-oriented, not anemic. And in the playoffs is what you should have focused on but you did not.

    Neil looks up to the 80's and early 90's, I was comparing this era to that one. You messed up your interpretation of the data as well.

    "And before 03/04? 02/03 posted a rating of 103.6, 01/02 was at 104.5, 00/01 was at 103.0, 99/00 at 104.1. 98/99 was already covered, 97/98 was at 105.0.If you look at the playoffs you get similar results."

    Those are all *rather low* offensive ratings actually.

  4. GordonX Says:

    I know that these are low offensive ratings. But today's game is more offensive oriented, after the last remnants of perimeter handchecking were removed before the 04/05 season. And yes, I see the seasons after 03/04 as an own era.

  5. Dickie Dunn Says:

    I tend to think that the league isn't really that much more offensive minded overall compared to ten years back but is much more efficient offensively. If you look at pace as the consideration, the league is still at a proverbial snail's pace compared to the days when teams jacked up 100 shots a night regularly or even the late 80's when teams were shooting close to 90 times a night. Granted, the league is not as slow paced as it was about a decade back (a couple more possessions) but the improved efficiency of outside shooters has made it seem a good bit more offensive than the days when scoring 100 points a game was pretty much confined to a few teams.

    It helps the #'s when you can 3's at a 37% clip instead of 35%...over the course of a season that's about an extra point per game assuming you take 1400 3's in a season.

  6. GordonX Says:

    Of course that helps a little. But the influence of not being able to handcheck should not be disregarded. It is harder to hit a pull up three when a guy sticks his hand to your hips.

  7. huevonkiller Says:

    #4 Most people don't separate the post-Jordan era into anything.

    Especially for a player like Kobe Bryant or Allen Iverson, they never get acknowledged for playing in this extra-0defensive era (pre 2004).

    People just look at their raw stats and criticize them superfluously. You can read some of the discussions here as proof.

  8. GordonX Says:

    I realize that most people don't seperate. But this is the way people tend to think - simplifying.

    As for the players, I have to admit that I am a huge Jordan fan. In my eyes he is the best ever, and not surprisingly I am a 90s fan (80s are slightly too fast paced and the era since 2004 is too perimeter oriented in my eyes). But I have tremendous respect for the play of Kobe Bryant. He has his weaknesses in shot selection and so on, but that doensn't change the fact that he put together some of the great seasons in NBA history (for example his 02-03 season), nor his work ethic and also not his longevity.

    What I don't understand is why people have to compare, to drag down etc. in order to promote the player they like. If you like a player, then it doesn't matter if another guy has put up better statistics.

  9. huevonkiller Says:


    I'm not dragging down anyone......

    The facts are this is a more defensive era, and by era I mean the entire post-Jordan era. I'm not impressed by the fast paced, slightly inflated narrative people want to ignore from previous eras.

    Personally I have tremendous respect for the 80's and 90's, but the game looks more athletic now and has a deeper talent pool.

  10. GordonX Says:

    I was not accusing you of dragging anyone down. ;)

    In my opinion the game also looks more athletic now, but I personally have the feeling, that the fundamentals have suffered. But it's my opinion, if you have another, that is your very right.