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2011 NBA Finals Series Win Probability After Game 1

Posted by Neil Paine on June 1, 2011

Miami's Series Win Probability Graph after Game 1:

Miami's Quarter-by-Quarter Series Win Probability Data:

Minutes Elapsed p(win)
0 53.3%
12 52.0%
24 51.2%
36 57.7%
48 66.0%

For more info on the Series Win Probability methodology, click here.

22 Responses to “2011 NBA Finals Series Win Probability After Game 1”

  1. Ben Says:

    Amazing how big the stakes in terms of winning the championship. Lebron's 3 at the end of the third must have added a few percentage points all by itself.

  2. BA Says:

    Series over.

  3. cort Says:

    but if dallas wins game 2 they are in solid shape, with the next 3 at home.

  4. Luke Says:

    Dallas looked pretty dead in that first game. I can't imagine they'll play that badly again, but if they do, then yes, series over. Ugh.

  5. huevonkiller Says:

    Both teams have a good chance to win a road game.

    Since the topic came up.

  6. Sean Says:

    If LeBron is allowed to take 3 giant steps after he picks up his dribble around the top of the key---the series is over. I don't know a defense for that. Lol. And the announcers just GUSH over the dunk at the end of it. Are they given marching orders by the league? Are they just BLIND? I was suprised to see that there was no shortage of links when you BING 'LeBron travels all the time'------and yet the league looks the other way at obvious traveling violations.

    I know players get 'superstar' treatment. They have been as long as I've been watching the NBA. Bird, Jordan, Magic, Kareem, etc. I just don't recall (outside of Shaq--who was allowed to foul defense players all the time with his dribble/ slam into the defender move)) a player's staple move being so blatantly against the rules----yet permitted. Yes Bird walked. Yes Jordan walked... but they didn't do this one thing ALL THE TIME and just have the officials eat their whistles. Superstars 'get away with one' every game. LeBron's entire means of dribbling is a violation. It's actually funny. Except it ruins the REAL competitive nature of games supposedly being played at the highest level of the sport. And in light of LeBron's elevation to the elite level (by some) of all-time NBA greats-------it's troublesome that we're supposed to forget he travels constantly with no repercussion and just judge his play based on what the league has determined are the defacto rules for traveling. I don't think the NBA rulebook has been modified to now allow 3 steps after the dribble is picked up----or FIVE when you include his horsey-gallop steps in between longer steps (like one on You Tube VS Chicago). Maybe I'm wrong and the NBA has transparently and officially changed the rules in their rulebook? Even if they did... it's still impossible to rate him against great players of the past. And that's unfortunate. I'm certain that this type of rant will garner 'wet towel'/ 'hater' status from some-----but to me, it's like bending the rules for 'more fun' that you do with pre-school children when you play games with them. Except this is the NBA and these are grown men. It ruins it for me. It's the elephant in the middle of the room for me when talk of LeBron's 'place in history' comes up. What the heck are we supposed to do with the 'crab dribble'-----which is the misnomer he uses for taking extra steps with no dribble. To my knowledge, a crab dribble is a dribble players are taught whebn they are moving laterally with their backs to the defender-----and has nothing to do with taking extra steps after dribbling. I wanna know how good he is-----and it's impossible when you let him do stuff that is reminiscent of allowing a T-Ball player to run across the diamond from 1st to 3rd. Wow! That's a triple, Johnny! No it's not.

    I dunno. Sorry about the rant.

  7. Rg73 Says:

    Selective recall Sean. Jordan used his arm to brush off or push off on defenders all the time. Ewing used to take 3-4 giant steps every single time he drove to the hoop. Reggie Miller always kicked his opponents during his jumpshot. Kobe used to (before he earned the hatred of the refs) swing his arms into guys to draw contact (often hitting them in the face). Durant uses this move all the time now (though not with Kobe's nasty streak). Iverson used to palm the ball and carry over all the time. Pretty much every small guard in the league now uses the hurl-yourself-into-a-defender to draw a foul technique (this includes, oh, Paul, Rose, Deron, any star PG). There is a long history in the NBA of star players initiating contact (Shaq, Jordan, Kobe, Miller, Durant, Rose, Paul, and, oh yeah, Wade) to draw fouls or establish scoring position. Oh right, there was also Kareem using his off arm to clear out a defender for the skyhook. There is a long history of guys breaking rules--Ewing, Iverson and now Lebron. There's probably other examples out there. I'm sure Rodman did things that were against the rules. I know Karl Malone used to be allowed to throw elbows with impunity--as did Mutumbo.

    It has been going on forever. Either you love the NBA game despite this, or you're in for a lot of frustration.

  8. Chronz Says:

    Is there a way to utilize this information on any of the existing metrics. One of the biggest complaints I hear from Rich Buecher about stats is that they cannot measure the importance of "the moment", in his mighty opinion the ebbs and flow of the game dictate the worth of each PT.

  9. Neil Paine Says:

    #7 - I've always been partial to Ewing's Bunny Hop. The refs knew it was a violation and told him before games to be careful because they were arbitrarily deciding to call it that night (as opposed to other nights where he got off scot-free):

    #8 - You could apply "series leverage" to a player's stats from each game in a series, such that stats from Game 5 would weigh more heavily than stats from Game 1 if Game 5 potentially swings the series outcome more than Game 1.

  10. Raj Says:

    shaq initiated the contact? we must have been watching a different game. what guys did to him every game would be a felony off the court.

  11. huevonkiller Says:

    There are metrics that adjust for league average, this is a non-story.

  12. cort Says:

    i agree with you. i dont think, out of all the big stars mentioned in this blog, that bird got as much star treatment. he didnt drive as much or even have the ball as much, and shot less FTs per game than just about anyone on the list. plus he didnt travel and palm all the time, or slam into defenders his initial moves.
    you are also right, it is frustrating to watch certain guys and teams get away with the violations regularly, while others dont.

  13. cort Says:

    shaq initiated the contact with his shoulder drop, sometimes with his elbows too. then he traveled - after a 3 second violation went uncalled. his skills were not well developed. put the international lane in and call him for offensive fouls, 3 seconds and traveling and he wouldnt even be a good NBA center. no shooting range, bad FT shooter, limited moves. but the NBA needed a big perosnality to sell after bird/johnson retired, right when shaq entered the league, other than jordan.
    older centers that get little respect today like jack sikma, willis reed, dave cowens and arvydas sabonis were far more skilled than shaq. ewing was better too. shaq just ran over everybody until about 5 years ago when he ran out of gas, the refs quit giving him the calls and he was so out of shape. his only motivation was to beat kobe in rings but he helped ruin good teams in phoenix, cleveland and boston by being unusable and collecting fat paychecks while in severe decline and hurt a lot.
    shaq is a funny guy, by most accounts pretty nice as far as NBA stars go and was entertaining, and he sold a lot of advertising time and jerseys, but he really was more of a cartoon character than a great player. plus his NUMEROUS self proclaimed nicknames bespoke of a pretty self absorbed attitude, basically an adolescent who needed constant attention. when someone that huge is not very mean or aggressive, people are just glad he doesnt run over them and treat him better than they should out of fear that he might get ticked off.
    read tim donaghy's book. he talked about how shaq schmoozed the refs into taking the air out of the game ball before games to make his hard shot softer. donaghy says he spent a lot of time looking for women in the crowd before games instead of working on his skills. he really didnt have a lot of heart or competitiveness in the face of adversity. look at hopw many times his teams rolled over and got swept out of the playoffs. it was quite often. i bet his teams got swept as much or more than any big star ever.
    oh and he was a good actor too lol.

  14. cort Says:

    and the media gave shaq very positive coverage because he was quotable and entertaining. his last 2 all-star appearances, 2007 for miami and 2009 in phoenix, were basically late-career gifts that reflect a lack of quality centers in the league than his performance. 17 ppg and 7-8 rpg are nice numbers, but not all-star level when you cant move or play defense. shaq never learned how to even defend or help on pick and rolls. no lateral movement and he refused ot hedge out.

  15. cort Says:

    what a great comeback by dallas and dirk. two pretty lefty shots and a 3 in the final minute or so. marion wanted no part of the 3 on 1 fast break lol that tied it 90-90. that was the reverse of dallas blowing game 3 with a 2-0 lead in 2006. could really be the difference now with mavs going back home for 3 in a row. i bet cleveland is happy!

  16. cort Says:

    game 2 2011 might be your biggest collapse now. best way to beat miami is to get them to lose focus and play halfcourt offense - and they celebrated too soon when they got up 88-73. now they are in trouble and dissension and doubt may set in after blowing a 2-0 lead. i think dirk had the last 9 points by dallas. wow. incredible finish. i dont think the heat will continue to shoot that well outside and with the next 3 in dallas, mavs should at least be up 3-2 after the games in texas.

  17. sean Says:

    @ #7...

    Yes, there are other examples. To ME, they are of a significantly LESS extreme level. The sharp elbows and push offs are not equal to Shaq's 'dribble/ slam' approach. Someone intimated that SHAQ was a victim of the rough stuff---and that's partly TRUE, as opponents fouled him HARD... but the Hack-a-Shaq defense came about AFTER the officials made it clear to opponents that Shaq was going to be permitted to slam into them with no repercussion until he was close enough to dunk on them. The NBA did a TERRIBLE (in your best Barkley)job officiating Shaq. The cop out by the apologists was: 'he's so hard to officiate because he's so big and strong'----which was bull----once Shaq was no longer needed as a torchbearer for the NBA, he stopped being 'allowed' to play that way. Her would refer to it as 'not being allowed to play his power game'--------of course it was just him being officiated properly. Wilt and Yao never acted like mentally deficient rhinos even though they were big-----and no official complained that they couldn't officiate them----those players never bowled people over illegally, so there was never the problem that Shaq presented. JMO.

    With traveling, YES, the Ewing bunny hop is documented. The Iverson 'carry' spread like wildfire throughout the league. The NBA has looked the other way before as well as shamelessly tried to 'create more offense' by allowing rules violations (or changing things like moving the 3 point line IN)-----I also remember Parish taking shuffling little baby steps that nobody called. But IMO, LeBron's transgressions are far and away ther most obvious, ridiculous, 'advantageous to the transgressor' traveling violations I have seen REPEATEDLY ignored. He is the new torchbearer---and they're allowing him to mock the rules. He literally RUNS through the lane with the ball in both hands---when he's not hopping and mixing in horsey-gallop steps. It looks awful and the league office would probably be smart to stop it. You can't have your NBA's present day icon and challenger to the imaginary GOAT title be so obviously bogus. Everyone sees it. More and more people comment on it. Even Dr. Jack Ramsay last night with Mike Tirico. They all know he's traveling.

  18. huevonkiller Says:

    Dude stop complaining your ideas are annoying, Wade gets called for a bunch of turnovers at a ridiculous rate. Higher than LeBron and Kobe, what is your excuse?

    You can take 3 steps, people don't even know the rules. The NBA allows you to finish your dribble with a step, then take two more strides. It looks like traveling to a lot of uneducated people.

  19. huevonkiller Says:

    You haven't addressed anything, various other metrics adjust for league average. The supposed rule changes you are so upset about.

    Stop, you have no case.

  20. Raj Says:


    "older centers that get little respect today like jack sikma, willis reed, dave cowens and arvydas sabonis were far more skilled than shaq. ewing was better too. shaq just ran over everybody until about 5 years ago when he ran out of gas"

    this is my least favorite argument in basketball. who cares if you have more overall and different skills if those skills don't add up to more than 1 guy's dominant skill? why on earth should shaq have ever learned to shoot 18 footers with a lower percentage of success than dunking on everyone? not one of the guy's you mentioned (with possibly the exception of USSR-era Sabonis) was anywhere near shaq's level. if that's due exclusively to the fact that shaq was clearly more physically gifted than they were (and given cowen's appalingly low TSP% for anyone, much less a big), so be it. But then, to take the argument to its most extreme conclusion, doesn't it hold that the reason that main reason Sikma, Reed, Cowens and Sabonis were successful at all to start with basketball is that they had a combination of height and agility that 99.9999% of the population will never approach? Just because Shaq represented some level beyond them is a ridiculous reason to have scorn for how he played.

  21. sean Says:

    You can take 3 steps, people don't even know the rules. The NBA allows you to finish your dribble with a step, then take two more strides. It looks like traveling to a lot of uneducated people.>>>>>>>>>>

    Section XIII Page 37 of the 2010-2011 NBA Rulebook says you get 2 steps upon completion of a dribble. I didn't see anyone talking about steps while you're still dribbling.

  22. huevonkiller Says:

    Lol Sean it doesn't surprise me, you can take a step to END your dribble.

    You don't know jack.