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Win Probability of Utah Jazz Comebacks

Posted by Neil Paine on November 15, 2010

After five straight improbable comeback victories, I thought now would be a good time to post some Win Probability graphs from the Utah Jazz's recent winning streak. For those curious, the method for WP comes from an old Ed Küpfer post at APBRmetrics, and the play-by-play records come from (or, in the case of Jazz-Heat and Jazz-Bobcats). All WP is from the perspective of Utah, and the numbers at the bottom of the WP graphs represent the minutes remaining in the game.

November 6 - Clippers 107 at Jazz 109 (2OT)

Lowest Jazz WP: 9.3% (Clippers lead 55-37 with 0:51 remaining in 2nd Qtr)

November 9 - Jazz 116 at Heat 114 (OT)

Lowest Jazz WP: 0.0% (Heat lead 104-102 with 0:01 remaining in 4th Qtr)

The WP formula has a few issues at the end of games, an example being that it didn't know Utah had possession and a chance to shoot for a tie at the end of regulation. With that in mind, the lowest Jazz WP before the final minute was 3.2%, when Miami led 53-32 with 11:37 remaining in the 3rd Qtr.

November 10 - Jazz 104 at Magic 94

Lowest Jazz WP: 1.3% (Magic lead 74-56 with 1:17 remaining in 3rd Qtr)

November 12 - Jazz 90 at Hawks 86

Lowest Jazz WP: 8.8% (Hawks lead 74-63 with 11:23 remaining in 4th Qtr)

November 13 - Jazz 96 at Bobcats 95

Lowest Jazz WP: 4.1% (Bobcats lead 71-56 with 2:37 remaining in 3rd Qtr)

With their road trip over and the Thunder coming to town, can the Jazz make it 6 straight unlikely comebacks? And would that even be a good thing? I have a feeling Jerry Sloan would prefer that his team play better in the early stages of the game, making these comebacks from under 10% WP unnecessary.

4 Responses to “Win Probability of Utah Jazz Comebacks”

  1. Jared Ras Says:

    These are really nice and interesting graphs. I'd like to see more infographics like Flip Flop Fly Ball, which would add a cool dimension to the site, and things like this are gold. I noticed that about the 0.0% to beat Miami, too; I'm glad you wrote a disclaimer for that. Possessions are huge in basketball, especially late in games.

  2. edkupfer Says:

    Hey blast from the past.

  3. Neil Paine Says:

    I know, right? And it still actually does a half-decent job in most situations.

  4. dsong Says:

    Cool graphs.

    Utah has had some really cool comebacks lately! With that said, I think it raises a red flag and they might want to avoid the slow starts in the future. It's much easier to win games from the lead!

    As for the actual probabilities - I think in-game betting odds is probably the best metric, but that's hard to find. In any case the comeback against Miami was absolutely ridiculous - as Millsap did his best Larry Bird imitation! Who would've thought?