Today’s Sportstat: May 16, 2019

Home Court Advantage is working in this year’s NBA playoffs

With wins in Game 1 of their respective conference finals, the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, both #1 seeds, took advantage of the home court to start with a 1-0 lead in their series against conference opponents the Portland Trailblazers and Toronto Raptors.

It’s pretty common to hear broadcasters and analysts discuss Home Court Advantage (HCA) in the playoffs. So let’s ask the question: How important is the Home Court Advantage in the NBA playoffs?

Consider this: Of the 12 playoff series that have been held so far, 11 of the 12 (91.7%) were won by the team that had the HCA in the series. (As a matter of reference, the team with the HCA won 10 of the 15 playoff series in 2018… 66.7%).

The only team without the HCA to win a playoff series this year were the 3rd seeded Portland Trailblazers when they defeated the #2 seeded Denver Nuggets. (By the way, if the HCA continues to be a factor in the conference finals series, that’s good news for the Warriors and the Bucks advancing to the NBA Finals this year.)

But that’s this year. Let’s expand the search and see how the HCA numbers have played out in the past 10 NBA playoffs. From 2009-18, there were 150 playoff series in the NBA. The team with the HCA won 110 of those series (73.3%). Let’s break it down by each round of the playoffs…

  • Teams with the HCA in the first round of the NBA playoffs from 2009-18 won the series in 60 of the 80 series (75%).
  • Teams with the HCA in the second round (Conference Semi-finals) of the NBA playoffs from 2009-18 won the series in 32 of the 40 series (80%).
  • Teams with the HCA in the third round (Eastern Conference and Western Conference finals) from 2009-18 won the series in 11 of the 20 series (55%).
  • Teams with the HCA in the NBA Finals from 2009-18 won the series seven of the 10 series (70%).

Based on the above stats from the past 10 years, the HCA numbers were definitely higher this year in 2019 than the cumulative stats from the last 10 years. It also should give cause for keeping a close eye on the conference finals this season since about half of the conference finals in the last 10 years has seen a team with the HCA lose in the conference finals. If that is the case, will it be the Bucks or the Warriors?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Advertisements

Today’s Sportstat: May 13, 2019

Brewers run producers in extra-inning games

On the last two Saturdays, the Brewers have played an 18-inning game and a 15-inning game.

It got me thinking about which Brewers hitters in their history have statistically been the best when the game goes into extra inning. I looked at three stats: home runs, RBI and batting average.

Here are the Brewers with the most home runs and RBI in extra-inning games played by the Brew Crew, and the players with the highest batting average in those extra-inning contests.

Most career extra-inning home runs for the Brewers in extra-inning games

5-Robin Yount, Geoff Jenkins
4-Prince Fielder, Gorman Thomas, Bill Hall
3-Ben Oglivie, Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, Dave May, Rob Deer, Greg Vaughn

Most career Runs Batted In for the Brewers in extra-inning games

20-Robin Yount
17-B.J. Surhoff
15: Ryan Braun, Gorman Thomas
14-Jim Gantner
12-John Jaha
11-Geoff Jenkins, Jeromy Burnitz
10-Ben Oglivie, Ted Simmons

Highest career batting average for the Brewers in extra-inning games
(Minimum of 25 plate appearances in extra-inning games with Brewers)
.464 Tommy Harper
.448 Jose Hernandez
.440 Casey McGehee
.419 Darryl Hamilton
.382 J.J. Hardy
.368 Fernando Vina
.355 Rick Manning

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: May 9, 2019

Giannis doing all this before the age of 25!

In a superlative-filled season, Giannis Antetokounmpo continues leading the Bucks closer to a chance to win an NBA title. The Bucks will be making their first appearance in a conference final since 2001 and hope to get their first finals appearance since losing to the Boston Celtics in 1974.

One thing we might forget about Giannis is that even though he is playing in his sixth NBA season, he is still not yet 25 years of age. He will not turn 25 until December of this year.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to note that Giannis earlier in the playoffs became the third Bucks player under the age of 25 to score 40 or more points in a playoff game. He scored 41 in a first round game against the Detroit Pistons on April 22. The other Bucks to accomplish this feat: Kareem Abdul-Jabber did it twice in his career with Milwaukee (he had 46 in a playoff game in 1970 at the age of 22 years-352 days and did it again two years later with 40 points in a 1972 playoff contest at age 24-362) and Terry Cummings who had 41 points in a 1985 playoff game at the age of 24 years-46 days.

So far in his career, Giannis has had three playoff games where he scored 35 or more points. That makes him one of only 30 NBA players in history to score 35 or more points in three or more playoff games before the age of 25. (He will certainly have a chance to add to that total as the Bucks play in the Eastern Conference Final and beyond this year.)

LeBron James has the most career NBA playoff games with 35+ points before the age of 25 with 15. He is followed by Kevin Durant with 12, Kobe Bryant with 11 and Bob McAdoo with 10. Giannis is one of nine players tied with three games each.

Giannis three 35-point playoff games before the age of 25 ranks second on the Bucks all-time list. Jabbar had six with the Bucks. Cummings had two such games and Marques Johnson and Gary Brokaw each had one game each where they tallied 35 or more points in a playoff game before the age of 25. For the record, Johnson is the youngest Bucks player to have 35 or more points in a playoff game; he had 35 in a 1978 playoff game at the age of 22-74.

Michael Jordan tops the league with the most points scored in a playoff game before the age of 25 with 63. He is followed by Rick Barry (55), Wilt Chamberlain (53), and Vince Carter, Chamberlain, Bob Cousy and Bob McAdoo with 50 points each.

The youngest player to score 35 or more points in a playoff game is Derrick Rose. He was 20 years-196 days when he in 2009 scored 36 in an Eastern Conference first round contest. Magic Johnson is second on this list; he was 20 years-276 days when he scored 42 in Game Six of the 1980 NBA Finals against Philadelphia.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: May 6, 2019

Is scoring four runs or more in a game the key to Brewers success?

This past weekend the Brewers won games by the score of 4-3 (Saturday) and 3-2 (Sunday). These victories represent the best of the success the Brewers have had in 2019. Let me explain…

The Brewers 18-inning 4-3 win over the Mets on Saturday gave the Brew Crew a 17-7 record (.708 winning percentage) in games this season when they score four or more runs in a game.

The team’s 3-2 win on Sunday, gave the club a very modest 3-9 record (.250 winning percentage) in games when they score three or fewer runs in a game, but it upped their record to 13-1 (.929 winning percentage) this season when they hold opponents to three or fewer runs in a contest.

Here’s a quick look at the Brewers records in 2019 games when they score four or more runs, three or fewer runs, and when they allow their opponents to score four or more runs in a game, and when they hold the opposition to three or fewer runs in a game.

Brewers score four or more runs in a game (2019): 17-7 .708
Brewers score three or fewer runs in a game (2019): 3-9 .250
Brewers allow opponents four or more runs in a game (2019): 7-15 .318
Brewers allow opponents three or fewer runs in a game (2019): 13-1 .929

The above win-loss records are surprisingly close to what the Brewers records have been in games over the past three seasons. Following are the records in each of the above four categories from 2016-18, the last three seasons.

Brewers score four or more runs in a game (2016-18): 198-75 .726
Brewers score three or fewer runs in a game (2016-18): 56-157 .263
Brewers allow opponents four or more runs in a game (2016-18): 86-182 .321
Brewers allow opponents three or fewer runs in a game (2016-18): 169-50 .772

As that famous baseball philosopher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh once remarked, “baseball is a simple game… you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.” For the Brewers, that simple statement could be translated to, “score four or more runs in a game and hold your opponents to three runs or less, you’ll win.”

Quite simple, isn’t it?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: May 2, 2019

The Bucks take their playoff show against the Celtics on the road

With two games in Milwaukee resulting in a split for the Bucks and Boston Celtics, the two teams head to Boston for the next two games. The Bucks will need to do what the Celtics did in their two games in Milwaukee… take a least one of the two games on the road, to regain home court advantage.

Winning on the road is not always an easy path to navigate. From the start of the NBA in 1946-47 through the first two games of this year’s second round playoff contests, road teams are a combined 1,368-2,615, a winning percentage of .343, meaning road teams have won about one-third of the playoff games in league history.

Here are some interesting stats concerning playoff road games and how well the Bucks have performed on the road in the post-season and against the Celtics in Boston.

  • Over the past 19 playoff seasons (2000-18), road teams are 550-1009, a .353 winning percentage, just a tad higher than the career .343 winning percentage of road teams in the playoffs noted above.
  • Since 2000, the Cleveland Cavs have the best road playoff winning percentage at .526. They are followed by the Golden State Warriors at .519. Only five other teams have a winning percentage of .400 or better in road playoff games since 2000: San Antonio, the Lakers, Brooklyn, Miami and Phoenix. The Bucks rank 23rd on the list with a road playoff record of 9-28 (.243) since 2000.
  • The Bucks all-time road playoff record is 43-81 (.347).
  • Since 2015, the Bucks are 4-8 in road playoff games; that includes the two road playoff wins against the Detroit Pistons this season.
  • Milwaukee is only 5-15 (.250) in their last 20 road playoff games.
  • The longest road playoff winning streak for the Bucks is six games… the Bucks accomplished that in 1971-72.
  • The Bucks have lost 12 of the last 13 road games in Boston against the Celtics.
  • The last road playoff win for the Bucks versus the Celtics was on May 13, 1987, a 129-124 victory in the Boston Garden.
  • Milwaukee is 5-13 all-time versus the Celtics in playoff games played in Boston.
  • The Bucks won one road playoff game against the Celts in 1987, two in 1983 and two in 1974.
  • The Bucks have won eight of the last 20 regular season games against the Celtics in Boston. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, the Bucks are 7-6 versus the Celtics in away games played in Boston.

What does all this mean? If the series goes to seven games, the Bucks will have to win at least one game of the three remaining in Boston and win both remaining games in Milwaukee to win the series. A win for the Bucks in Boston in either game Three or Game Four is crucial. A pair of losses in Boston would force the Bucks to win the final three games of the series, a formidable task.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp