NBA playoffs: A look at the first-round series stats

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

2007 NBA Playoffs logo.

2007 NBA Playoffs logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each of the opening games in the first-round playoff series in the 2013 NBA playoffs went as planned as each of the higher seeds won the first game of the series.

Since 2003, the NBA playoff format has been 16 teams playing a best-of-seven series in the first round. There have been 80 first-round series since ’03, with the lower seed winning only 20 percent of those series that feature match-ups of the #1-#8 seeds, #2-#7 seeds, #3-#6 seeds and #4-#5 seeds.

Here’s a look at how many games (and series) the lower seeds have won since 2003 in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Seed Match-up, Games won by lower seed (series won by lower seed)

#1 seed vs. #8 seed: #8 seed has won 29 games, 1.45 per series (the #8 seed has won three series since 2003)

#2 seed vs. #7 seed: #7 seed has won 27 games, 1.35 per series (the #7 seed has won one series since 2003)

#3 seed vs. #6 seed: #6 seed has won 43 games, 2.15 per series (the #6 seed has won five series since 2003)

#4 seed vs. #5 seed: #5 seed has won 53 games, 2.65 per series (the #5 seed has won seven series since 2003)

Note:

* Of the 16 lower seeds that have won a first-round series since 2003, none won their next series in the playoffs.

* In the 10 years with this current format, only two years (2004 and 2008) saw all eight of the higher seeds win the first-round match-ups. In 2007, three lower seeds won series, most in the 10 years.

* The last #8 seed to win a first-round series was last year when the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls; the last #7 seed to win a first-round series was in 2010 when San Antonio beat Dallas; the last #6 seed to win a first-round series was 2009 when Dallas defeated San Antonio; the last #5 seed to win a first-round series was in 2012 when the L.A. Clippers beat #4 seed Memphis.

* Fourteen first-round series since 2003 have been a four-game sweep. Eleven first-round series since ’03 have gone seven games.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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