Does Miami Heat’s 66-win regular season guarantee an NBA title?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
The Miami Heat began the 2013 NBA Finals with a 92-88 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
The Heat this season became the 14th team in NBA history to win 80 percent or more of their regular season games. The last team to do so were the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008-09 (more on that team in a minute) who also won 66 games that year.
The Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder this past season became the 67th and 68th teams in league history to win 60 or more games in a campaign.
So we have to ask the question: Does the 66-win season (with a winning percentage of .805) guarantee the Heat a championship? Well, based on past history, maybe not. Of the previous 13 teams to win 80 percent or more of their regular-season games, nine won the title that season. The last team to compile a regular-season winning percentage of .800 or better and not win the crown that season were the 2008-09 Cavs. They were ousted from the 2009 playoffs by the Orlando Magic four games to two in the conference finals. (dare we ask if history could repeat itself for LeBron?)
Following are the 14 teams that won 80 percent or more of their games in a season and how well they did in the playoffs that year.
Team, winning percentage, playoffs that year
1995-96 Chicago Bulls .878 (won title)
1996-97 Chicago Bulls .841 (won title)
1971-72 L.A. Lakers .841 (won title)
1966-67 Philadelphia .840 (won title)
1972-73 Boston .829 (lost to the Knicks in the conference finals)
2006-07 Dallas .817 (lost in the first round of the playoffs to Golden State)
1999-2000 L.A. Lakers .817 (won title)
1985-86 Boston .817 (won title)
1991-92 Chicago .817 (won title)
1946-47 Washington Capitals .817 (lost in the semis to the Chicago Stags)
1970-71 Milwaukee .805 (won title)
2007-08 Boston .805 (won title)
2008-09 Cleveland .805 (lost to the Magic in the conference finals)
2012-13 Miami .805 (????????????)
Note: Here’s another interesting stat… 27 different teams won 63 or more games in an NBA regular season (that includes the 2012-13 Miami Heat). Of the other 26 teams, 13 won the NBA title that year; three lost in the NBA Finals; six lost in the conference finals; two lost in the conference semis; and two lost in the first round of the playoffs.
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99 Stats Until Kickoff: Can an NFL season be saved after an 0-2 start?
(From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)
Two weeks does not an NFL season make. However, losing both games the first two weeks of a new season has not been a good omen over the past few years.
In 2012, six teams started the season 0-2. Of those teams, the Kansas City Chiefs also started the 2011 season 0-2. Two teams, New Orleans and Oakland, had not been 0-2 after Week Two since 2007. The other 0-2 teams were Cleveland, Jacksonville and Tennessee.
In 2011, seven teams started the season 0-2. None of those teams made the playoffs. The same thing happened in 2012; none of the six teams that started 0-2 made the 2012 playoffs. In fact, no team that started the season 0-2 has made the playoffs in the last four seasons (more on that in a moment). All seven of the 2011 teams that started 0-2 finished the season under .500; all six of the 0-2 teams from 2012 also finished under .500 for the season.
Here are the six teams that in 2012 started 0-2 (also noted is their final season record):
2012 season 0-2 Teams, Final record
Kansas City: 2-14
New Orleans: 7-9
As I mentioned above, no 0-2 team has made the playoffs since 2009. Since 2006, there have been only five teams that have started 0-2 that have made the playoffs. They were:
2008: Minnesota, Miami and San Diego
2007: New York Giants
2006: Kansas City
The Denver Broncos are the only NFL team that has not gone 0-2 this century. The Broncos last started a season 0-2 in 1999.
Following is the last season in which each NFL team started 0-2.
2012: Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, Oakland, Tennessee
2011: Carolina, Indianapolis, Miami, Minnesota, Seattle, St. Louis
2010: Buffalo, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco
2009: Tampa Bay
2008: Cincinnati, San Diego
2007: Atlanta, New York Giants (won Super Bowl that season), New York Jets, Philadelphia
2006: Green Bay, Houston, Washington
2005: Arizona, Baltimore
2001: New England (won Super Bowl that season)
Note: Of the 84 playoff teams from the seven seasons spanning 2006-2012, 36 were 2-0 to start the season that playoff year, 43 were 1-1 and only five started 0-2 and made the playoffs. Last year, of the 12 playoff teams, three (Atlanta, Houston and San Francisco) started the year 2-0 and nine split their first two games.
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