Monthly Archives: November, 2013

Could we have a sub-.500 division champion in the NBA this season?

Photo of game between Boston Celtics and Miami...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are an NBA fan, you probably noticed this morning that not one of the teams in the Atlantic Division has a winning record. The Toronto Raptors sit atop that division with a 5-7 record; they are the only team with a winning percentage over .400 in the division, and they are the only team that is in first place in their division with a wining percentage under .700.

Chances are the winner of the Atlantic Division will not be a team with a sub-.500 record. But it does raise the question of what has been the worst winning percentage of a division winner in the NBA?

To answer that question we go back to the 2004-05 NBA season when the league went to the current six-division format with five teams in each division. Since then we have had six teams win a division title with a winning percentage under .600. They are:

2004-05: Boston, 45-37 .549
2005-06: Denver, 44-38 .537
2005-06: New Jersey Nets, 49-33 .598
2006-07: Miami, 44-38 .537
2006-07: Toronto, 47-35 .573
2011-12: Boston, 39-27 .591

Of these six teams above, four of them did not make it out of the first round of the playoffs in that season. The 2005-06 Nets won their first round series that season but lost in the next round. The 2011-12 Celtics actually made it to the conference finals, but lost in that round in seven games to the eventual champions, the Miami Heat.

Let’s flip it around a bit… how about the teams that had the best records of those that finished in last place in their division. This season, the New Orleans Pelicans are in last place in the Southwest Division with a 5-6 record (a winning percentage of .455) Note: Their last-place record would be good enough for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Here are the last-place teams in a division that had the best records (since 2004-05).

.524 (43-39) Houston Rockets, 2010-11

.488 (40-42) Milwaukee Bucks, 2005-06

.451 (37-45) New Orleans Hornets, 2009-10

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‘Six Stats’ you might not know about… Scott Tolzien’s debut as Packers starting QB

Scott Tolzien with his dad and mom

Scott Tolzien (Photo credit: eytonz)

When former University of Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien started at QB for the Packers last Sunday against the New York Giants, he became the 25th different QB to make his debut as starting QB for the Packers since 1960. Tolzien was only the fifth QB to make his debut as the Pack’s starting signal-caller since 1992 (Seneca Wallace, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Brett Favre). From 1960 to 1991, 20 different QBs made their debut as the starting QB for the Packers. This was the first year since 1990 that two or more players made their debut as a starting QB for the Packers. In 1990, Anthony Dilweg and Blair Kiel both made their first starts at QB for Green Bay.

Here’s a look at six stats from Tolzien’s debut and how it matches up against the other 24 starters.

1. Since 1960, when the Pack has started a new QB, the team has won 12, lost 12 and tied one. Tolzien and Wallace both lost their starts this season; Rodgers won his first Packers start in 2008, making his the last Packers QB to make his debut as a starter in a winning contest. The starting QBs who won their Packers debut: Rodgers (2008), Favre (1992), Dilweg (1990), Alan Risher (1987), Randy Wright (1984), Randy Johnson (1976), John Hadl (1974), Jerry Tagge (1973), Scott Hunter (1971), Don Horn (1969), Zeke Bratkowski (1964), John Roach (1963). Those players who lost their first start as the Packers’ QB: Tolzien (2013), Wallace (2013), Matt Flynn (2010), Mike Tomczak (1991), Kiel (1990), Jim Zorn (1985), David Whitehurst (1977), Lynn Dickey (1976), Carlos Brown (1976), Don Milan (1975), Jack Concannon (1974), Jim Del Gaizo (1973). Don Majkowski started his first Packers game in 1987; that game ended in a tie.

2. Tolzien’s 24 completions against the Giants is tied for the most completions by a Packers QB making his starting debut. Flynn had 24 completions in his first start in 2010 against New England. The most pass attempts by a player making his debut as Packers starting QB was Tomczak in 1991 when he threw 40 passes in his first starting assignment for the Pack.

3. Tolzien became the fourth QB to have a completion rate over 70% in his Packers starting debut. The others were Wallace (100%… he was 5-for-5 before he was injured in his first start for the Packers), Rodgers (81.8%; he was 18-for-22 in his debut as a starter) and Favre (he completed 73.7% of his passes in his first start for Green Bay).

4. Tolzien became the first QB for the Packers to throw for over 300 passing yards in his first start for the team. He had 339 yards passing in his starting debut against the Giants. Tomczak with 271 yards and Flynn with 251 yards are the only other Packers QBs to have over 250 yards passing in their first start with the team.

5. Tolzien became the fourth Packers QB to throw three interceptions in his starting debut. The others: Whitehurst, Brown and Horn. Flynn and Dilweg are the only Packers QBs to have three TD passes in their debut as a starting QB with the Pack.

6. Tolzien had a Passer Rating of 65.7 in his starting debut. Only four Packers QBs had a Passer Rating over 100 in their first start at QB for the team: Favre (144.6), Dilweg (117.7), Rodgers (115.5) and Flynn (100.2). Three QBs had a Passer Rating under 20 in their starting debut for the Packers: Hunter (11.9), Brown (12.8) and Horn (18.5).

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Lions discover scoring 27 points in a quarter is not enough

Detroit Lions logo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through games of Week #11, teams that have scored 27 or more points in the NFL in 2013 have won 79.5% of their games. So you’d figure that when the Detroit Lions put 27 points on the scoreboard in the second quarter alone in last weekend’s contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, that victory was a cinch…

Unfortunately for the Lions, the 27 points they scored in the second quarter were the only points they scored in the game. The Steelers shutout the Lions 17-0 in the second half and went on to defeat the Lions 37-27.

By scoring 27 or more points in a quarter and losing the game, the Lions became only the ninth team in NFL history to “accomplish” this rare feat. In fact, teams that scored 27-plus points in a quarter are now 170-8 (a winning percentage of 95.5) in those games. The last team to lose a game after scoring 27-plus points in a quarter were the Houston Texans on October 21, 2007. They scored 29 in the fourth quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans although they eventually lost the contest 38-36. The last team to lose a game after scoring 27-plus points in the second quarter (prior to the Lions) was Baltimore on December 21, 1980; they scored 28 points in the second quarter of a 38-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Here’s a look at the record of teams that scored 27-plus points in a quarter.
First Quarter: 19-0 (last team were the Chicago Bears on 11/4/2012)
Second Quarter: 94-3 (last team were the Detroit Lions on 11/17/2013)
Third Quarter: 12-0 (last team were the Carolina Panthers on 9/10/1995)
Fourth Quarter: 45-5 (last team were the New England Patriots on 11/3/2013)

The Lions also became only the seventh team in league history to score 27 or more points in a quarter and have those points be the only points they scored in a game. The seven teams:

Detroit, 11/17/2013: Scored 27 points in the second quarter for their only points in the game)
Green Bay, 12/20/1992: Scored 28 points in the second quarter for their only points in the game)
Minnesota, 12/1/1985: Scored 28 points in the fourth quarter for their only points in the game)
Atlanta, 9/13/1981: Scored 31 points in the fourth quarter for their only points in the game)
Baltimore, 12/21/1980: Scored 28 points in the second quarter for their only points in the game)
Houston, 11/23/1980: Scored 28 points in the fourth quarter for their only points in the game)
San Diego, 11/15/1964: Scored 28 points in the second quarter for their only points in the game)

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SIX STATS Trivia: MLB’s MVP Award winners

English: Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium.

Miguel Cabrera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detroit‘s Miguel Cabrera and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutcheon were selected as the A.L. and N.L. MVPs for the 2013 baseball season. How well do you know trivia about MLB’s most valuable players? Take this quick quiz. Answers appear at the end of the column.

1. Since 1983 there have been 16 occasions when the league MVP and the Manager of the Year came from the same team. It has not, however, happened since 2001. Can you name the player and manager from the same team that won those honors in 2001? Hint: The team was the Seattle Mariners. Can you name the National League player and manager from the same team that won those honors last in the N.L. (it happened in 2000). Hint: The team was the San Francisco Giants.

2. Both of this year’s MVPs did not see their team advance to the World Series. Name the last year that the A.L. and N.L. MVPs also appeared in the World Series that season.

3. With Cabrera winning the A.L. MVP this year, it was the third consecutive year that a Detroit Tiger won the award (Cabrera won in 2012 and Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander was the A.L. MVP in 2011.) Since the beginning of the MVP awards, the MVP has come from the same team in three (or more) consecutive years nine times. The 1975-77 Cincinnati Reds were one of those teams. Here’s the question: From 1970-77, a player from the Reds won the N.L. MVP six times in those eight years. Can you name the four Reds players who won an N.L. MVP from 1970-77?

4. Cabrera this season became the 30th player in MLB history to win the MVP more than once. Of those 30 players, 22 are currently in the Hall of Fame, three (Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Cabrera) are still active players. Can you name the remaining five players who won multiple MVP awards who are not in baseball’s Hall of Fame?

5. Since 1970 only five catchers have won a league MVP. Name the five.

6. Going back to 1990, there are nine current MLB franchises that have not had one of their players win a league MVP. Can you name those nine teams?

SIX STATS Trivia answers.
1. Seattle Mariners manager Lou Piniella and player Ichiro Suzuki won the honors in the A.L. in 2001. Giant’s manager Dusty Baker and infielder Jeff Kent were the N.L. honorees in 2000.

2. The last time the league MVPs squared off in the World Series was in 2012 when the Giants faced the Tigers. Giants’ catcher Buster Posey was the N.L. MVP; Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera was the 2012 A.L. MVP.

3. The four Cincinnati Reds players who won N.L. MVP honors from 1970-1977 were: Johnny Bench (1970, 1972), Pete Rose (1973), Joe Morgan (1975, 1976) and George Foster (1977).

4, The five multiple MVP winners (non-active players) who are not in the Hall of Fame are Barry Bonds, Juan Gonzalez, Roger Maris, Dale Murphy and Frank Thomas.

5. The five catchers selected as league MVPs since 1970 are Johnny Bench (1970, 1972), Thurman Munson (1976), Ivan Rodriguez (1999), Joe Mauer (2009) and Buster Posey (2012).

6. The nine teams/franchises that have not had a league MVP since 1990: Arizona, Cleveland, Kansas City, L.A. Dodgers, Miami, N.Y. Mets, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Washington.

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Could Kevin Love become the NBA’s first 30-15 player in 40 years?

Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11

Kevin Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With 28 points and 10 rebounds, Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love last night had the 20oth double-double of his career in his team’s 117-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Since coming into the NBA in 2008-09 out of UCLA, Love has the third most double-doubles in the league behind Dwight Howard (290) and David Lee (241).

But Love’s play this season, averaging 27.2 points and 13.8 rebounds per game after 10 games, raises the question: Could Love average 30 points and 15 rebounds in an NBA season?

Through the first 10 games, Love has reached 30 points and 15 rebounds in the same game three times. Only one other player, Nikola Vucevic has one 30-15 game this season in the NBA. Love now has 21 games in his career where he scored 30 or more points and collected 15 or more boards in the same contest. Since 2008-09, that is the second most in the league behind Howard. Here’s a look at the players who have had the most 30-15 games since 2008-09.

30-15 games since 2008-09, Player(s)
23: Dwight Howard
21: Kevin Love
13: Zach Randolph
8: Chris Bosh
5: Al Jefferson, David Lee
4: Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki

Scoring 30 or more points in a game with 15 or more rebounds is one thing… averaging 30-15 for the season in quite an accomplishment. In fact, the last player to average 30-15 in an NBA season was 40 years ago when Bob McAdoo averaged 30.6 points and 15.1 rebounds per game during the 1973-74 season. Since then the closest player to achieve this milestone was Moses Malone in 1981-82 when he averaged 31.1 points and 14.7 boards.

Even if we drop the parameters down a bit to averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds a game in a season, there are just a few players who have achieved those numbers. Through the first 10 games of this season, Love would make the list. Can he keep up this pace and finish at 27-13?

If Love ended the season averaging 27-13, he would become only the 11th player in NBA history to reach these numbers. Following are the 10 players who averaged 27 points-13 rebounds in an NBA season (listed in parenthesis are the number of seasons with 27-13). Wilt Chamberlain (8), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (7), Bob Pettit (5), Elgin Baylor (4), Elvin Hayes (3), Walt Bellamy (2), Moses Malone (2), Bob McAdoo (2), Shaquille O’Neal (2), Bob Pettit (1). The last player to reach 27-13 in a season was Shaq in 1999-2000 when he averaged 29.7 points and 13.6 rebounds per contest.

Pretty impressive company if Love should retain his early-season numbers… other than O’Neal, who will eventually be elected, the other nine players are all members of the Hall of Fame.

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