Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Milwaukee Bucks hope second half of season includes more historic feats

Can Jason Kidd and the Bucks continue their historic season?

Can Jason Kidd and the Bucks continue their historic season?

After a 2013-14 NBA season that included only 15 wins and 67 losses, the Milwaukee Bucks this season have certainly made the league take notice as they have been one of the biggest surprises this campaign. They won their 30th game of the season just prior to the All-Star break and in the process became the first team in NBA history to double their win total from one season to the next before the All-Star break.

With a 30-23 record at the All-Star break and 29 games remaining in the 2014-15 season, the Bucks have their sites set on a few more historic feats.

* With 10 wins in the second half of the season, the Bucks would become only the third team in NBA history to go from less than 20 wins one year to 40 or more the next. The other two:
Denver Nuggets, 2002-03, 2003-04: Went from 17 wins in 2003 to 43 in 2004
Miami Heat, 2007-08, 2008-09: Went from 15 wins in 2008 to 43 in 2009
With 14 wins in their final 29 games, the Bucks would have the most wins the following season in NBA history by a team that finished with less than 20 wins the previous year.

* In 1968-69, the Bucks won only 27 games. The following year they won 56, much to the credit of drafting Lew Alcindor out of UCLA. He led the 1969-70 Bucks with 28.8 points per game and 14.5 rebounds per contest. The 29-win gain over the previous season is the biggest in the team’s history. For this year’s squad to top that mark they would need to go 15-14 in their final 29 games, a very doable task.

The NBA record for most wins over the previous season is 42, held by the Boston Celtics. Boston in 2006-07 won only 24 games. The following season, with the additions of veterans Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics won 66 games, a 42-win increase over the previous season, most in NBA history. To tie the NBA mark of a 42-win improvement, the Bucks would have to go 27-2 in their final 29 games, a monumental, unlikely climb. But the Bucks could make their way into the Top 6 of the greatest win improvements in league history by reaching 45 wins, again, by winning 15 of their last 29 games. An 18-11 finish (to end the season 48-34) would give them a 33-win improvement and but them in a tie for the fourth-best win improvement in NBA history.

Here’s a look at the 12 teams in NBA history that have increased their win total by 25 or more wins over the previous season (Note: these season totals do not include the 1998-99 and 2011-12 seasons which were both shortened due to strikes, thus the total number of games played were not consistent with the previous and subsequent seasons).

Win improvement over previous season, Team, Years
42 – Boston Celtics, 2006-07 to 2007-08
36 – San Antonio Spurs, 1996-97 to 1997-98
35 – San Antonio Spurs, 1988-89 to 1989-90
33 – Phoenix Suns, 2003-04 to 2004-05
32 – Boston Celtics, 1978-79 to 1979-80
29 – Milwaukee Bucks, 1968-69 to 1969-70
28 – Miami Heat, 2007-08 to 2008-09
27 – Oklahoma City Thunder, 2008-09 to 2009-10
27 – Phoenix Suns, 1987-88 to 1988-89
26 – Denver Nuggets, 2002-03 to 2003-04
26 – New Jersey Nets, 200-01 to 2001-02
25 – Chicago Bulls, 1994-95 to 1995-96

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NBA’s prolific scorers: Who passed?

 

Antawn Jamison

Antawn Jamison

Back in December, Antawn Jamison of the Los Angeles Clippers scored his 20,000th point in the NBA, becoming the 40th player to do so in league history.

Jamison, a two-time All-Star, has fashioned a nice 16-year career in the NBA playing for six different teams. He has averaged 15 points per game in 12 of his 16 seasons.

One thing you notice about Jamison’s career, however, is that his assist totals are not as significant as his point totals. In fact, Jamison’s career assists per-game average is 1.6 per game. Of the 40 players who have scored 20,000 or more career points in the NBA, Jamison ranks 38th in that category. Only Moses Malone and Robert Parrish have a lower career assists per-game average of those 40 players.

At the other end of the list is Oscar Robertson. The “Big O” averaged 9.5 assists per game in his career while scoring 27,610 points in a 14-year career.

Following is a look at the 40 players who have scored 20,000 or more career points in an NBA career and their career assists per-game average.

Oscar Robertson 9.5

LeBron James 6.9; Gary Payton 6.7; Jerry West 6.7; Larry Bird 6.3; Allen Iverson 6.2

Clyde Drexler 5.6; Michael Jordan 5.3

Kobe Bryant 4.8; John Havlicek 4.8; Wilt Chamberlain 4.4; Elgin Baylor 4.3; Hal Greer 4.0

Charles Barkley 3.9; Kevin Garnett 3.8; Paul Pierce 3.7; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 3.6; Vince Carter 3.6; Alex English 3.6; Karl Malone 3.6; Mitch Richmond 3.5; Ray Allen 3.4; Carmelo Anthony 3.1; Tim Duncan 3.1; Adrian Dantley 3.0; Reggie Miller 3.0; Bob Pettit 3.0

George Gervin 2.6; Dirk Nowitzki 2.6; Hakeem Olajuwon 2.5; Shaquille O’Neal 2.5; David Robinson 2.5; Dominique Wilkins 2.5; Walt Bellamy 2.4; Tom Chambers 2.1

Patrick Ewing 1.9; Elvin Hayes 1.8; Antawn Jamison 1.6; Robert Parrish 1.4; Moses Malone 1.3

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Yankees keep big lead in MLB ‘Team of the Century’ race

Yankees

In this blog over the past few months I have written about the New England Patriots having the best record of all NFL teams since 2000, thus leading the unofficial “NFL Team of the Century” race. Well, here’s a look at the major league baseball “Team of the Century” race.

The New York Yankees hold the top spot with the best record of all MLB teams since 2000. The Yankees are 1421-1005 (a .586 winning percentage) in games this century. They have a 58.5 game lead over the second place St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards have the best record since 2000 in the National League over the Atlanta Braves. (Note: Only 11 of the 30 MLB teams have a winning record this century.)

Following is a look at the record of each MLB team this century.

New York Yankees 1421-1005 .586
St. Louis 1364-1065 .562
Atlanta 1341-1087 .552
Boston 1336-1093 .550
Anaheim 1331-1099 .548
Oakland 1323-1105 .545
Los Angeles Dodgers 1296-1133 .534
San Francisco 1291-1136 .532
Philadelphia 1276-1153 .525
Chicago White Sox 1245-1186 .512
Minnesota 1222-1209 .503

Texas 1213-1218 .499
Cleveland 1210-1220 .498
Toronto 1201-1228 .494
Seattle 1198-1232 .493
New York Mets 1198-1230 .493
Arizona 1190-1240 .490
Cincinnati 1184-1246 .487
Detroit 1176-1254 .484
Florida 1171-1257 .482
San Diego 1159-1272 .477
Chicago Cubs 1153-1275 .475
Milwaukee 1153-1276 .475
Montreal 1140-1288 .470
Tampa Bay 1140-1288 .470
Houston 1140-1289 .469
Colorado 1129-1302 .464
Baltimore 1107-1321 .456
Pittsburgh 1071-1356 .441
Kansas City 1057-1373 .435

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Changing of the guard atop NBA divisions

Memphis Grizzlies Poster

When you open your sports page, take a look at the NBA standings. Notice anything strange? You should. To use a much-overused phrase… “There is a new sheriff in town.” In fact, four of the six teams leading their division have not won a divisional title this century!

The four teams, Atlanta, Golden State, Memphis and Portland, are not just leading their divisions as of February 5, but a few are “running away” with their first-place positions. In the Southeast Division, the Atlanta Hawks have a 10.5 game lead; in the Pacific Division, the Golden State Warriors have opened up a 7.5 game lead; in the Southwest Division, Memphis has a three-game lead; and in the Northwest Division, the Portland Trailblazers have a 8.5 game lead.

For Memphis, they have never won a divisional title since they came into the league in 1995-96. The Warriors, however, have had an even longer wait: They have not won a division crown since 1976. Atlanta could be looking at their first division title since 1994, while the Trailblazers have not won a title since 1999.

Following are the last times each NBA franchise has won a division title.

Never (came into the league in 1988-89): Charlotte
Never (came into the league in 1995-96): Memphis

1976: Golden State
1979: Washington
1994: Atlanta, Houston
1999: Portland
2001: Milwaukee, Philadelphia
2003: Sacramento
2004: Minnesota
2006: Brooklyn
2007: Phoenix
2008: Detroit, New Orleans, Utah
2010: Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Orlando
2012: Boston, Chicago, L.A. Lakers
2013: N.Y. Knicks
2014: Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Toronto

It’s also interesting to note that two other teams that have not won a division title since 2000, Houston and Washington, are currently positioned in second place in their respective divisions: the Wizards are second to Atlanta in the Southeast, while the Rockets are in second place behind Memphis.

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Undrafted rookies steal spotlight at Super Bowl 49

 

Malcolm Butler made the play of the game for the Patriots in their Super Bowl 49 win

Malcolm Butler made the play of the game for the Patriots in their Super Bowl 49 win

Let’s start this blog with a trivia quiz… Twelve different players have been named Super Bowl MVP and have won the league MVP award (AP Player of the Year). How many of the 12 can you name? Hint: There are nine quarterbacks and three running backs on this list. Answer appears at the end of the post.

Tom Brady won his third Super Bowl MVP in New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl 49. A pair of undrafted rookies (one from each team), however, stole the spotlight. In fact, had the Seahawks held on to win that game, there was a good chance that the undrafted rookie from the Seahawks could have been named the game’s MVP.

First, Chris Matthews, an undrafted receiver from the University of Kentucky, did not have a reception in his career prior to Super Bowl 49. At the end of the game, he had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown reception for Seattle. He became only the third rookie receiver to have 100 receiving yards in a Super Bowl. Here’s a look at the three players who had 100 or more receiving yards in the Super Bowl in a rookie season (year is the actual year the game was played).

Player, Team, Year, Catches/Receiving Yards
Chris Matthews, Seattle, 2015, four catches/109 yards
Torry Holt, St. Louis, 2000, seven catches/109 yards
Cris Collinsworth, Cincinnati, 1982, five catches/107 yards

Matthews also became the eighth rookie player to have a receiving TD in the Super Bowl. The eight: Matthews, Seattle, 2015; Holt, St. Louis, 2000; William Floyd, San Francisco, 1995; Ricky Nattiel, Denver, 1988; Charlie Brown, Washington, 1983; Sammy White, Minnesota, 1977; Percy Howard, Dallas, 1976; Duane Thomas, Dallas, 1971.

On the other side of the ball, New England’s Malcolm Butler, an undrafted defensive back from West Alabama, made the big play of the game with an interception at the goal-line in the closing seconds of the game. It was Butler’s first career interception. Butler became the sixth rookie player to intercept a pass in the Super Bowl. The six: Butler, New England, 2015; Bill Romanowski, San Francisco, 1989; Brian Davis, Washington, 1988; Jim Morrissey, Chicago, 1986; Reggie Phillips, Chicago, 1986; Eric Wright, San Francisco, 1982.

Trivia answer: The 12 players who have won a Super Bowl MVP and a league MVP (AP Player of the Year honor) in their career are Marcus Allen, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers, Emmitt Smith, Bart Starr, Kurt Warner, Steve Young.

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