Monthly Archives: May, 2019

Today’s Sportstat: May 23, 2019

Does sweeping an NBA conference final equal an NBA title?

While the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors will determine the Eastern Conference champs by playing at least a six-game series (and maybe a seven-game series), the Golden State Warriors will have 10 days of rest before their first game in the NBA Finals because they swept the Portland Trailblazers in four games in the Western Conference Finals.

One benefit for the Warriors, as mentioned above, is a full 10 days rest before Game One of the NBA Finals. That will help Golden State as they hope that extended period will allow Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins to get healthy and be able to play in the title series. But with their four-game sweep in the conference finals, the obvious questions is… historically speaking, is sweeping a conference finals series a good omen for the finals?

First, the Warriors became the 18th team in NBA history to sweep a conference finals series 4-0 since the format was changed to a best-of-seven series in 1958. Of the previous 17 times when a team won a conference series 4-0, they went on to win the NBA Finals nine times (and lost in the NBA Finals eight times). Of the 18 times that a team has swept an opponent in the conference finals, 13 times it happened in the Western Conference, five times in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It’s interesting to note that of the 17 times that a team advanced to the NBA Finals after a four-game sweep in the conference finals, not once has that team also swept their opponent in four games straight in the NBA Finals. In 1989, however, the Los Angeles Lakers won the Western Conference Finals in a four-game sweep of Phoenix and then were the victims of a sweep in four games by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.

Here’s a quick look at the nine teams that won an NBA championship after a four-game sweep in the conference finals, and the eight teams that after a four-game sweep in the conference finals then lost the next series in the NBA Finals.

Won NBA title after a four-game sweep in the conference finals: 1977-Portland, 1982-L.A. Lakers, 1986-Boston, 1987-L.A. Lakers, 1991-Chicago, 1996-Chicago, 1999-San Antonio, 2001-L.A. Lakers, 2017-Golden State.

Lost in the NBA Finals after a four-game sweep in the conference finals: 1968-L.A. Lakers, 1970-L.A. Lakers, 1974-L.A. Lakers, 1989-L.A. Lakers, 1998-Utah, 2003-N.J. Nets, 2013-San Antonio, 2015-Cleveland.

Will the 2019 Golden State Warriors repeat what they did in 2017 with an NBA Finals series win after sweeping in the conference finals? Could they become the first team to win an NBA title by sweeping their opponents in the conference finals and the NBA Finals?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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Today’s Sports Stat: May 20, 2019

Most starts by a Brewers pitcher without a complete game

It’s pretty obvious that complete games are a dying breed in baseball. It is rare that a starting pitcher goes nine innings and gets credited with a complete game,

The Brewers are certainly one of those teams that use their bullpen quite a bit during the season. Through games of May 20, the Brewers are one of 17 teams this year that does not have a complete game by one of its pitchers. (In fact, the Brewers last complete game by a pitcher happened in 2017.) There have been only 15 complete games so far in the majors; in 2018, the Cleveland Indians led the majors with five complete games. There were nine of the 30 teams that did not have a complete game in 2018.

Zach Davies, who has been the Brewers most effective pitcher this season with a 5-0 record and a 1.54 ERA, has started 89 games for the Brewers in his career and has yet to have a complete game. This year on May 5 he pitched into the eighth inning in a game against the Mets and finished with 7.2 innings pitched. His career long start is eight innings back on June 1, 2016 in a contest versus the Cardinals, a game that he was the winner.

Davies’ 89 starts for the Brewers without a complete game are the most in team history. Fellow starter this season, Chase Anderson, is close behind with 88 starts for Milwaukee without a complete game.

Here are the nine pitchers in Brewers history who (through games of May 20) have 50 or more career starts with the team without a complete game.

89-Zach Davies
88-Chase Anderson
74-Manny Parra
70-Marco Estrada
62- Chris Narveson
62-Jimmy Haynes
60-Junior Guerra
56-Mike Fiers
54-Shaun Marcum

If we expand this list to all MLB pitchers, there is a distinct Brewers flavor on the list. You noticed that Marco Estrada had 70 starts without a complete game during his career with the Brewers. Well, he actually (currently) holds the record for most starts without a complete game in MLB history with 194 in his career. Following are the MLB pitchers with 150 or more career starts without a complete game.

194-Marco Estrada
188-Bud Norris
170-Wei-Yin Chen
167-Tony Armas
167-Jake Odorizzi
152-Nathan Eovaldi

Chase Anderson is actually 10th of this list with a total of 136 starts without a complete game (88 coming in a Brewers uniform).

Of course, a complete game in the future by any of these pitchers listed above will eliminate them from the list. But for now… it’s interesting to see who is still looking for that elusive complete game. The problem is, however, that complete games are pretty rare these days.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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

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