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
1994: Atlanta, Houston
2001: Milwaukee, Philadelphia
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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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the San Antonio Spurs 109-103 and tied their Western Conference Finals series at 2-2. So here’s the big question, what’s gonna happen in Game 5 of that series on Monday night?
To get an idea of what might transpire, let’s take a look at the last 25 NBA playoff games where the series was tied at 2-2. We discover that:
* The home team won Game 5 in 20 of those 25 contests.
* The series ended with the Game 5 winner also winning Game 6 in 14 series.
* The series went to a Game Seven 11 times. The home team won Game 7 in nine of those 11 games.
* The team that won Game 5 also won Game 7 seven times.
Here’s a look at those five series where the team winning the series was not the home team in Game 5
NBA Finals, 2010, L.A. Lakers over the Boston Celtics: In the 2-3-2 finals format, the home team Celtics won Game 5. The series then shifted to Los Angeles for Game 6 and Game 7 where the Lakers won both contests.
Eastern Conference Semifinals, 2010, Boston Celtics over the Cleveland Cavaliers: Tied at two games apiece, the visiting Celtics clobbered the Cavs 120-88 in Game 5 in Cleveland. The Celtics then wrapped the series in Game 6 with a 94-85 victory.
Eastern Conference First Round, 2010, Atlanta Hawks over the Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks stole Game 5 in Atlanta with a 91-87 win and headed home for Game 6 hoping to close out the series. The Bucks lost Game 6 to the visiting Hawks 83-69. The Hawks won the series with a 21-point win at home in Game 7.
Eastern Conference Semifinals, 2009, Orlando Magic over the Boston Celtics: The home team Celtics won Game 5 then lost Game 6 in Orlando and lost the series when they could not close out the Magic at home. The Magic won 101-82 in Game 7 in Boston.
Western Conference Semifinals, 2008, San Antonio over the New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets defeated the Spurs at home in Game 5, but the Spurs won the series by winning Game 6 at home, 99-80 and then winning 91-82 in New Orleans.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
The National Hockey League playoffs begin with three of the eight first-round series dropping the puck tonight. The Detroit Red Wings will be looking to extend their current streak of winning at least one playoff series to six. They are, however, as the #5 seed, the underdog in their series against fourth-seeded Nashville.
Following is a look at how many seasons each NHL team has won at least one playoff series in the past 25 years (since 1986).
Seasons with one playoff series win (1986-2011), Teams
11: Philadelphia, St. Louis
10: Boston, Colorado, San Jose
9: Edmonton, New Jersey, N.Y. Rangers, Toronto, Vancouver
8: Dallas, Washington
7: Buffalo, Chicago
5: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Ottawa
4: Calgary, Carolina
3: Tampa Bay
2: N.Y Islanders
1: Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, Phoenix
0: Columbus, Winnipeg
Note: Of the teams that have won a playoff series in the last 25 years, three franchises – Florida, the N.Y. Islanders and Phoenix – have not won a playoff series this century. Florida last won a playoff series in 1996; the Isles last won a series in 1993; and the Phoenix franchise last won a playoff series in 1987.
Did you know? Detroit and San Jose have each won a playoff series in eight years in this century. They are followed by Colorado and Philadelphia (six each) and the N.J. Devils, Pittsburgh and Vancouver (five each).
Not only does Detroit lead the NHL with five straight seasons with at least one playoff series win, but it also leads all of professional sports in that same category. Here are the major sports teams that have a current streak of winning at least one playoff series (or game, in the case of the NFL) in three straight seasons (or more).
Current streak of winning at least one playoff series, Team
5: Detroit Red Wings
Note: The Texas Rangers were the only MLB team to have won a playoff series in both 2010 and 2011.