Tag Archives: Golden State Warriors

Today’s Sportstat: June 13, 2019

The first to four wins gets the crown

Let’s start with a quick quiz…

How many teams in NBA history have won the first game in an NBA Finals series, was the first team to win two games in that series, was the first team to win three games in that series, but failed to win the fourth game and thus lost in that NBA Finals? One, two, four or six? (Answer towards the end of this article.)

After the Golden State Warriors lost Game One to the Toronto Raptors in this year’s NBA Finals, Warriors guard Klay Thompson made the following statement answering those critics who thought the team was already in trouble after that first loss:

“It’s first team to four (wins), not the first to one (win).”

He’s absolutely right, but does being the team to win Game One in an NBA Finals series matter? Does being the first team to get that second win in an NBA Finals a good thing? Does being the first team to three victories in an NBA Finals the “golden ticket” to a championship?

Let’s try to answer these questions based on the 72-year history of the NBA Finals…

  • Teams that won Game One in an NBA Finals series went on to win that series 51 of 72 times (70.8%).
  • Teams that were the first to win two games in an NBA Finals series went on to win that series 61 of 72 times (84.7%). For the record, in four of the last eight NBA Finals, the team that was the first to win two games in an NBA Finals did not win the title (Miami in 2011, San Antonio in 2013, Cleveland in 2015 and Golden State in 2016).
  • Teams that were the first to win three games in an NBA Finals series went on to win that series 63 of the 72 times (87.5%). Here are the nine times in the NBA Finals when a team was the first to win three games in that series but could not win that fourth game and the championship:

1955: Fort Wayne (first to win three games), Syracuse won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1962: L.A. Lakers (first to win three games), Boston won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1969: L.A. Lakers (first to win three games), Boston won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1978: Seattle (first team to win three games), Washington won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1988: Detroit (first team to win three games), L.A. Lakers won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1994: New York Knicks (first team to win three games), Houston won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

2010: Boston (first team to win three games), L.A. Lakers won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

2013: San Antonio (first team to win three games), Miami won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

2016: Golden State (first team to win three games), Cleveland won Games 5, 6 and 7 and the title.

All of the above stats are good news for the Toronto Raptors; they won Game One of this series, they were the first team to win two games and the first team to win three games in their NBA Finals series against Golden State.

There is, however, a precedence that bodes well for the Warriors if they win Game 6. There have been four times in NBA Finals history where a team lost Game One of the NBA Finals series, and their opponent in that series was the first to get two wins and the first to get three wins in the series, but those four teams won the title. The four times this has happened: L.A. Lakers in 1969, Washington in 1978, Miami in 2013 and Cleveland in 2016.

So, the answer to the above trivia question is four teams… the 1969 Lakers, 1978 Sonics, 2013 Spurs and 2016 Warriors each lost the NBA Finals that year after winning Game One, and being the first team in the series to win two games and three games; they, however, could not get that fourth win in that NBA Finals series to capture the championship.

 

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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?

 

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Today’s Sports Stat: October 25, 2018

This year’s World Series features a pair of teams, the L.A. Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, who are making their second Fall Classic appearances in the last 10 years. The Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in last year’s World Series; the Red Sox won the championship in 2013.

With that being said, would you say that baseball has been a model of parity in the World Series over the past 10 years? How about the parity of the other professional sports… the NBA, NHL and NFL?

Let’s take a look at how many different teams have played for their sport’s championship in the last 10 seasons.

In the past 10 seasons, the professional league with the “best” parity in their title game/series is a tie between the NFL and NHL. Both of those leagues have seen 14 different teams play for the title in the last 10 seasons. Major League Baseball follows with 13 different teams playing in the World Series in the last 10 years. Not surprisingly, the league with the “least” parity is the NBA; in the last 10 seasons, only nine teams have played for the title in the NBA.

Only four franchises have played in four or more title games/series in the past 10 years: New England Patriots (NFL), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Golden State Warriors (NBA) and the Miami Heat (NBA). All played in four title series games/series in the last 10 years.

If we look at how many teams have played in more than one championship title game/series in the last 10 years in the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB, baseball has the most teams with six. They are followed by the NBA with five and both the NFL and NHL with four.

The teams that have played in two or more championship series/games in the last 10 seasons:

MLB (6): Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco, St. Louis, Texas

NBA (5): Cleveland, Golden State, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami, San Antonio

NFL (4): Denver, New England, Pittsburgh, Seattle

NHL (4): Boston, Chicago, L.A. Kings, Pittsburgh

One final question: Which pro league has gone the longest without back-to-back title winners? If you answered baseball, you win the prize. The last back-to-back World Series champs are the New York Yankees in 1999 and 2000. The last back-to-back Super Bowl champs are the New England Patriots from 2004 and 2005. The NHL had back-to-back Stanley Cup winners in 2016 and 2017 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the NBA had back-to-back champions with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018.

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Today’s Sports Stat: June 4, 2018

For only the 13th time in NBA history, the Finals series does not feature a team that was ranked/seeded #1 when the playoffs began. The Cavs were the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors were the #2 seed in the Western Conference.

The last time a #1 seed did not appear in the NBA Finals was 2012 when the second-seeded Miami Heat faced off against the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The last time two #1 seeds squared off in the finals was in 2016 when the Cavs and Warriors played for the title, the second of their four match-ups.

Here’s a look at the 13 times when no #1 seed played in the NBA Finals.

2018: Golden State (#2) vs. Cleveland (#4)
2012: Miami (#2) vs. Oklahoma City (#2)
2011: Dallas (#3) vs. Miami (#2)
2007: San Antonio (#3) vs. Cleveland (#2)
2006: Miami (#2) vs. Dallas (#4)
2005: Sam Antonio (#2) vs. Detroit (#2)
2004: Detroit (#3) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (#2)
1994: Houston (#2) vs. New York Knicks (#2)
1978: Washington (#3) vs. Seattle (#4)
1973: New York Knicks (#2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (#2)
1968: Boston (#2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (#2)
1952: Minneapolis Lakers (#2) vs. New York Knicks (#3)
1951: Rochester (#2) vs. New York Knicks (#3)

This is the fourth straight year that Cleveland and Golden State have faced each other in the NBA Finals. Based on that, you would think that the Cavs and Warriors would have the two best regular season records in the NBA in the last four years. WRONG! The Warriors have the best regular season record in the league in the past four seasons, 265-63 (.808). But the Cavs have the fifth-best regular season record in the league since the 2014-15 season, 211-117 (.643). Do you know which three teams have a better regular season record than the Cavs over the past four seasons?

Following are the five teams with the best regular season win-loss records in the past four seasons.

Golden State          265-63   .808
San Antonio           230-98   .701
Houston                  217-111 .662
Toronto                   215-113 .655
Cleveland               211-117 .643

The Los Angeles Clippers are the only other team to have a winning percentage over .600 in the past four seasons, 202-126 (.616). The worst record in the NBA over the past four years? The Lakers… 99-229 (.302).

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Today’s Sports Stat: May 27, 2018

With their Game Six win over Houston, the Golden State Warriors forced a Game Seven in the Western Conference Finals. By doing so, for the first time in almost 40 years we have both conference finals series going to a decisive Game Seven.

The last time both conference finals series went to a seventh game was in 1979 when the Seattle Supersonics beat the Phoenix Suns in Game Seven to advance to the ’79 NBA Finals and the Washington Bullets won Game Seven over the San Antonio Spurs to reach the finals that same year. The only other time both conference finals went to a seventh game was in 1963.

For the Celtics and Rockets this year, they have history on their side when it comes to conference finals Game Seven; the home team has won Game Seven of the conference finals 26 of the 33 times. The good news for the Warriors and Cavs is that there have been seven times when an away team has won Game Seven of conference finals. Those seven times:

1968: Boston
1971: Baltimore
1973: New York Knicks
1976 Phoenix
1982: Philadelphia
2002: Los Angeles Lakers
2005: Detroit

As you might expect, the Boston Celtics have had the most Game Seven wins in the conference finals (also called the division finals at one time). The Celts have won seven Game Sevens in conference/division finals. The Lakers are second in this category with five such wins.

On the flip side, the Indiana Pacers have lost the most conference/division finals Game Sevens with four. They are followed by the Celtics, Philadelphia76ers and St. Louis Hawks with three each.

One final stat: The 33 teams that have won a conference/division finals by winning Game Seven have only gone on to win the NBA Finals that year 16 times. Fatigue factor?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp