Friday, April 25, 2003

Stats, Trends, Garbage

I know I have blogged a lot about the NBA lately...but it's playoffs baby! Here's the latest, most exciting look at my favorite team: The Timberwolves.

When I was talking to Carly about the Timberwolves chances this year I was optimistic. It looked like we would nail down the four seed, and draw the Trailblazers in the first round. Five games later, we would be out of our first round for the first time. Worthless Stat #1: Timberwolves, since acquiring Garnett have gone to the playoffs six times, and lost the first round series six times. Low and Behold, we drew the three time defending champion L.A. Lakers instead. All the writers said sweep (lakers sweep, of course).

I was still optimistic. Logic says we would have to face them SOMETIME to get to the finals. Might as well be the team to beat them right away. Worthless Stat #2: The Lakers and T-Wolves tied the season series 2-2 We split home and away. But they came out the first game and took it to us. I mean they outplayed us for three quarters, and withstood our one run. Worthless Stat #3: The team that wins the first game goes on the win 78.8% of the best of seven series. It looked like we were in for another short summer.

But, as a fan, I watched the next game, mad as I was. The T-Wolves were a different team. They outhustled, outscored, flat out outplayed the Lakers, and we won it by 28 points. It was what people would call a statement game. Worthless stats #3-4: After a big blowout (four in Lakers playoffs history over 20 points) the Lakers go on to win the series. Further, in 55 playoff games-dating back to may 2000, the Lakers have not lost two consecutive games.

It didn't look good for the Wolves. They had lost home court advantage, and were going in to the Staples center. Worthless Stat #6: the Wolves lost 26 of the last 28 at Staples. The odds were so stacked against us, NASA had to figure to odds for Vegas.

And the game was tense-and intense. The Lakers led through most of the first and second quarters, then the T-Wolves made a run to lead, led through the second and third, and the fourth was back and forth. And back. After some "questionable calls", the Lakers tied the game-and we went into overtime. Worthless Stat #7: The Timberwolves are 3-2 in overtime this year. The Lakers are 6-3. Then, in what Charles Barkeley called "one of the worst officiated games [he's] ever seen" The worst call of the season happened. Kevin Garnett fouled out on a flop by Robert Horry. The national announcers, who are supposed to be unbiased, were calling it a flop. They were barking at the officials for a series of bad calls to follow. In the end, despite the shinanigans of the stripes, the T-Wolves pulled of the statistical coup: 114-110(OT) WIN over the LAKERS, at STAPLES.

Here are the rest of the stats: After going down 2-1 in a 7 game series, Phil Jackson (Lakers coach) is 0-3. Home court teams are 75.7% winners in best-of-sevens. Of the 200s of best-of-seven series, only 6 teams have come back to win.

Will these stats be worthless, too?

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