State of the Site 2022

The 2022 NBA season was a return to normalcy in more ways than one. For the first time since 2019, the league played an 82-game season. And like 2019, the Golden State Warriors ended up being the class of the Western Conference and ultimately won the title. The Celtics were contenders in the East and made the conference finals, this time actually breaking through to the big show at the end before falling short. Pace and Space chugged along, even though the site’s content dropped to weekly once my return to in-office work last fall officially put an end to …

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How Important is Game 5 in a Tied NBA Finals?

As this goes to press, Game 5 is about to tip off between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. The Celtics won Game 3 but lost Game 4, and while that’s not ideal for them the way taking a 3-1 lead back to San Francisco with them would’ve been (2016 aside, that’s pretty much an automatic win), it does put them into an absolutely critical Game 5. The winner of this series can afford to lose Game 6. The loser is going to have not one but two elimination games ahead of them if …

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Tied at 2-2, are the 2022 NBA Finals Over?

As we’ve demonstrated repeatedly over the past few weeks here (just look at the last few articles on the home page of this here site for the many, many ways we’ve carved up 7-game series scenarios during these playoffs), if you are the underdog in the NBA Finals and you win Game 3 to go up 2-1, the absolute worst thing you can do for your cause is to go out there and hand home court back by losing Game 4. Well…the Boston Celtics did exactly that Friday night, losing Game 4 to send the series back to San Francisco …

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Kevin Durant, Stephen A. Smith, and Eleanor Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt Kevin Durant and Stephen A. Smith got into a beef on Twitter last week over the former accusing the latter of ruining the NBA while the latter complained that the league’s shift toward marketing personalities—Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and every other star great and small—in the 1990s set the league up for its issues in the past couple of years where TV ratings fell off a cliff in as much time as it took LeBron’s Lakers to collapse. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics, a team that …

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The 2022 Boston Celtics Broke NBA Playoff History

A funny thing happened in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Boston Celtics, a team that has perennially been not quite good enough to win a title but good enough to make a serious run at one since 2017, a team right out of the 1980s in the sense of “every Western Conference team other than the Rockets that couldn’t beat Magic Johnson in the conference finals”, finally broke through. And when they beat the Miami Heat in Game 7, the team that had thwarted them in the COVID bubble in 2020, they absolutely turned on its head everything we all …

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The Importance of NBA Game 6 to Winning Game 7 (Part 2)

Yesterday, we took a look at every series that has gone seven games in the NBA playoffs since the league went to a best-of-seven format in 2003, trying to find a pattern in how winning Game 6 to stave off elimination worked out for the team that ultimately forced the Game 7. In 29 such series between 2003 and 2012, the team that had Game 7 at home won it 22 times, so that’s the most important factor of all; having that winner-take-all game on your own floor is the strongest determinant of whether you’re going to win it. Curiously, …

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The Importance of NBA Game 6 to Winning Game 7 (Part 1)

There are going to be two Game 7s played in the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. In one, we have the chance to see the home team run the table for just the sixth time since 2003, as the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks have each won all three of their games at home, including a win by the Mavericks to force a Game 7 on the road. In the other, the Boston Celtics survived an elimination Game 6 in Milwaukee and now get to come home to Boston to try and win a Game 7 in a …

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Does the NBA Team That Wins Game 3 Win the Series? (Part 2)

Yesterday, we took a look at every series that went back to the underdog’s home arena tied 1-1 in order to determine whether Game 3 would, functionally, ultimately decide the series. What we mostly learned is that having home court advantage in the playoffs is so overpowering that even losing a game on their home floor doesn’t often stop the favorite. When the underdog wins Game 3 at home, they’re still only 6-11 when it comes to winning the actual series, a 29-53 pace over an 82-game season. When they lose? Only one team, the 2016 Thunder in their second-round …

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Does the NBA Team That Wins Game 3 Win the Series? (Part 1)

When the road team steals home-court advantage in the first two games of an NBA playoff series, they are too often undone by losing Game 3 on their home floor. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because you’ve probably read the two-part series on this site about whether “the series starts when the road team wins a game” in the NBA Finals, in which the trendline has overwhelmingly seen the underdog give home court back in Game 3 and go on to lose the series. Doesn’t matter whether it was the old 2-3-2 Finals format or the more recent …

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Was 2022 the Worst NBA First Round Ever?

The first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs has finally come to a merciful end with exactly nothing of interest happening at any point. That is to say, there were zero upsets—all of the top four seeds advanced in each conference—and none of the series went seven games. Indeed, only four series went even six games, with three ending on the favorite’s home floor in Game 5 and one, the Celtics-Nets dumpster fire, ending with a pretty little implosion of what was supposed to be a superteam and title contender but instead had Kyrie Irving on it, which only ends …

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