Giannis Has a Title. Can He Be the GOAT?

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals, winning the Greek Freak his first championship in his eighth season in the league. It took Michael Jordan seven years in the NBA to become a champion. LeBron James got his first ring in his ninth year. With the 5-time All-Star, 5-time All-NBA, 4-time All-Defensive (including Defensive Player of the Year in 2020), 2-time MVP already in possession of a fringe Hall of Fame case even if he never plays another NBA game, he’s added a ring to that list of accolades. But let’s speculate …

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NBA Playoffs: How Often Do Home Teams Win All 7 Games?

Last week, we took a look at how often teams win the series when they draw first blood on the road. Favorites, as in “the team that gets Game 1 and, if necessary, Game 7 at home”, almost always win—if it hadn’t been for Golden State in 2016, that record would be flawless going back to at least 1991. Underdogs only win 41.2 percent of the time (again, since 1991), but since they only get three home games, they’re up against the wall from the moment Game 1 tips off. Last night (July 17), the Milwaukee Bucks won Game 5 …

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NBA Finals Don’t Start ’til the Road Team Wins, Tested (Part 2)

In Part 1 yesterday, we looked at the NBA Finals from 1991 to 2005 to determine what happens to a series when the road team wins a game and breaks serve. Because with the Milwaukee Bucks, as of this writing, down 2-0 in the 2021 Finals and headed back to Milwaukee on Sunday night, we know they’re going to have to beat the Phoenix Suns on the road at some point, but if they hold serve at home and win Game 5 back in Phoenix, what will it do to their overall chance to win the series? For the first …

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NBA Finals Don’t Start ’til the Road Team Wins, Tested (Part 1)

The Phoenix Suns held serve at home to win the first two games of the 2021 NBA Finals, but if the Milwaukee Bucks are able to do the same, we’ll be looking in a week or so at a tied series, 2-2, with what will basically become a best-of-three for all the marbles. On the other hand, if the Suns win one out of two, then the complexion of Game 5 changes completely, with the home team poised to win it all on their own floor and with the consequences of a loss far reduced as they’ll still have a …

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The Weird, Wacky Past of the 1970s Bucks and Suns

As the Phoenix Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2021 NBA Finals, handily beating the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 on Tuesday, I got to thinking if they’d ever met in the playoffs before. “But Fox,” you may object, “the Bucks haven’t been to the Finals since 1974, and the other two times they played for the title, it was against the Celtics and the Bullets. What do the Suns have to do with that?” Well, you’ll notice for one thing that those two prior Finals appearances featured the Bucks as champions of the Western Conference. You’ll also notice …

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The Changing Face of Chris Paul’s Legacy

Chris Paul is officially out of the discussion of “greatest player never to make the NBA Finals.” On the one hand, that’s a nice little backhanded compliment to Steve Nash, who resumes his place as the holder of that honor, depending on how you feel about Pete Maravich or Dominique Wilkins. CP3 was and is better than any of those guys, but now that he’s made the Finals, he’s graduated off the list for that dubious honor. The question now becomes whether Paul can get over the hump, beat the Bucks or Hawks (Milwaukee leads the East finals 3-2 as …

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Speaking Too Soon: The 2021 Eastern Conference Finals

You ever read something and think “man, I need an editor?” Because in my piece “The Terrible Coach Redemption Tour”, I asserted that Steve Nash was coaching in the conference finals. This is what happens when you have a deadline, Game 7 of the conference semis are still to be played, and of course you’re going to be spending the next five days working a contract gig full-time that’s nowhere near your home studio. The Milwaukee Bucks won Game 7 over the Brooklyn Nets. And of course I didn’t get time to write about it until Saturday. Gods help me. …

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2021 Playoffs: The Terrible Coach Redemption Tour

Editor’s Note: I made the mistake of assuming Brooklyn would win Game 7 of the East semis and wrote this column accordingly. Of course, Milwaukee won that game, so Mike Budenholzer, not Steve Nash, is coaching against McMillan and the Hawks in the ECF. Pace and Space regrets the error. The NBA was, for decades, a coaches’ league. Great leaders like Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, and Pat Riley became synonymous with the teams they led to greatness and were linked to the careers of their star players in Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan (and later Kobe Bryant), and Magic Johnson. In …

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Atlanta Hawks: Living and Dying by Trae Young

Trae Young is simultaneously the most promising and frustrating young scorer in the NBA, and the Atlanta Hawks, as much as they’ve shocked the world as a 5 seed first by destroying the equally upstart 4 seed New York Knicks in the first round and then by taking a 3-2 lead on the Philadelphia 76ers so far in Round 2, are living and dying by him. Young, even though he’s three years into his career, all but guaranteed a giant extension this offseason as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, and has an All-Star appearance under his …

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Pace and Space Broke Basketball Reference. Whoops!

On Tuesday, June 8, Pace and Space’s secured server (that little lock symbol in the browser bar that indicates an SSL certificate) went live. What this means in practical terms is that if we decide down the line to do anything that requires information to be encrypted (selling merch, creating a login-based forum or comments section, or just plain getting Google to improve our search rank because the algorithm prioritizes secure sites), the infrastructure is in place on the server end now. Trouble was, because the security didn’t work at first (if you were here and got a bunch of …

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