A Look Back at the 2015 NBA Draft Class

On this day, October 27, in 2015, Pace and Space first launched on our old webhost. It was opening night of the 2015 NBA season, and the rookies from that season led to this site’s first Twitter beef. That’s right, Matt Moore of CBS Sports blocked me when I said Emmanuel Mudiay couldn’t shoot a lick and would wash out of the league, contra his opinion. Mudiay is out of the league now. In 306 NBA games, he posted minus-0.2 career Win Shares and an execrable .446 eFG%, making him absolutely the worst pick in the 2015 lottery. The moral …

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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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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 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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Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets

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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2022 Playoffs: Too Many Series, Not Enough Drama

Between having a full-time job with one heck of a commute between the city and the suburbs, living on the West Coast, and having had my evenings occupied with getting my new apartment set up the way I like it, I have generally been too busy to watch many games this past week. But checking in with ESPN and Basketball Reference and committing that cardinal sin of the writer of letting the box score do the job of actually watching the games, I can’t help but think I haven’t missed anything important. Sure, Minnesota’s giving Memphis all they wanted in …

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5 Ways to Fix the Broken NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are nearly upon us, and with them come a couple of games guaranteed to involve a team that posted a losing record (the two West play-in game teams, plus the Clippers if they lose their last two; they’re 40-40 at this writing.) The play-in games are pointless, and if the 34-46 Spurs lose their last two regular-season games and somehow turn it around in the play-in tournament, that 34-48 record will be the worst record by a playoff team since the 1988 Spurs got in after going 31-51. On the other hand, the East is showing why …

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The Annual Anti-Play-In Games Rant

If ever there were a concept in sports that bore repeating until the sun burned out its supply of hydrogen and the Earth burned up in the corona of a red giant star enveloping it in five or ten or however many billion years the solar system has left, it is this: The NBA Play-In Tournament is STUPID with a capital stupid. You could make the argument that the Eastern Conference at least hasn’t made a complete garbage fire out of it this year, as the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks stand 37-37, making all four play-in teams at least over .500. …

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The Worst-Ever NBA Playoff Teams

Not long ago, I was on YouTube watching footage of Michael Jordan‘s legendary 63-point outburst in Game 2 of the 1986 first round, a game his Chicago Bulls lost to the Boston Celtics 135-131 in double overtime on their way to a sweep. That Bulls team, at 30-52 on the regular season, made the playoffs because there were only 11 teams in the Eastern Conference and three of them—29-53 Cleveland, 26-56 Indiana, and 23-59 New York—managed to be even more utterly putrescent than a Bulls team referred to as “a bunch of coke fiends” in ESPN’s 2020 smash hit documentary …

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