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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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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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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5 NBA Teams Are 4-1. They’re Completely Different.

As the NBA heads into the 2021 calendar year, the 76ers, Pacers, Magic, Clippers, and Suns are all 4-1, tied for first in their respective conferences. Indeed, the Magic were the last unbeaten holdout, winning their first four games before losing to Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve. But if five games have taught us anything, there’s more than one way to win four out of five in professional basketball. Let’s take a look at the five best teams in the league as of ten days into the season and see what they have in common…and what makes no sense about …

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A Study In Glorious Failure Part 2: Mike D’Antoni

Yesterday, we did a deep dive into the legacy of Don Nelson, Hall of Famer, legendary coach…and one-time conference finalist without so much as an NBA Finals appearance, never mind a ring. But no discussion of the Marty Schottenheimers of the NBA is complete without the recently-sacked maven of Houston Rockets playoff disappointment, good ol’ Mike D’Antoni. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love MDA and campaigned for him to be the new head coach of my beloved Indiana Pacers. But nobody in the history of basketball coaching embodied “live by the sword, die by the sword” like Mr. Seven …

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Learning How to Win: The Renaissance of T.J. Warren

Back toward the beginning of the season, I applied some history from my days as a boxing writer to surmise that there are some NBA players who, by virtue of playing on Dumpster fire teams for their early careers, learn how to lose and as such become liabilities when the game is on the line. One of my examples, Kemba Walker, was one of the worst clutch players in the league when he was in Charlotte, shooting atrocious percentages in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime when shooting to tie or take the lead. And for …

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Whoa, Devin Booker Isn’t Trash Anymore!

When the Phoenix Suns got off to a hot start and Devin Booker appeared to be maturing into the player that Suns fans have always claimed he could be, I was hesitant to move off my belief that Booker is nothing more than a great stats, bad team guy who puts up gaudy counting stats while doing nothing of value to help his team win. Well, it’s November 14 as this goes to press, the Suns are 6-4 and just gave the Lakers all they wanted and then some in a hard-fought loss on the road, if the season ended …

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Are the 2019-20 Phoenix Suns Good?

With the possible exception of the New York Knicks, is there a bigger Dumpster fire of a franchise in the NBA or indeed all of sports than the Phoenix Suns? As the Pacific Division is last up on the docket before the season starts, we get the benefit of having watched the preseason come and go as these previews go live, and the Suns in particular have had their disaster-movie status confirmed not by their own play on the court (these games are meaningless and have no predictive value for the regular season) but by three guys who aren’t even …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part VI: Pacific Division

As we wrap up our look at NBA contracts, a few things—good and bad—about Wiggins Factor as a stat start to come through in the analysis. In one case, it’s a sins-of-the-father argument… This really should say ‘the Wolves HAD one of the worst front offices in the league’. None of those bad contracts were signed by the current regime. — Jake Paynting (@jakepaynting) August 23, 2019 It’s going to take the new front office awhile to take out the trash. And in another case, it’s an example of Stewart’s Maxim: “It’s not funny anymore when it’s your guy.” @RealFoxD …

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