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NBA Finals: Number Crunch

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 9:35 PM


For this article, I’ll be referring to “crunch time” as the time in a game with 5 or fewer minutes left and the score differential is 5 or fewer points. In this year’s NBA finals, there were 17 minutes of “crunch time”





0-7 for 0 points – Lebron’s production in “crunch time”

8-13 for 26 points – Dirk Nowitzki’s production in “crunch”

2 – number of two point field goal attempts for Lebron during “crunch time”

41% - percentage of all “crunch time” points scored by any player for either team that were scored by Dirk Nowitzki

39-24 – the composite score during “crunch time” in favor of the Mavs

Dirk had the was the only player with 10 points in a single quarter, he did it four times

This series was decided entirely in the 4th quarter, since Miami led the majority of the games going into the 4th quarter.





22 – the amount of points that the Miami Heat outscored Dallas by in the 26 minutes when Lebron James was on the bench, compared to Dallas outscoring Miami by 36 when Lebron was on the court





10 million – approximate number of people offended by Lebron James’ comments following the Heat’s game 6 loss

Following a loss in game 6, Lebron James said, "All the people that were rooting for me to fail, at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today. And I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live.”





2 – number of teams that would significantly improve from a Lebron James for Dwight Howard trade

This trade makes so much sense, that I’d actually be surprised if it didn’t happen. Orlando is advantaged because Dwight Howard is a free-agent in 2012, and this way, they get something back for him, as opposed to losing their best player for nothing. Miami is advantaged because they would instantly become a favorite after ridding themselves of the most hated athlete in the world, and Dwyane Wade has won a championship alongside a great big-man before. Lebron James is advantaged because he gets away from all the detestation, and gets a chance to redeem his legacy by winning a championship with no help from other superstars. Dwight Howard is advantaged because he finally gets a decent opportunity to win a ring, after seven long years of carrying his team on his back for nothing.





0 – number of seasons in the future Erik Spolstra should be coaching the Heat

It’s simple. Erik Spolstra can’t figure out how to take control of a team with multiple superstars. However, the general manager of the Heat, Pat Riley, has won five NBA championships as a coach, three of them with three all-stars. Isn’t this kind of experience dealing with super-teams exactly what Miami needs?






25 – number of points the Heat outscored the Mavs with Dirk on the bench, compared to 40 points that the Mavs outscored the Heat with Dirk on the floor

3 – number of forwards in the history of the NBA that had more illustrious careers than Dirk

With his performance in this year’s playoffs, Dirk has to be catapulted to #4 among the all-time greatest forwards. He is now one of only five forwards in NBA history to win an MVP, lead a championship team, and play in ten all-star games.





0 – the number of additional seasons Jason Kidd should play before he retires

Why continue playing? He’s rich, he’s won a championship, and he’s gained the basketball world’s respect. The only way Kidd could ruin this time of glory is to pull an Allen Iverson and in 24 months, switch teams five times, play in Turkey, get benched, and then insist that he can still be a team leader.





18% - percent less that the Miami Heat shot with Chandler on the court, as opposed to when he was on the bench

I don’t believe it’s possible to fully describe the impact that Tyson Chandler had on this series, so I’ll simply say that he crashed the offensive boards like a madman.





10,000 – amount of money an NBA player should be fined for flopping

Flopping has to stop in the NBA. Random players falling down all over the court like they’ve been hit with tear gas makes it so difficult for the referees to distinguish between what is a foul and what is not. Hit a player with a few large fines, and I guarantee you that player will never flop again.





1- Mike Breen’s rank among all-time announcers

The Finals was approximately 50% more enjoyable to watch due to the extraordinary play-by-play commentary of Mike Breen.





47% – winning percentage of teams with fewer all-stars than their opponent in the NBA Finals over the past 23 years

This statistic shows that underdogs that have a good mix of role players, as opposed to several superstars, are very successful in the NBA.




2 - number of teams that have fired Rick Carslile, Dallas' coach


In nine years as an NBA coach, Rick Carslile has had an average of exactly one all-star on his team per year. He has made seven playoffs, five conference semi-finals, and three conference finals. His teams have produced six 50-win seasons. Yet, he was fired twice in six years before Mark Cuban, Dallas’ owner gave him a chance. He really helped the Mavs win by doing a great job managing substitutions. For example, the Mavericks won all three games after Carslile switched the starting lineup.





7 – number of players in the top 13 players of all time who didn’t win a championship until age 28

Ok, we know that Lebron choked badly… really badly, but that doesn’t mean that he will never work out his problems. So many of the greatest players of all time faced similar problems as Lebron has, but then over time figured out the perfect formula for winning. For example, after Magic Johnson played poorly in 1983-1984, he was nicknamed “Tragic Magic.” He then went on to win three more titles and solidify his position as a top five basketball player of all time. Michael Jordan was considered to be nothing but a scorer early in his career; that was clearly an incorrect assessment of Jordan’s talents. How about this year’s Finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki? After loosing the championship in 2006, analysts declared that he would never win a title, as if it was written in a prophesy. After all these examples of legendary players winning late in their careers, no one gives Lebron a chance to win later in his career.




Please comment and tell me what you think.



Categories: Playoffs, Statistics

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Reply Lev to Mike
6:09 PM on July 24, 2011 
Sorry, I just got back from summer camp.

The other three forwards are Larry Bird, John Havlicek, and Julius Erving.
Reply Chris A.
2:50 PM on July 18, 2011 
Another thing i find offensive is heat fans getting mad at LeBron for making them lose the nba finals. Without Lebron the heat would not have gone past the celtics. James is better han Wade because James can do it all... Wade hasnt even played a full season. And also bout Dirk i feel the only reason he is good is because he is a 7 footer with a shot, honestly dirk is not spectacular at any other concept of the game.
Reply Mike
3:29 PM on July 16, 2011 
Nice post! Reminds me of the "Go Figure" feature in every Sports Illustrated. I particularly liked one about the 10 million people offended by Lebron's comments. That may be an underestimate. Probably one of the most antagonistic quotes in NBA history.

You say Dirk is the #4 greatest forward of all time. Who are the 3 players above him?
Reply Chris A.
12:43 PM on July 15, 2011 
good article lev. Hear me out on this one ... Lebron will be the best player ever. Lebron is in the middle of his career and he is being compared to MJ's entire career and he is just so close. Sure the fourth quarter is not his thing but aside from that he has been spectacular. He only needs one title to be the greatest ever.