Hypnotized by Numbers


"The Spurs are 1 of 18 teams to lose a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. San Antonio's .778 win percentage this season would be the 2nd best by a team in the season following a Game 7 loss, ever so slightly behind the Pistons, who posted .780 win percentage in 2005-06 after losing in Game 7 to the Spurs the previous season. The Spurs, currently riding a 16-game win streak, are a league-best 56-16 this season. San Antonio would be the 3rd team to post the league's best outright win percentage in the season following a NBA Finals Game 7 loss (1988-89 and 2005-06 Pistons). The 1988-89 Pistons won the NBA title while the 2005-06 team was knocked out in the Conference Finals. Of the 17 previous teams to lose in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, 11 actually made it back to the Finals the following season and 5 went on to capture the title (the last to do so were the Pistons, who lost in 7 games in the 1987-88 Finals and then won the following season). The last 3 teams to lose a NBA Finals Game 7 failed to make it back to the NBA Finals the following season."

This has the impressive veneer of "data analysis," but the right analysis is "Only eighteen cases, wildly differing in details? Too few to mean anything."

But hey, the writer used numbers!


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