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NBA Miner | Leading Points and Winning
NBA 2014-15 winnig percentages according to the quarters' results.
Basketball, NBA, Points, Team, Statistics, Leading, Win, Game, Quarter, Time
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Leading and Winning

During a basketball game, how big of a point difference could be safe enough to say you have won? Well, it depends on both how much time is left on the clock and how many points a team is ahead.

 

In this analysis, we investigated 2014-15 NBA regular season games and tried to answer this question. To begin with, 1230 games were played in the past season. 707 of them are won by home teams (57.48%) and 523 of them are won by away teams (42.52%). Thus, home/away is also another significant factor in this debate.

 

 

At the end of 3rdQuarter

 

After three quarters played, here are the facts to foretell the fate of a team at the end of regulation:

 

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When a team led the game after 3rd quarter, they won that game 77.48% of the time. On top of that, when also at home, this probability increased to 79.21%. Below table summarizes the cases according to the home/away factor.

 

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Next, we will look at the most important factor: the effect of the leading points.

 

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To be even more precise, the graph below depicts the winning percentage (orange curve) for all values of points difference after three quarters. If a team leads by 10+ points, they almost surely won that game.

 

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At the end of 2nd Quarter

 

Let’s now look at the same facts after end of 2nd quarters. It is no-brainer that leading at the half wouldn’t be as advantageous as after the 3rd.

 

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This time, when a team led the game after 2nd quarter, we see that it won that game 67.56% of the time. Approximately %10 less likely than the previous case. Game location (home/away) still applies in favor of home teams.

 

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Let’s pass to the effect of the leading points. Again leading even 0-5 points after 3rd gave almost %10 more chance to win comparing to the leading the same margin at the half.

 

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The following graph shows all the winning percentages for all the leading points after 2nd quarter. Leading 1 or 2 points at half clearly didn’t give any advantage as the winning percentage remained around 50%. In order to increase the chance over 90%, it required to have 16+ points of lead.

 

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At the end of 1st Quarter

 

Finally, we also analyzed the situation after the first quarter leads.

 

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When a team led the game after 1st quarter, it won that game 62.36% of the time. Around %5 less likely comparing to the 2nd and %15 less likely to win comparing leading after 3rd quarter.

 

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Regarding points difference, 0-10 points lead after 1st gave similar chance to win as it did after 2nd. But if a team had 10+ points of lead after 2nd quarter, it had roughly 10% more chance to win than the same lead after the first. It means that 0-10 points differences before half doesn’t change the fate of a game that much. But if a team opens up a 10+ lead in the 2nd quarter, that begins to be very important for the outcome of the game.

 

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The following graph shows all the winning percentages for all the leading points after 1st quarter. There are more fluctuation in this case as expected.

 

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