It's that time of year again! It is what an entire season has lead to, the famous "win or go home" period.
We all just love the Playoffs, when superstars are made and forgotten, when every single match-up has its own little history behind it, when teams without any hard feelings against each other a Game 1 tip-off end up hating each other by Game 3. Unparalleled intensity, game after game!
This year's Playoffs trigger mixed feelings, as it seems the Champions have already been elected. Can anybody beat Miami? Can anybody make it at least somewhat of a challenge for them?
But even so, there are bound to be plenty of upsets we thrive on, and of course we will all have eyes on the Howard-led Lakers. They can't afford to go through the Playoffs the same way they roller-coasted through the season, but if they continue on their current trend they can be a potential threat.
So what are my predictions? Well, based on season performance and home/away results, as well as taking each team's specific homecourt advantage into account, here's what I obtained for the most likely outcome at each phase with associated probability:
So it does seem that Miami has the clearest path to the trophy, but there no guarantees. And if we look at each team probability of wining the championship, we obtain the following table:
|NBA team||Champion Probability|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||13.1%|
|San Antonio Spurs||11.3%|
|New York Knicks||9.5%|
|Los Angeles Clippers||7.2%|
|Golden State Warriors||2.5%|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1.5%|
While the table confirms that Miami has the greatest probability of winning the trophy, the probability is still less than 25%, offering challengers a great opportunity. The probability is still incredibly high considering it is almost as big as the sum of probabilities for the two next contenders (Oklahoma and San Antonio). This is in part due to Miami definitely enjoying a huge Conference advantage battling weaker foes, and if it falls it will most likely be in the Finals. An extra dimension favoring the Heat to consider and not (currently) taken into account in my model is wear-and-tear: the Heat will be more rested and less likely to be injured when they meet the Western Conference finalist...
I will regularly post updates as more games get played.