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Magic Numbers?

By Daniel Strickland on April 29, 2011.

When it comes to NBA basketball, and sports in general, there has long been a widely held belief that there is truth to be found in numbers. (See John Hollinger’s NBA Player Stats, Jeff Sagarin’s NBA Ratings, Basketball Reference, etc.)

Unlock the truth contained within the numbers and you’ll have a better understanding of how statistics can determine the outcome of any particular game or series.

I just jotted down some stats from the five games played so far in the Spurs-Grizzlies series and I think I may have found three “magic” numbers and they are… wait for it.

Tony Parker doesn’t necessarily need to score a lot for the Spurs to win. The Spurs have won when he scored 24 and when he scored 12. They’ve lost when he scored 20 and 23.

In the three Spurs’ losses, Parker had 5 assists twice and only 1 assist once. In the Spurs’ wins, he’s had 7 and 9 assists.

Manu Ginobili has scored 33 and 17 points in the wins, 23 and 14 points in the losses. Ok, more points from Manu is better, but not necessarily an indicator of the ultimate outcome.

In the Spurs’ wins, he’s had 6 and 7 rebounds, 6 and 4 assists. In the Spurs’ losses, he’s had 3 and 2 rebounds, 5 and 4 assists.

So, by my admittedly simplistic calculus, the magic numbers appear to be 7, 6 and 11. If Parker dishes out 7 or more assists, Ginobili grabs 6 or more rebounds and combines for 11 or more rebounds-plus-assists, the Spurs will win.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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  1. Dingo April 29, 2011

    Here’s another number to watch: The Spurs are 2-0 when hitting at least seven 3s in the series.


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