On December 28th in one of the e-mails my friend Leszczur mentioned “we are going to see a lot of random NBA scores this year” to which I automatically replied “every year there are blowouts” but it immediately got me thinking about them. Will this season actually lead to more blowouts than usual?
What exactly is the usual number? What happened in the previous shortened season?.
I’ve waited a week or so for more data and here we are…
I defined blowout as 15 or more point differential and using all scores in the NBA history from basketball-reference.com I compiled a historical perspective… note that 2012 includes only 125 games played so far.
Well, in this small but current sample 2011-12 season is literally off the charts in terms of number of blowouts!
But it is early so it should improve… especially when season in 1999 wasn’t extraordinary in this regard at all. So maybe we just have to patiently wait for a better part of the season…
What’s more, the biggest swings happened around the time of big changes in the NBA landscape so it seems to be a pretty good measure of overall [but relative] talent level around the league, no?
Average for all seasons since 1947 is 26,34% and in the last 20 regular seasons it was a similar 26,22%.
That was a league-wide view so let’s switch it to teams’ perspective.
Here are some single-season extremes for games with point differential of 15 or more which resulted in a win:
|Milwaukee Bucks||1971||37||82||45,12||Cleveland Cavaliers||2011||0||82|
|Chicago Bulls||1996||35||82||42,68||Portland Trail Blazers||2006||0||82|
|Chicago Bulls||1997||34||82||41,46||New Orleans Hornets||2005||0||82|
|New York Knicks||1970||33||82||40,24||Toronto Raptors||2003||0||82|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1972||33||82||40,24||Los Angeles Clippers||2000||0||82|
|Boston Celtics||1962||32||80||40,00||Vancouver Grizzlies||1999||0||50|
|Milwaukee Bucks||1972||32||82||39,02||Vancouver Grizzlies||1996||0||82|
|Washington Capitols||1947||23||60||38,33||Dallas Mavericks||1993||0||82|
|Boston Celtics||1986||31||82||37,80||Houston Rockets||1983||0||82|
|Chicago Bulls||1992||31||82||37,80||Baltimore Bullets||1952||0||66|
|Seattle SuperSonics||1994||31||82||37,80||Milwaukee Hawks||1952||0||66|
|Chicago Bulls||1972||30||82||36,59||Providence Steam Rollers||1948||0||48|
|San Antonio Spurs||2005||30||82||36,59||Pittsburgh Ironmen||1947||0||60|
|Philadelphia 76ers||1968||29||82||35,37||18 tied with 1 such performance in 82 games|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1973||28||82||34,15|
|Portland Trail Blazers||1991||28||82||34,15|
It could be a very crude way to discuss some all-time great teams… if you didn’t notice there’s only one team from last decade so that’s another reason to doubt claims that NBA has a problem with competitive balance…
Here are some single-season extremes for games with point differential of 15 or more which resulted in a loss:
|Dallas Mavericks||1993||44||82||53,66||Utah Jazz||1997||0||82|
|Providence Steam Rollers||1948||22||48||45,83||Phoenix Suns||1983||1||82|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2000||35||82||42,68||Los Angeles Lakers||2009||1||82|
|Denver Nuggets||1998||35||82||42,68||Chicago Bulls||2011||1||82|
|Denver Nuggets||1950||25||62||40,32||Portland Trail Blazers||2000||1||82|
|Philadelphia 76ers||1973||33||82||40,24||Detroit Pistons||2004||1||82|
|Los Angeles Clippers||1989||33||82||40,24||Boston Celtics||1973||1||82|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||1971||32||82||39,02||Boston Celtics||2008||1||82|
|Miami Heat||1989||32||82||39,02||Portland Trail Blazers||1991||1||82|
|Houston Rockets||1983||31||82||37,80||Boston Celtics||1986||1||82|
|Los Angeles Clippers||1987||31||82||37,80||Chicago Bulls||1992||1||82|
|Denver Nuggets||1991||31||82||37,80||Milwaukee Bucks||1972||1||82|
|Golden State Warriors||2000||31||82||37,80||Los Angeles Lakers||1972||1||82|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2009||31||82||37,80||Chicago Bulls||1996||1||82|
|Atlanta Hawks||2005||30||82||36,59||Philadelphia Warriors||1947||1||60|
|Chicago Packers||1962||29||80||36,25||Miami Heat||1999||1||50|
|Chicago Bulls||1999||18||50||36,00||San Antonio Spurs||1999||1||50|
Wow, Utaz Jazz in 1996-97 was the only team in history which didn’t lose a game by 15 or more points?
I didn’t know that so that’s a great bonus curiosity ;-)