There is one story we can all expect to hear over the next week – is the Sonics’ playoff fate sealed because of their crappy play at the end of the year?
Well, I’m all about the numbers, so I crunched a few and came up with this conclusion:
Here’s what I did: I looked at the last four seasons and took the top 4 teams in each conference. Then I added up what they did during the last 10 games of the season and compared it to how they did in the post-season. The relationship of last 10 games to playoff success was shocking. Here's a look at the numbers:
(Editor's Note: Big thanks to Nels of Give Me The Rock fame for help with the chart! -Paul)
Anyway, it’s pretty evident that teams that finish well in the regular season tend to do well in the playoffs. Of course, teams that finish well during the regular season played well all season, so it’s natural that they’d do well in the playoffs. Still, it’s amazing how the numbers drop almost in uniform fashion. (Strange that the only team to run the table over its last 10, San Antonio, flamed out in the 2nd round of the playoffs to the Lakers). Even more amazing, of the 32 teams seeded 1 through 4 in the playoffs in the past 4 seasons, not one team has finished the year with less than 4 wins in their last 10 games. In fact, I had to go back more than 10 years to find a team with as little as 3 wins in its final 10.
It was the spring of 1994. Led by David Robinson, Dale Ellis and Dennis Rodman, the Spurs tore through the league, amassing a 39-14 record by late February before cooling off , finishing in a slump with 7 losses in their final 10 games.
They lost in the first round.