Tuesday, May 17

3 Is the Magic Number

Ray Allen and the Seattle Supersonics take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

The more I analyze this series, the more I realize that the Sonics hold their fate in their hands. Conventional wisdom dictates San Antonio is the superior team, and that they lost games 3 and 4 more than the Sonics won them. However, that just isn’t true. For proof, let’s look at some numbers (did you really expect anything else?) from the Spurs-Sonics season series, including the playoffs:

Sonic Wins
FG%: 47
PPG: 102
3PM: 6
3P%: 36

Sonic Losses
FG%: 41
PPG: 83
3PM: 3
3P%: 27

Spurs Wins
FG%: 49
PPG: 101
3PM: 6
3P%: 38

Spurs Losses
FG%: 42
PPG: 93
3PM: 6
3P%: 35

Can you believe the Sonics average 20 points a game more in wins than losses? And that they shoot nearly 10 percentage points higher from beyond the arc in wins? If you throw out the Sonics’ fluky win over SA in game 3, where we can all agree the Spurs threw the game away at the foul line, the differences are even more extreme. In their 3 other wins over the Spurs this year, Seattle shot 43% from 3-point range, a deadly figure by any stretch. Conversely, the Spurs play the same regardless of a win or loss, a testament to their steadiness.

So, you ask, what does this mean? I’ll tell what I think it means. It means the Spurs are at the mercy of the Sonics’ 3-point shooters. If Seattle is on target – by which I mean, if Ray Allen is on target – the Sonics will win. If Allen is off, then the Sonics have little or no chance. That’s great news for Seattle fans if you ask me, as Ray Allen has decided to show the world he’s every bit the money player as any other superstar.

That being said, here’s my fearless pick: Sonics 103 – Spurs 97.

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