Sunday, April 27, 2014

An exciting first round, so far

The general consensus seems to be that this first round of NBA playoff games have been particularly good, featuring plenty of dramatic, closely contested games.

The excitement index from my win probability graphs supports this as well. The excitement index measures how far the win probability graph "travels" over the course of the game. For the 2013-14 NBA regular season, the average excitement index of a game was 5.9. So far, the average excitement index of the playoff games has been 7.1, more than a full win's worth of extra probability swings.

There have been plenty of good series, but most would agree that Portland-Houston has been the best. The table below summarizes the average excitement index of each series. As expected, Portland-Houston is on top. Also not surprising is Charlotte-Miami at the bottom.

series excitement
Trailblazers - Rockets 10.1
Grizzlies - Thunder 8.5
Wizards - Bulls 8.3
Nets - Raptors 6.8
Mavericks - Spurs 6.7
Warriors - Clippers 6.1
Hawks - Pacers 5.5
Bobcats - Heat 4.7

The top game of the playoffs so far has been Portland's 122-120 overtime victory over Houston in game 1 of the series, with an excitement index of 13.5 (it ranks eighth over regular season and playoff games combined for 2013-14).

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