## The Blazer Season: Color Coded Edition

I know it’s only been 3 games since I posted the Color Coded Edition of the Blazer season. But I had to rush that post through to finish while the data was still fresh. At that time I had to leave out data that was more pertinent to Playoff possibilities.

What’s the same in this Post
* Wording that explains the philosophy of the color code.
* Table of the season
* Table of the season sorted with lesser teams at the top.

What’s new in this Post
* I was able to enlarge the Tables which enhances the color aspect, albeit the text blurs a little, it’s still OK.
* Color coded breakdown of our record against the Western Conference. (A Must See Section)
* Color coded breakdown of our record against the Eastern Conference.
* For BlazerHolics a breakdown against each Division.

Color Code Explanation:
I’ve created a color-coded table of the season thus far. This looks way cooler using multi-colors but I found myself having to continually go to the legend (or look at the score) to remember what color represented what margin of victory or loss. The margin of victory/loss is recorded under the column heading “Diff” (i.e. point differential) in each table.

Limited by Excel 2000 I’ve settled on two tones, red tones for wins and blue tones for losses. As the colors get more intense (brighter/darker) the margin of victory/loss gets larger. This way instead of seeing one game at a time by looking at the score, you can easily see 7 to 15 to 25 games at one glance, and hopefully not need to refer to a legend. Notwithstanding a legend is provided at the bottom of the first table.

Red tones = wins
Light Purple = wins by less than 10
Bright Purple = wins by 10 or more
Dark Red = wins by 20 or more

Blue tones = losses
Light Blue = losses by less than 10
Bright Blue = losses by 10 or more
Dark Blue = losses by 20 or more

Table 1 - The Season Thru Game 53 - Record 33-20

You’ll notice that Table 2 is not only a Legend describing the color that goes with each category, but also a table that records how many wins or losses is in each category. To the right last years season is included for comparison. The percent those games represent of the season (% of season) will help to compare this year to last year.

Table 2 – Legend

Table 3 – The Season Sorted  by opponents win % with lesser teams at the top.
Here we expect to see more red at the top and more blue at the bottom.

Against teams with a .550 win% or higher we have 9 wins & 14 losses.

*******************************************************************************

And now a look at some new tables
*******************************************************************************

Playoff Possibilities
The following tables are all sorted by the opponents win% with the lesser teams at the top.
These tables separate the games we played in the West from the games we’ve played in the East. I’ve headed this section "Playoff possibilities"  because how we've done against the West will likely be indicative of how well we do in the playoffs.

(disregard the buttons 1 thru 3 at the top of the next tables, they’re just macros I use to help sort the data).

Western Conference Table.................................................  Mixed feelings

Our record against the West is 16 wins 15 losses. If you look at the opponents win% at .345 and above
we are 8 & 13. This is not good my friends.
Sorry for the realism, but those are the cold hard facts. Our big wins (20+ margin) are against essentially .200 teams. Our wins by a 10+ margin are far and few between when the win% of our opponent is .345 or above.

Eastern Conference Table......................................................................   Purple Haze

We have a stellar 17 and 5 record against the East. This is a whopping .773 win%. I’m tired of the TV commentators saying the East is as good as the West this year. They have 3 good teams out East and if we played out there we are playoff bound - guaranteed.
The truth of the matter is that seeds 5-8 in the East, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, would likely not be in the playoff race if they were in the West.
You’ll also notice that we have a lot of big wins around the .500 level in the East whereas in the West we don’t. My conclusion here is that a team in the West with a .500 win% is better than a team in the East with a .500 win%.

In fact clear up to the .700 level, we own the East. It is almost amazing the difference between the two tables (East vrs West). Makes you wonder how anybody could claim the East is a better conference this year.

***********************************************************************************
And now some good news related to play in the Western conference.
****************************************************
Record = 4 wins & 11 losses.....................................................................
I Feel a Chill

Western Conference Home Games
Record = 12 wins & 4 losses............................
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about

With a good seed in the playoffs, we should be able to take care of business.

******************************************************************************

NBA Standings

8th seeded Utah in the West would be 5th in the East. We would still be 4th seeded in the East, but then again we would have played more East conference teams and could be vying for 3rd place out East.
One thing is for sure, If we played in the East there’s no chance we miss the big dances, and I would say a 2nd round win would be a pretty sure bet also.

Divisional Breakdown for BlazerHolics.

The West - Pacific
Our biggest wins and biggest losses (margin of victory-wise)
Record = 6 & 7

The West - Southwest
Record = 5 & 4

The West - NorthWest
Record = 5 & 4

Eastern Conference Divisions
The East - Atlantic
Record = 6 & 2

The East - Central
Record = 5 & 1
Big wins against this division

The East - Southeast
Record = 6 & 2

For Geeks - The point differential trend chart
For those who haven’t seen this chart, it is a chart of point differentials, the season average, a 21 game average, and a 7 game average, plotted against each other. The shorter term 7 game average looks at a smaller segment of the season and gives you an idea of how the Blazers have performed short-term in comparison to the season. Each data point is an average of the last 7 games.

Included is a "strength of schedule" to better evaluate the point differential chart.
The difficulty stat (i.e. strength of schedule) is a crude stat I created to gauge the toughness of the opponent. It also looks at the average toughness of the last seven games, so it should be viewed in consideration of the 7 game point differential stat. This stat oscillates between one and zero, the closer to one the more difficult the schedule.

I’ve only included the point differential chart because I don’t like the way it‘s starting to unfold. Our schedule without question is getting easier, but our performance is dropping off. Check out the data points near the last few games.

I think around 17 of our last 29 games are against the eastern conference. This will help us immensely in regards to our record.

Other than Oden it looks like were getting healthy at the right time, and hopefully Oden won’t be out long because our hefty rebound rate has won some games this year.. Blake is back and that also should translate into some wins that otherwise might have dropped into the loss column. Roy’s Hammy and finger is that much father along to being healed.

We have 29 games left to this season. Are we going to turn this thing around with respect to how we play against the West? Without question this is a must.

My impression of the season is that we have steadily improved all year. In fact this team just does not look like a team that plays 4 rookies and is the youngest in the NBA. I feel about the team as I do about Roy. As a GM I would have never chosen Roy. But that’s only because he is so smooth his talent was hidden to me. Is this perhaps true with the team also? i.e. that they are doing a lot of the little things better than we think, and all we see is the bonehead plays that stick out like a sore thumb? Even in the narrow win against Memphis we looked like a very good team out there at times.

The answer to how we have accumulated a 33-20 record may not be easily answered.

We have ran up a decent record, but we also need to build on this to make some noise in the playoffs, of this there is no doubt.

The Blazers are so young that 29 games of experience will benefit us more than anybody else in the league. Will that be enough, I don’t know. We didn’t pull off that magical trade, but KP not only hinted, but stated he was going to be patient with this team.

Summation and observations
* We rock against the East
* We don’t against the West, fortunately 10 of the losses against the West is by less that 10 points. If we are strong enough by years end to turn half of those into wins, we should have 50/50 odds of moving into the 2nd round.

* Roy keeps getting better even though some said he was at his ceiling last year.
* LMA looks like he’s starting to break out in a big way
* Travis is unstoppable when he’s hot, and he’s starting to be more hot that not.
* Bayless actually has showed some good passing skills
* Blake can throw a pinpoint allyoop from half court.
* Sergio is opening eyes
* Oden is a bust fears are dissolving rapidly, (never was in my mind)
* Batum blows me away some nights, I don’t think we know his ceiling yet.
* Rudy is starting to drive the ball
* The team looks like they're starting to run a little more.
* Some of the offensive sets are starting to look like a seasoned San Antonio team
There may be a good reason why we didn't pull the trigger in a trade.

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