FanPost

Some playoff outlook data re: gms left and vs whom


I was just looking at the playoff picture so far in the West and noticed some interesting things about the teams clustered around Portland, regarding the games left on their schedule. It turns out that while Portland's oft-repeated "toughest remaining schedule in the NBA" may be technically true, on balance if you factor above/below .500 teams and home/away (as NBA.com helpfully does) you get a more nuanced picture. 

 

I was inspired to write this when I looked at Denver's remaining sked. They're a couple games ahead of Portland right now, in 5th--but they've also played 2 extra games. So in best case Portland's one game behind. And look at what Denver faces: 11 of 19 vs teams above .500. But the real kicker is that nine are on the road. And a quick check of their road record so far (11-19) does not bode well. 

By contrast, while Portland does in fact have the most remaining >.500 games left, they're evenly balanced at 7 home/8 road. And only 2 roadies against sub-500 teams show much peril. 

I think OKC has an interesting remainder left too: even at 11/11 for above/below .500, but like Denver, most of their tougher games are also road games (7 of 11 against +500 on road). Even their "gimmes" have four road games. 

New Orleans is the only team in that middle group who gets a home cooking advantage for their tougher games (8/6 home), although they're second to Portland in above-.500 games with 14 remaining. Speaking of New Orleans, while they're technically a half game ahead of the Blazers in 6th place, they've played THREE extra games and actually trail Portland in the loss column, 28 to 27. 

Of all the teams in that contention group, the Grizz probably have the most favorable set up: 12 against good teams, 7 against bad. The hard games are fairly well split, 5 home 7 away, and the easies are almost all at home, only one away game. Tough to ask for more than that; we'll see what they do with it.

One consideration I did not make was conference/non-conference. A fair number of Portland's remaining "tough" games are out of conference, like Orlando, Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta coming right up, Losses won't hurt them as much, and in fact Portland is doing well in division and in conference so far, a good thing. They also hold the tiebreaker against three of the four teams behind them (that are out of the playoffs), I think. So as long as they can play to their ability, they can overcome their overall tough schedule IMO. 

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