The folks over at numberFire.com spend their days analyzing statistics and probability in the NBA and other major sports leagues. Today they took aim at the Chris Paul injury, how it affected Game 4 of the Trail Blazers-Clippers playoff series, and how it changed the prognosis for the series outcome. We'll walk through some of the analysis from numberFire's Brett Oswalt.
On Game 4
At the time [of Paul's injury], the Clippers, down just three with 6:33 left in the game, still possessed a 51.45% chance of winning Game 5 (according to numberFire Live) and going up 3 to 1 on Portland before heading back to Los Angeles.
A missed three-pointer by J.J. Redick dropped their win odds to 51.41%, and a Mason Plumlee defensive rebound tipped things in Portland's favor, giving them a 51.55% chance to win.
But after that rebound, Paul injured his hand, and it wasn't until Al-Farouq Aminu nailed a three-pointer (giving Portland a 58.74% chance to win and a 58-52 lead) that the Clippers could call a timeout and get Paul off the court.
After Paul (not to mention Blake Griffin's brief trip to the locker room) exited the game, it took the Blazers a mere four and half minutes to pull ahead to a seven-point lead with a 66.93% chance of evening up the series.
From that point on, they didn't look back.
...after the benches had their run prior to the fourth quarter -- Portland did nothing but climb the ladder to a 14-point victory.
On the Odds of Portland Winning the Series
...the Clippers' odds of winning the series dropped from a hair over 86% to a touch above 65% while the Blazers' probability of pulling the 5 over 4 upset more than doubled from 13.91% to 34.7%. That's how much Paul's leadership has meant in the first three games of the series.
(Keep in mind these odds were posted before Blake Griffin's injury news went public.
On the Long View of the Playoffs
...if the Trail Blazers can advance, they'll likely take on the Golden State Warriors, who will be without their own star point guard, Stephen Curry. While our numbers give them only a 4.15% chance of winning the conference semifinals, that is more than double what it was before their Game 4 win.
numberFire gives the Blazers a 0.21% chance of winning the championship this year, up from 0.13% when Paul was healthy. The biggest beneficiary of the injury was Golden State, whose odds rose from 31% to 35%.
Oswalt's article includes charts and further numbers.