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The Orlando Magic (4) and Atlanta Hawks (5) will square off in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. The seeding would indicate this series is evenly matched, but one measure tells a different story.
Orlando has 55 Pythagorean wins on the season, and the Hawks have 17 fewer. Orlando actually has 50 wins during the regular season, and the Hawks have 44. This means Orlando has won 5 fewer games than their point differential would predict, and Atlanta has won 6 more games than their point differential would predict. For comparison, the 4 versus 5 match-up in the Western Conference will feature teams with a difference of one Pythagorean win.
Among other things, Pythagorean wins can be an indication of teams who are over/under performing or teams who have experienced good/bad luck throughout the year.
Chicago has 22 more Pythagorean wins than their first round opponent, Indiana. Miami has 14 more Pythagorean wins than Philadelphia, and Boston has 12 more Pythagorean wins than New York. Atlanta has as many Pythagorean wins as the Pacers, and Orlando is tied with the Celtics. The Lakers and Spurs both have one more Pythagorean win than Orlando. The Bulls lead the NBA with 60 Pythagorean wins.
The website 82games.com breaks down each teams’ wins by opponent profile. 82games considers teams in the top 10 of a category as good, 11-20 as average, and 21-30 as bad.
Orlando is 15-12 against teams ranked between 11 and 20 in point differential. The Hawks rank 16th in the NBA in point differential. Atlanta is 8-17 against the NBA’s top teams in point differential. The Magic rank 6th in the NBA in point differential.
Orlando is 10-16 against teams ranked in the top 10 in points allowed. The Hawks rank 9th in points against. Atlanta is 10-15 against teams ranking in the top 10 in points allowed. The Magic rank 5th in points against.
Orlando is 14-16 against the slowest teams in the league. The Hawks rank 27th in pace (possessions per game).
Atlanta is 18-10 against teams that rank between 11-20 in pace. The Magic rank 18th in pace.
Orlando is 10-15 against average shooting teams. The Hawks rank 12th in effective field goal percentage.
Atlanta is 9-17 against good shooting teams. The Magic rank 6th in effective field goal percentage.
Orlando is 21-6 against the teams with worst turnover differential in the league. The Hawks rank 25th in this category.
Atlanta is 20-6 against the teams with worst turnover differential in the league. The Magic rank 24th in this category.
Orlando is 20-10 against bad rebounding teams. The Hawks rank 22nd in total rebounding rate.
Atlanta is 18-8 against good rebounding teams. The Magic rank 2nd in total rebounding rate. The Hawks are .500 (26-26) against average and bad rebounding teams.