HoopIdea: Last five minutes of NBA games — relevant or not? | Magic Basketball

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Apr 02

HoopIdea: Last five minutes of NBA games — relevant or not?

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

You know that you only need to watch the last five minutes of an NBA game, right? Well, I thought that was true until Sunday.

In the 2011-2012 NBA season, no team in the league has a winning record when trailing at the half. Again, no team in the NBA has a winning record this season when they head into the locker room trailing their opponent. That is the most unbelievable NBA stat I have heard in a long time.

I have always felt the great teams just toy with opponents until crunch time and then lay the hammer down when the moment is right. Entering Sunday’s batch of games, here is a look at the top teams in the league and their records in a few different situations (the last two categories read “Ahead after 3″ and “Behind after 3″):

Once the great teams have their opponent in a headlock, they hold on tight about nine out of 10 times. However, they don’t have much success escaping from a deficit and appear mortal if they trail at the half and after three quarters.

The Heat (.890) are the only team in the group with a winning percentage under .900 when they head into the third quarter with the lead. The one time out of 10 would be fun to watch, but don’t hold your breath until the next time Miami lets a lead slip.

Equally, don’t think you’re getting some great deal if your buddy bets you any of these four teams will not be able to overcome a deficit heading into the fourth quarter. Your odds would be the best if you picked the Thunder to rally in the 4th quarter, but even in that situation they have only won about 35 percent of their games. If you’re scoring at home, that is a winning percentage almost identical to the one the Sacramento Kings have accumulated in all of their games this season.

Here is where it gets really crazy: even the Bobcats and Nets close out opponents when they have a lead heading into the 4th! The Bobcats are 6-2 in those situations and the Nets have put 16 of their 20 leads on ice.

Remember these four facts next time you’re watching an NBA game:

  • No team in the NBA has a winning record when trailing at the half.
  • Only the Warriors, Hornets, Wizards, and Bobcats have a losing record when leading at the half.
  • No team in the NBA has a losing record when leading after three quarters.
  • No team in the NBA has a record even close to .500 when trailing after three quarters.

Forget the last five minutes of an NBA game. I only want to see the halftime score and the difference after three quarters.

Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.

1 comments
CarloSimone
CarloSimone

You're absolutely right, Matt.  I feel like if the Magic are ahead after three quarters I can just stop watching...because they'll probably lose the game.