Article courtesy of FiveThirthyEight, written by Benjamin Morris.
For the statistically oriented, base concepts like “clutch” and “momentum” generally aren’t a thing. Instead, a different sort of conventional wisdom rules the day: Margins of victory mean more than wins; results are largely random walks of possessions; series are largely random walks of games; and playoff games are like regular games between stronger teams. Despite encouraging overt oversimplification, these ideas remain compelling because metrics built with them in mind have been pretty good at making predictions in many contexts across several sports and in the NBA’s regular season.
But the NBA playoffs are a different beast entirely. There, many of the traditional ways of thinking — like the philosophy that the playoffs are where winners win and where champions win championships — turn out to be true.
Featured Image: TORONTO, ON - MAY 27: LeBron James #23 and J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate their 113 to 87 win over the Toronto Raptors in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on May 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)