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Thursday, May 10, 2007

The "Pivotal" Game

Playoff games are often called "pivotal," a term that is used to describe any playoff contest other than game one or game seven: game seven is obviously the decisive game, while game one can hardly be considered "pivotal" -- or can it?

As I explain in my newest NBCSports.com article, the winner of game one has eventually advanced to the next round in 78.4% of the NBA playoff series that have used the seven game format. So, when players, broadcasters and writers talk about a home team "taking care of business" by winning the first two and suggest that the road team now must simply "hold serve" (don't you love those mixed metaphors?) they are disregarding the reality that the game one winner is a prohibitive favorite to ultimately win the series. Yes, there have been exceptions to this--including a couple in this year's playoffs--but taking a 1-0 lead in a playoff series has proven to be a very significant advantage.

You can read the entire article here:

For Openers: The Significance of Game 1

posted by David Friedman @ 1:32 AM

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