Intriguing Stats From Opening Weekend Of The Playoffs

Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups

Will this year's playoffs stay as exciting as the Celtics-Knicks game on Sunday?

The first weekend of the NBA playoffs is over, and it’s turning out to be as good as we hoped.  Now that each team has one game under its belt, what can we predict about the rest of the post-season?  Here is a look at some historical statistics related to opening weekend of the playoffs:

  • In 2010, the top six scorers in that first weekend were Carmelo (42), Nowitzki (36), Brandon Jennings (34), Jameer Nelson (32), Andre Miller (31), and Derrick Rose (28).  Of those six, Nelson was the only one to make it to the second round.  This year’s top six? Dwight Howard (46), Durant (41), Rose (39), Kobe (34), Chris Paul (33), and Westbrook (31).  Since they’re playing each other, I’m betting either Kobe or Paul will be the one to survive this year.
  • Derrick Rose is a beast in the first game every year.  This year he had 39 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.  In 2010 it was 28-7-10, and his rookie year in 2009 he notched 36-4-11.  But his second game averages plummet to 16.5-4-7.  Will the same thing happen this year?
  • From 2008-2010, only 6 of 24 playoff teams have advanced to the second round after losing the first game.  Only 3 of these teams got to the conference finals, and only 1 made it to the finals (the Magic in 2009, who then lost to the Lakers).  But here’s the interesting part: since 2000, only one franchise has lost its first game and then went on to win the NBA championship.  That team?  The Spurs, who did it in 2003, 2005, and 2007.  That’s right, the same Spurs who dropped their first game this year to Memphis.  Bad omen for the other teams looking for a title?

Of course, these stats don’t mean much to any of these teams right now.  No one’s going to give up hope yet.

But here’s a stat that does matter, at least to us fans:  The average winning margin in 2009 in game 1 of the playoffs was 16 points.  In 2010 it was 9 points.  2011? A mere 6 points.

The NBA is more competitive than ever, and the 2011 playoffs may just be the most exciting basketball we’ve seen in a long time.

Want to know who’s going to win this year’s NBA championship?  Check out our proven formula here.

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