Game 4 is Uber Important for Warriors, Down 2-1

Last night, we witnessed the Oklahoma City Thunder completely bring down the house with 72 points in the first half, and then go on to take Game 3 in terrific fashion.  What will most likely be explained by most to be a complete collapse in shooting by the Golden State Warriors (or perhaps the kick to Steven Adam’s region by Draymond Green), I wanted to look at how important winning particular games in series have become over the years. But first watch this replay from the game below.


How is he not suspended for Game 4?

Anyway, back to the series. If we take every series from 2009 to the completed series so far in 2016, we have 117 NBA playoff instances to base our findings.  Here are the results.

Game in Series Percentage of Game Winner to Win Series
Game 1 Winner 71%
Game 2 Winner 77%
Game 3 Winner 67%
Game 4 Winner 66%
Game 5 Winner 67%
Game 6 Winner 80%
Game 7 Winner 100%

If we interpret the data, every game 7 winner is going to win the series (so that’s a given at 100%).  Similar thing with the Game 6 winners which go on to win the series 80% of the time (that’s not all that surprising).  What is shocking is that the next highest is the winner of Game 2.  That team goes on to win the series 77% of the time.  That’s good news for the Dubs.

But, wait!  There’s more.

It’s not all that bad for the OKC fans.  Next, I wanted to look at teams that won Game 2, but were down 2-1 after 3 games.  That gave me 27 series to look at.  If we do the same thing for only those series, we come up with something completely different (and will make me watch intently this Tuesday).  Let’s look at the winning percentages for those series.

Game in Series Percentage of Game Winner to Win Series
Game 1 Winner 63%
Game 2 Winner 37%
Game 3 Winner 63%
Game 4 Winner 74%
Game 5 Winner 56%
Game 6 Winner 83%
Game 7 Winner 100%

Using this data actually shows the complete opposite story for this Warriors and Thunder series.

Interestingly enough, Game 2 isn’t all that important – those winners only go on to win the series 37% of the time.  I know my sample size is extremely small (which I’m adding to as the days go by), but it shows that the Game 4 winner goes on to win the series 74% of the time.  This is significantly more than any previous game winner as well as the winner of Game 5.

Strap it in everybody, this series is already interesting, but it’s going to get even better after Tuesday night!

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Photo by Keith Allison