How Safe is an NBA Lead in the 2016-17 Season

Here is an update on how safe an NBA lead is for the 2016-17 NBA Season. Last season, we found that the Bill James’ bound was violated twice in the 2015-16 NBA season. This year, the bound was violated one time: January 4th, 2017 by the Miami Heat against the Sacramento Kings. The same Sacramento Kings who erased a 15 point lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the same day in 2016!

Refresher on Bill James’ bound can be found here.

Here’s the scenario…

  • January 4th, 2017
    • Miami Heat up 19 over the Sacramento Kings; Kings Ball
      • 19 point lead = 240.25 seconds
      • Lead lost in 240 seconds
      • Game in Sacramento
      • Third Quarter: Heat 87, Kings 68 with 2:11 to go
      • Fourth Quarter: Heat 89, Kings 89 with 10:11 to go
      • Heat won 107 – 102

Distribution of Time to Comeback

Here, we again plot a mere 10% of the occurrences of comebacks in the NBA season. It’s a cluttered plot if we add more. There was only one instance all season, indicating a 99.999+% success rate in the Bill James bound.



Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 5.21.25 PM.png

One thing is clear… be wary of the Sacramento Kings on January 4th games. They will erase large deficits.


One thought on “How Safe is an NBA Lead in the 2016-17 Season

  1. Pingback: How Safe is an NBA Lead in the 2016-17 Season — Squared Statistics: Understanding Basketball Analytics | Advance Pro Basketball

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