Fouling Out in the NBA

By Blaidd Drwg

The Lakers managed to invoke a little known NBA rule last week in their game with the Cavs. They came into the game with only 8 players dressed. Two of them got injured and one fouled out, leaving them with just 5 players for the 4th quarter. With 3:32 left, that is when it got really bizarre. From ESPN.com:

Sacre committed his sixth foul with 3:32 remaining but stayed in the game because D’Antoni was out of healthy bodies. The Lakers were assessed a technical foul.

“That was just crazy,” Sacre said. “When I got my sixth foul, I was just like, ‘Oh, dang!’ Then I got to come back in, so I thought it was something special. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Each side has to have five players on the court at all times during an NBA game. With the Lakers down to five healthy players, D’Antoni was informed by the officials that he could leave Sacre on the floor and any additional foul on the center would also result in a technical.

I really wonder what would have happened if someone else got hurt. Would they just leave the lifeless body lying on the floor? In case you were wondering, the Lakers ended up winning the game by 11.

http://player.espn.com/player.js?playerBrandingId=4ef8000cbaf34c1687a7d9a26fe0e89e&adSetCode=91cDU6NuXTGKz3OdjOxFdAgJVtQcKJnI&pcode=1kNG061cgaoolOncv54OAO1ceO-I&width=576&height=324&externalId=espn:10412601&thruParam_espn-ui%5BautoPlay%5D=false&thruParam_espn-ui%5BplayRelatedExternally%5D=true

Bracket Busters and History

By Blaidd Drwg

Is your bracket busted yet? It feels like there are a ton of upsets this year, but if you actually look at the numbers, percentage wise, it isn’t that many. If you don’t count the 8-9 games, which are two supposedly evenly matched teams (even though the 9 seed has historically won something like 54% of these games), higher seeds are 20-8 in the tournament, or have won 71.4% of their games.

This year, it was not a good idea to be a #5 seed as 3 of the 4 teams lost their game with VCU the only team in that seed to survive.
What does this actually mean historically? Well, I took a look at the last 5 NCAA tournament first rounds (including this year), and found that the higher seed (1-7) has won exactly 71.4% of their games. So this year is an exactly average year for upsets. Just for fun, I decided to look at the results by seed for the 5 year period:

Seed Wins Losses
1 20 0
2 17 3
3 18 2
4 15 5
5 10 10
6 10 10
7 10 10
8 12 8
9 8 12
10 10 10
11 10 10
12 10 10
13 5 15
14 2 18
15 3 17
16 0 20

What does it all mean? Well basically it means that any games involving seeds 5-12 are a toss-up and you could probably expect to see a 13, 14 or 15 seed knock off a higher seed at least once in the tournament. The key is picking the right upset.

Politicians and Sports

By Blaidd Drwg

Boston mayor, Tom Menino has been in office since I was in college (let’s just say that it was in the early years starting with 199), and he is a lifelong Boston resident, so he has at least a passing familiarity with the Boston sports scene. Mayor Mumbles as he is not so affectionately known around Boston is also well known for “misspeaking”, especially when it comes to people’s names.

He recently had this wonderful screw-up talking about the Celtics:

“There’s a lot of heart in this team, let me just tell you,” Menino told reporters, before adding, “KJ is great but Hondo is really the inspiration. Hondo drives that team.”

He was referring to Kevin Garnett (KG not KJ) and Rajan Rondo. Then again, he could have been referring to Kevin Johnson, former NBA great and now Sacramento California’s mayor and Frank Howard, the burly slugger who played with the Dodgers and Senators in the 1950’s and 1960’s (Hondo was also John Havlicek’s nickname, but it would give him too much credit for referring to a former Celtic great).

Some of his other great “mis-speaks”:

He’s right that this is far from the first sports head-slapper Menino has been guilty of. When discussing the New England Patriots’ chances in the playoffs against the Denver Broncos earlier this season, Menino talked about Tom Brady’s weapons “Grabowski” (Rob Gronkowski) and “Wes Weckler” (Welker).

Menino’s most infamous reference came in 2010 during the dedication of a statue to Bruins legend Bobby Orr’s “ionic” goal to win the 1970 Stanley Cup. In discussing some of the best moments in Boston sports, Menino said it was Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek who “split the uprights” to win the Patriots’ first Super Bowl in 2002. He was, of course, referring to kicker Adam Vinatieri.

Yet he is still mayor. Go figure.