Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Challenging A Comfortable Margin

A little while back I wrote about A Comfortable Margin, what score differential is safe in basketball. It turns out it's not a point per minute as I thought when I was young, but actually 6*n^.5 where n is the number of minutes left. My dad and I met a challenge though last Friday at the Warriors-Bobcats game (on a side note, this game proved that all NBA games are exciting. Two bad teams and we had a great time cheering for Stephen Curry and laughing at Kwame Brown's free throws). With 1:46 left in the game Curry hit a 3 to put the Warriors up 8. I called it the game winner. (106/60)^.5*6 is 7.97, and 8 is barely bigger than that so I was right with my call. Nonetheless, Stephen Jackson mounted a furious comeback, sinking 3 free throws with .6 seconds left to send the game to over time where the Bobcats won. The lesson here is not that the margin isn't comfortable, it's that somebody needs to tell Monta Ellis that being comfortable doesn't mean he can miss his free throws and commit terrible fouls.
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