Seventeen up, twenty-four down. That's 41 games of (mostly) hard work put out on the floor by our Philadelphia 76ers. There have been more downs than ups, and many, many more than 7 more on the down side of the scale than the up side, but here they sit. Still in playoff position, with a much easier second-half schedule ahead of them. Let's take a look back at the first 41 and forward to the second half.
Before we take a look at the advanced stats and POTG leaderboard, I'm going to have to do it. I'm going to have to play the what-if game:
- Cartier Martin, a 33% three-point shooter hits a contested three from about five feet behind the line to send the Washington game into overtime, the Sixers lose.
- Evan Turner (a 78% free throw shooter), misses 2 free throws, either of which would've sealed the game. Then Jrue Holiday fouls John Wall (79% from the line) on a half-court heave. Wall hits all three free throws, the Sixers lose in overtime.
- Lou Williams (81% from the line), misses two free throws, either of which would have sealed the game. Austin Daye (35% from three for his career) hits a three at the buzzer to tie the game, the Sixers lose in overtime.
- Andre Iguodala fouls Jason Richardson as he's going up for a three-point attempt with the Sixers up by 4 points with less than 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Richardson hits the three, completes the four-point play, ties the game, the Sixers lose in overtime.
There were other tough losses in the first half, but the odds of losing one game in the way each of those were lost are astronomical. The most-likely loss was the first against the Wizards. Let's say that shot taken by Martin has a 20% chance of going in. 1 in 5, fine, a bit unlucky.
The second Washington game, well, the odds of Turner missing both free throws is somewhere less than 7%. 7 in 100. The odds of Jrue Holiday fouling a guy taking a half-court heave to tie the game? Has to be one in a million. The odds of John Wall hitting all three free throws? Maybe even money. The odds of all three happening, in succession? A billion to one? Higher?
The odds of Lou Williams missing both free throws? About 3 in 100. The shot Daye hit to tie it? Let's be generous and say 40%. Combined? 1 in 100? Less?
The odds of Iguodala fouling a three-point shooter in that situation? 1 in 10,000, I'd say. The odds of him fouling the shooter and three point shot dropping? 1 in 100,000? Add in the 15% chance Robinson misses the free throw and the percentage of likelihood drops even more.
Now look at all those long odds. Pretty much each one of these games was a complete fluke. The odds so highly stacked against something like this happening just one time in the course of a season, it's almost laughable. It's happened to the Sixers four times in only 41 games. 16.7% of their losses have been nearly impossible. If none of those unbelievable things happen, the Sixers are 21-20 right now, one game out of the sixth seed in the East.
Sometimes, I really hate this game.
Four Factors/Advanced Stats
Player of The Game Leaderboard (team record in those games in parens)
- Elton Brand - 10 times (3-7)
- Jrue Holiday - 10 times (4-6)
- Andre Iguodala - 7 times (3-4)
- Thad Young - 4 times (2-2)
- Jodie Meeks - 3 times (2-1)
- Andres Nocioni - 2 times (1-1)
- Spencer Hawes - 2 times (1-1)
- Lou Williams - 1 time (1-0)
- Marreese Speights - 1 time (0-1)
- Evan Turner - 1 time (0-1)
OK, time to put your thinking caps on. Check out the remaining schedule here, and give me your best guess in the comments. How many games will the Sixers win in the 2010-2011 season?