Saturday, May 31, 2014

MLB: Traditional Wisdom

Let’s hope Bud Selig reaches retirement before deciding to fix this, but the outcome of three out of four Major League Baseball contests is as pre-determined as was the outcome of the 1919 World Series.

Moreover, this truism is indeed part of the game’s common knowledge, what everybody knows. It’s heard every time a discussion turns to a manager’s impact on his team’s on-field performance.

“Every team will win 60 games; every team will lose 60 games.”

Unless my abacus has blown a gasket, that adds up to 120 games whose outcomes have been established, fully 74.1% of a team’s regular-season schedule.

Baseball’s first utilized a 162-game schedule in 1961 – but only in the ten-team American League. The following season, when the Astros and Mets joined the NL, that total became and has remained the standard. Circumstance has caused the shortening of four intervening seasons: 1971 (156 games), 1981 (111), 1994 (117) and 1995 (145). (We’ll exclude these years, along with the Yankees’ marvelous 103-win though asterisk-scarred 1961 season, from this review.)

From 1962 through 2013, a team has embarked upon a major league season 1,262 times. Only 42 of those teams (3.3 percent) have managed to win fewer than 60 games. Barely more than half as many (22, or 1.7 percent) were able to lose fewer than 60.Those 22 sub-60-loss campaigns were achieved by a mere nine franchises: Yankees (5), Braves & Orioles (4 each), A’s (3), Tigers (2) and Cardinals, Mariners, Mets & Reds (1 apiece).

Not only do sub-60-win seasons occur more frequently than their antithesis, they involve far more teams, 20 to be exact. Two-thirds of the winners’ list is represented here as well, including the most frequent big losers, the Tigers and Mets (5 seasons each). The Nationals nee Expos have four appearances, the Astros, A’s & Blue Jays three apiece, while the Mariners, Pirates, Royals, Rangers & Cubs account for two each. Nine franchises sport one such blemish: D’backs, Brewers, Rays, Marlins, Indians, Braves, Orioles, White Sox & Padres.

Here’s a piece of trivia guaranteed to win you a bar bet: Since MLB instituted the 162-game schedule, which team holds the single-season record for victories? The Yankees? Close but no cigar, as they are one of only two teams who finished with fewer than 50 losses, 114-48 in 1998. The Braves? No, topped out at 106, also in ’98. Weaver’s Orioles? The Big Red Machine? Uh-uh.

Order off the top shelf as you identify the 2001 Seattle Mariners, 116-46.

In this 162 Era, there have also been only two teams to win fewer than 50 games in a full season. Casey Stengel’s Original Mets remain the standard bearers for ineptitude (40-120) and required three more years before reaching the 60 plateau. The 2003 Tigers missed history by a single game, finishing 43-119.

In 2013, the Astros matched the late ‘70’s Blue Jays with three consecutive seasons of futility. Only the Nationals (’08-’09), Tigers (’02-’03) and Kansas City A’s (’64-’65) have done such a dubious double.

Here’s a final dosing of historical karma, for the road, as they say: Seven MLB franchises, six of whom were fielding teams back in 1962, have staunchly upheld the validity of the 60-60 maxim. Each and every one has advanced to a World Series. (And for all its laid-back free spirit, California is home to three of these traditionalists.)

Remember, it’d be better if we don’t mention any of this to the Bud Man.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Bum’s Rush?

There once was a coach they called Donnie…sounds like the start of a limerick you’d be leery to repeat in mixed company, doesn’t it?

It’s actually the beginning of a cautionary tale.

I’d gotten myself selected to the Board of Directors for the Softball side of things at the Dad’s Club where our kids had begun playing ball. Coach Donnie’s daughter was a pretty good pitcher in the age group my daughter was moving up to, but Dee got drafted to a team with pretty easy-going coaches, similar to the woman who’d coached her 10-and-under team the year before.

Donnie was coaching his kid’s team, but there had been a concern or two expressed by some of the old hands on the Board before his approval. A win-at-all-costs attitude and tendency to dispute umpire rulings (though he himself was certified and called some ball) created reluctance and essentially just conditional approval.

The season was exciting and competitive – respectable pitching, some pretty darn good athletes, quite a few of whom had been around the game for some time. It was a lot of fun. Dee more than held her own, even though she was only beginning to learn the nuances of the sport. One time she got a walk-off hit, solid shot to the outfield, the winning run could have crawled home. As the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat was unfolding on the field, there was Dee, amidst the throng, still vigorously rounding the bases, determined to score, oblivious to the fact that the game was, ya know, over.

The best and most serious ballers comprised a talented and successful All-Star team, even qualifying to participate in a minor national tournament.

The periodic gatherings of the Board during the season included up-dates on all the various leagues. When it was reported that Coach Donnie had been behaving himself, it almost seemed as if there was as much disappointment in the room as relief. Some of those folk simply didn’t like that man.

It’s customary in youth ball for the coach of the first place team to become the coach of the All-Stars. In this instance, the husband-and-wife tag team who’d led Dee’s team to the championship was unavailable. You already know who was next-in-line, right? Donnie was ready to take the team and run with it – he recognized the talent on hand, especially on the pitching front. He was connected and respected enough to find a couple of preliminary tournaments for the team before the Metro Championships, even had come up with a sponsor to foot the bill.

Some Board members remained hesitant to offer their approval, theorizing that it’s one thing to allow a problem child to play in the backyard, quite another to turn him loose in public. But since no one harboring such reservations was willing to fight that fight, Donnie was again conditionally approved – now he was on Double-Secret Probation, I guess.

Donnie was a great coach, passionate about teaching the game and prepared to do so. Dee was seeing and playing the game a whole new way – and loving every minute of it. The team as a whole responded well to his approach and it showed in their play. While Coach’s game face was a grim mask and he did grumble over a close call or two, his conduct and demeanor were impeccable – for a softball coach, anyway.

Until…my kid went and ran herself into an out at third base during the Regional Tournament. Maybe Dee got around the tag, maybe she didn’t. From his perch in the coach’s box, Donnie was in the umpire’s ear in no time. He wasn’t way out of line, but his protest was vigorous…then it was over. The game went on, the kids finished well enough to qualify for the afore-mentioned Nationals.

But not before the Board – finally – was ready to take some action.

Coach Donnie was summoned and summarily dismissed. An assistant coach had already agreed to take the helm for the last leg of the journey. Several moms became involved to see that Donnie’s daughter remain with the team.

I’d cross paths with Donnie from time to time over the ensuing years, most often at an umpire’s certification clinic. A silent nod or brief “Hey!” was about the extent of our interaction – though he did resolve an issue two or three of us were once debating. Game face in place, he grumbled, “Bah, you can never call an infield fly on a bunt.” An “Aha” in three-part (dis)harmony was being heard as Donnie kept right on steppin’.

I was always uneasy when I’d see him, uncomfortable over my complicity in a reactionary “Gotcha!” Not that I could have altered the outcome, mind you.

But with the perspective of hindsight, this can and should be said. Never – not on the field or at the subsequent meeting – did he criticize the player (my kid) for a poor base-running decision. If anything, he had her back.

The final ironic twist to this little tale played out several years later. Two members of that contentious governing body came under suspicion regarding the misuse of Association funds.

I see some parallels between this grass-roots parable and THE Association’s current Clipper conundrum – set to come to a head next week at, of all things, a Board meeting.

There’s a feel of “Reactionary Gotcha!” to the owners’ expected-to-be overwhelming if not unanimous vote to oust Donald Sterling from their Dad’s Club. Despicably unfair housing practices? Own away, Donnie. The surreptitiously-recorded ramblings of a faltering old man? Go for the jugular!

Mark Cuban’s public support for the Commissioner’s actions has included cautions of a “slippery slope” as well as a reminder of how easy it is to misspeak insensitively.

Slippery slope, indeed…adorned with hidden passages, closets and skeletons.

The Moral to this Abacus Fable might be best put like so:

If there's fire, go get a hose.
If not, don't be blowin' no smoke.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

MLB 2014: A Quarter-Season of Starting Pitching

Starting pitcher is the most unusual role in all of sports. No other player on the team more influences the outcome of a ballgame – but then he has nothing at all to do with the next four. Gets full pay, too!

In this day of five-man pitching rotations, a starter’s full slate of work is 32 or 33 games and MLB offers 150 rotation slots at any given time. Through seven weeks and 652 games, 205 pitchers had been granted at least one starting assignment, and of these 141 have thrown their team’s first pitch five times or more. The Red Sox and Brewers are the only teams who have utilized only five different starters through May 18, while the White Sox and Rangers have trotted out nine apiece.

To dispel the many rumors of its extinction, the Complete Game has made 26 appearances this season, over half (15) resulting in shutouts. Four hurlers have tossed multiple CG’s, led by Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto with three, two of them shutouts. He’s matched in the latter by Miami’s Henderson Alvarez and Martin Perez of the Rangers. (Unfortunately, Perez has followed up back-to-back April shutouts with an appointment for Tommy John Surgery.) Tampa Bay’s peerless David Price rounds out this endurance crew.

Mr. Cueto’s unprecedented opening flurry – nine consecutive starts of seven or more innings and two or fewer runs, for the first time in over a century – has brought some luster back to the pitcher who can consistently provide a 21-out performance. In point of fact, over a quarter (28.8%) of MLB starting assignments have lasted at least seven innings. The Reds alone account for 22 of this season’s 375 such Long Starts. Over half of all teams have gotten a Long Start from five or more different pitchers … Seattle’s had seven pitchers go seven innings at least once.

Overall, National League pitchers hold an edge over their A.L. counterparts in all areas of endurance: Long Starts (203-172), Complete Games (14-12) and Shutouts (8-7).

The Most Valuable Starting Pitcher in MLB thus far has been Andre Rienzo of the Chicago White Sox. He entered the rotation in Detroit on April 23 and hasn’t missed a turn since. The Pale Hose have emerged victorious all five times, Rienzo earning three of the decisions. That’s a month’s worth of perfection for a team with a .467 winning percentage.

Sadly, poor Jeff Samardzija is living the flip-side of Rienzo’s experience on the other side of Chicago for an even worse team.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Actively Passive, Grammatically Aggressive

The bell has tolled.

For a mere four words, that simple sentence presents an odd little linguistic dilemma – one that calls to mind the old admonition from writing professors about avoiding the passive voice. You know, the childish dodge of “the window got broken” rather than “I did it!”

Grammatically, the “passive voice” is invoked when the subject of a sentence is NOT the performer of the main verb’s action. For example,

The winner [subject] crossed [main verb] the finish line. ACTIVE
The finish line [subject] was crossed [main verb]. PASSIVE

Passive construction begs the question “by…?” (Naturally, in the childhood story, the answer becomes “the ball,” the performer though not the perpetrator of the damaging action.)

Similar to the destructive ball, our noisy bell requires assistance in the performance of its action.

Hence, the “odd little linguistic dilemma” with “The bell has tolled.” (And NO, it’s not “told,” though a tolling bell can be telling.)

Structurally, the sentence is written in the active voice. Passively, it would read: The bell has been tolled. (By…? See how that works!)

On a literal level, the sentence evokes the question “how” – how did that happen, what perpetrated the action?

Hey, isn’t that the same question?

Indeed…and therein lies the dilemma.

The words convey an identical meaning with or without that voice-changing auxiliary verb..kinda like the way ‘flammable” and “inflammable” offer the same cautionary advice.

Is there really a need for both?

In actual practice, the manipulation of voice can be a handy tool, and not solely for shady or self-serving motives.

A tolling bell may, for instance, symbolize the passage of time; it may raise even more questions, like “for whom”; it could conceivably lead to an “indirect object” or two.

For many years, the bell tolled many a student their release from my pedagogically diabolical clutches.

Once again, the bell has tolled.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

From Abacus' Bookshelf: John Feinstein and Red Auerbach's "Let Me Tell You a Story"

Author and multi-media mainstay Mitch Albom enjoys telling the story of his initial meeting with comic entertainer Billy Crystal:

“I sat down to do a radio interview with a very busy Billy Crystal. He was harried. His people were rushing him. I did not know the man. But I opened this way: ‘We’re joined now by Billy Cyrstal, who has something in common with me. We’re both members of the Dick Schaap Fan Club…’
Crystal smiled broadly.
And I had him.”

That particular rendition comes from the Introduction to Schaap’s 2001 memoir, Flashing Before My Eyes.
As we are so often reminded in both triumph and tragedy, the power of our games lies in their ability to provide us a kind of connectivity—an extended community, if you will, centered on teams, players and magic moments.

The broad and colorful tapestry of our wide world of sports generates words galore—from talk radio to internet chat, from barroom vitriol to scholarly eloquence, like that of Schaap or Albom.

One of the most colorful, controversial and successful figures in sports legend is the late Red Auerbach. For over half a century, through thick and thin, wins and losses, good owners and bad, even through and beyond the Rick Pitino fiasco, Arnold “Red” Auerbach WAS the Boston Celtics.

In the spring of 1999, noted and prolific sports author John Feinstein experienced his first encounter with the old coach. Feinstein’s sportswriter buddy Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe had received permission for and cooperation in writing his Auerbach biography Seeing Red, but only on the condition that Shaughnessy not “do to me what that SOB did to Bobby Knight.”

Imagine Feinstein’s discomfort when discovering, upon arrival for an appearance at a local D.C. television studio, that Auerbach was another guest. Without even the vicarious involvement of Mr. Schaap, and despite some gentle teasing from Red (“Heard from your buddy lately?”), the seeds of both a friendship and a working relationship were sown that day in the “greenroom.”

A long stint at the Washington Post for native New Yorker Feinstein created more than a few “mutual acquaintances” in the adopted hometown of Auerbach, himself born and bred in the Big Apple.

Hoping to obtain both a newspaper column and maybe a free meal, Feinstein worked his connections. Soon after this chance encounter, he was the recipient of an invitation to the weekly luncheon Red hosted for a group of friends. In no time—Red apparently had no qualms with the subsequent column—Feinstein was a full-fledged member of the China Doll gang, whose members ranged from local and national hoops figures, to the Secret Service (no kidding!) to Red’s lovably wacky brother Zang.

About five years later, the two of them—Red in his mid-80’s, mind you—were undertaking a promotional tour In support of Let Me Tell You a Story.

A “gangster” by the name of Jack Kvance was the Athletic Director at George Washington University. It was he who had clued in Feinstein about the China Doll luncheons.

Kvance: [Red] sits there and tells stories the whole time. It’s unbelievable.
Feinstein: He still remembers stuff?
Kvance: Remembers stuff? Are you kidding? He remembers everything.

Does he ever!

Even a casual basketball historian knows that Auerbach drafted a “junior-eligible” Larry Bird in 1978 even though the young Birdman had announced his intention to return to Indiana State. It wasn’t long before the NBA closed this loophole, requiring a player to renounce any remaining college eligibility upon entering the draft pool.

But did you ever wonder how the loophole got there at all?

The rule—that a player became eligible for the draft four years after high school graduation—dates to 1953 and had been proposed by (who else?) Red Auerbach.

In the draft later that year, the Celtics selected the University of Kentucky duo of Frank Ramsey and Cliff Hagan. Like Bird 25 years later, both would return to school for a fifth year, but be well worth the wait.
Ramsey became the C’s original sixth man, and his jersey No. 23 hangs from the Garden rafters.

After fulfilling an additional two-year military commitment, Hagan’s considerable skill set helped Red obtain the second selection in the 1956 NBA draft—turned out to be a useful acquisition, you might recall.

This ironic anecdote, including the juicy little tidbit that Red waited until it was almost time to adjourn the owners’ meeting before suggesting the adjustment to the 1953 draft rules, is but one of the countless tales that Feinstein is able to blend with the eclectic cast that is the China Doll gang.

They include high-school coaching legend Morgan Wooten, D.C. sports publicity guru Hymie Perlo, TV news correspondents Mike and Chris Wallace, the extended athletic family of George Washington, to which Red remained actively loyal, and some plain old buddies, card-playing and otherwise.

For example, Red’s frequent (and much younger) racquetball opponent Aubre Jones—a GW athletic administrator and son of Celts’ legend Sam—claims Tiger Woods stole this patented fist pump from Red.

Arnold “Red” Auerbach, and only Cousy ever got away with calling him Arnold, is this book’s top banana, and he can indeed weave a tale with the best of them.

Let Me Tell You a Story rates right up there with Feinstein’s better efforts, just like the one about his “buddy.” 

Here's one for the road, from a Feinstein interview following Red's 2006 passing.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Rockets Fall

Grammatical Introduction: the three words that comprise the title of this entry constitute a sentence, albeit one where the end punctuation has been omitted. Oddly, if we add not end punctuation but an apostrophe – either before or after the “s” – this little expression would no longer qualify as a sentence. “Fall” would morph from a verb (i.e. what the team has done) to a noun (the name we give to the circumstances which have befallen the team).

The conundrum here befits the NBA’s Gulf Coast franchise today, as they must be wondering how it is that they are no longer “standing” in the league’s post-season tournament. They’ve thrown down six times in the past two weeks with their brethren from Oregon and outscored Terry Stotts’s Trail Blazers 672 - 670 overall. Huh?

It’s not particularly unusual in a competitive seven-game series for the losers to edge out the victors on the cumulative scoreboard. San Antonio’s Finals point total topped Miami’s 684-679 last season. The most famous such imbalance occurred in the 1960 World Series, when the beaten Yankees more than doubled the run total (55-27) of the victorious Pirates.

In 2012, both Los Angeles teams won seven-game opening round series despite scoring fewer overall points. Last season, the Pacers repelled New York in six games to advance to the Conference Final even though each team notched exactly 537 overall points.

The Rockets and Blazers, with the aid of three overtime games, treated us to one of the more high-scoring series in recent memory. The circumstances were quite different the last time a six-game loser held the overall scoring edge. In that 2011 series, either team topped 90 points only three times in 12 tries, once in defeat. The average score was 88.7 - 86.8, 532 – 521 in total points. Similar to this season’s anomaly, the vanquished held an edge in free throw attempts and rebounds.

The most glaring similarity between the Houston Rockets and the likewise fourth-seeded Orlando Magic who fell to the Atlanta Hawks in 2011 is the starting center.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The NBA “Swish Watch” -- Final 2013-14 Shooting Grades

“That’s the second-most-stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!”

Having taught secondary school for thirty years, I had ample occasion to offer that opinion – and not only to students.

From time to time, someone would inquire as to the gem of “wisdom” that sits atop this list.

Some 30 or so years ago, a highly-respected (in that neck of the woods) baseball umpire dismissed basketball as a “lousy game,” reasoning that “you can score 100 points and still lose.” Fortunately, I’d studied a little Latin so knew a non sequitur when I heard one.

A desire for faster-paced play and for more scoring induced NBA owners, at the urging of Danny Biasone of Syracuse, to introduce a shot-clock to their game almost 60 years ago.

Led by the Los Angeles Clippers at 107.9, 17 teams averaged over 100 points per game in 2013-14, six of whom failed to qualify for the post-season. Interestingly, the poorest scoring team in the league (at 93.7 points per game) earned home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Shooting Acumen

Here’s another puzzler for you – the best field goal shooting team (Miami, at .501) is not among the top ten scoring teams in the league. (They are, however, the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference.)
Playing one-on-one down at the schoolyard, only field goal shooting matters. But shooting comes in three flavors in competitive ball: percentages cover overall field goal attempts, 3-point field goals and free throws.
Suppose we add up each team’s FG%, 3FG% and FT%, then rank the teams by this sum. We’ll discover that the Top Five by this little “metric” include all four participants in the past three NBA Finals. Defense, they say, wins championships – but ‘twould appear one must demonstrate some marksmanship, as well.

Scoring Ratios

College coaches were the first to become enamored of the possessions-based comparative analysis so common nowadays. Those high-scoring Clippers, not surprisingly, were No. 1 in both Points per Possession (PPP) and the less commonly-referenced Points per Shot (i.e. field goal attempt).

So the Clippers must be the best shooting team for 2013-14, right? Alas, the Clips’ 26th ranked free-throw shooting precludes such coronation.

The “Swish Watch”

To rank the teams, we’ll consider Shot SUM, Points per game, Points per shot and Points per possession. The teams are ranked from 1-30 in each category, and the rankings are added—low score wins, of course. (Playoff qualifiers in BOLD.)

No. 1 San Antonio Spurs (18)
PPG:  105.4 (6); Shot SUM:  1.668 (1); PPS:  1.262 (6); PPP:  1.074 (4)

No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder (19)
PPG:  106.2 (5); Shot SUM:  1.638 (3); PPS:  1.284 (4); PPP:  1.067 (7)

No. 3 Dallas Mavericks (20.5)
PPG:  104.8 (8); Shot SUM:  1.653 (2); PPS:  1.254 (8); PPP:  1.081 (2)

No. 4 Miami Heat (21.5)
PPG:  102.2 (12); Shot SUM:  1.625 (5); PPS:  1.336 (2); PPP:  1.081 (2)

No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers (24)
PPG:  106.7 (4); Shot SUM:  1.637 (4); PPS:  1.227 (11); PPP:  1.074 (4)

No. 6 Los Angeles Clippers (26)
PPG:  107.9 (1); Shot SUM:  1.556 (21); PPS:  1.309 (3); PPP:  1.083 (1)

No. 7 Phoenix Suns (32)
PPG:  105.2 (7); Shot SUM:  1.593 (10); PPS:  1.261 (7); PPP:  1.062 (8)

No. 7 Houston Rockets (32)
PPG:  107.7 (2); Shot SUM:  1.542 (24); PPS:  1.337 (1); PPP:  1.074 (4)

No. 9 Toronto Raptors (40)
PPG:  101.3 (13); Shot SUM:  1.599 (8); PPS:  1.236 (10); PPP:  1.049 (9)

No. 10 Minnesota Timberwolves (41.5)
PPG:  106.9 (3); Shot SUM:  1.563 (16); PPS:  1.222 (12); PPP:  1.046 (10)

No. 11 Golden State Warriors (44)
PPG:  104.3 (10); Shot SUM:  1.595 (9); PPS:  1.221 (13); PPP:  1.045 (12) 

No. 12 Atlanta Hawks (45)
PPG:  101.0 (15); Shot SUM:  1.602 (6); PPS:  1.238 (9); PPP:  1.026 (15)

No. 13 Brooklyn Nets (54)
PPG:  98.5 (21); Shot SUM:  1.581 (14); PPS:  1.264 (5); PPP:  1.034 (14)

No. 14 New Orleans Pelicans (54.5)
PPG:  99.7 (18); Shot SUM:  1.601 (7); PPS:  1.209 (16); PPP:  1.038 (13)

No. 15 Los Angeles Lakers (57)
PPG:  103.0 (11); Shot SUM:  1.588 (11); PPS:  1.209 (16); PPP:  1.024 (18)

No. 16 New York Knicks (61.5)
PPG:  98.6 (20); Shot SUM:  1.582 (12); PPS:  1.200 (19); PPP:  1.046 (10)

No. 17 Washington Wizards (67.5)
PPG:  100.7 (16); Shot SUM:  1.570 (15); PPS:  1.193 (20); PPP:  1.025 (16)

No. 18 Denver Nuggets (71.5)
PPG:  104.4 (9); Shot SUM:  1.531 (29); PPS:  1.215 (15); PPP:  1.024 (18)

No. 19 Indiana Pacers (76)
PPG:  96.7 (24); Shot SUM:  1.585 (12); PPS:  1.207 (18); PPP:  1.006 (22)

No. 20 Sacramento Kings (77)
PPG:  100.5 (17); Shot SUM:  1.539 (25); PPS:  1.218 (14); PPP:  1.019 (21)

No. 21 Memphis Grizzlies (84.5)
PPG:  96.1 (27); Shot SUM:  1.558 (19); PPS:  1.173 (22); PPP:  1.025 (16)

No. 22 Detroit Pistons (86.5)
PPG:  101.0 (14); Shot SUM:  1.438 (26); PPS:  1.163 (26); PPP:  1.020 (20)

No. 23 Orlando Magic (96)
PPG:  96.5 (25); Shot SUM:  1.561 (17); PPS:  1.167 (25); PPP:  0.986 (29)

No. 23 Cleveland Cavaliers (96)
PPG:  98.2 (22); Shot SUM:  1.544 (23); PPS:  1.158 (28); PPP:  1.005 (23)

No. 25 Charlotte Bobcats (98)
PPG:  96.9 (23); Shot SUM:  1.530 (30); PPS:  1.180 (21); PPP:  1.004 (24)

No. 26 Philadelphia 76ers (99)
PPG:  99.5 (19); Shot SUM:  1.457 (20); PPS:  1.141 (30); PPP:  0.960 (30)

No. 27 Chicago Bulls (100)
PPG:  93.7 (30); Shot SUM:  1.559 (18); PPS:  1.168 (24); PPP:  0.989 (28)

No. 28 Boston Celtics (104)
PPG:  96.2 (26); Shot SUM:  1.545 (22); PPS:  1.147 (29); PPP:  0.990 (27)

No. 29 Utah Jazz (105)
PPG:  95.0 (29); Shot SUM:  1.535 (28); PPS:  1.171 (23); PPP:  0.998 (25)

No. 30 Milwaukee Bucks (107.5)
PPG:  95.5 (28); Shot SUM:  1.538 (26); PPS:  1.162 (27); PPP:  0.994 (26)