We only throw this up because we’re certifiable stat nerds, but as we were watching the Celtics-Lakers game tonight, we started wondering if we were witnessing a possibly historic comeback when LA had cut the Boston lead to 2 with 0:34 remaining. Only seven minutes earlier (at the 7:40 mark), the Cs had been enjoying a seemingly insurmountable 24-point lead.
Nelson Wasn’t Worried
This got us thinking – harkening back to the piece we did a while ago on the Kansas-UNC game where we discussed when it is statistically appropriate to call a game over (thanks, Billy Packer), just how worried should Boston fans have been?
According to the handy Bill James Lead Calculator,
Boston’s lead was as airtight as Vanessa Bryant’s pre post-nuptial agreement. In other words, no cause for worry, Beantowners. Even the Assassin Known as Kobe Bryant’s Ego can’t overcome 10:1 odds.
Note: it would be nice if one of the NBA commenters verified this, but we believe the largest 4th quarter comeback in NBA playoff history was in 2002 when Boston came back from 21 down at the start of the quarter to beat the Nets 94-90. But James would call that lead only 48% safe in comparison.