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Did the Best Team in NBA History Peak Too Early?
The NBA season is about 30 games deep, and to the surprise of no one, the Golden State Warriors are the league’s best team at 27-5. After opening the 2015-16 campaign with 24-straight victories, many wondered if the Warriors peaked too early last season. The thing about a really good team, is that even when they’re not peaking, they’re still really good. In any 20-game stretch in 2015-16, Golden State was never worse than 16-4 and was outscoring opponents by 142 or more cumulative points in those games. From Game 20 through Game 82, there was one instance where Golden State had 300 more points than their opponents in their previous 20 games. Already in 2016-17, the Warriors have five such instances.
Rest for the Weary in the NFL Playoffs?
As the NFL approaches their postseason, four teams will receive a first-round bye. Does the week off help teams rest up for the Divisional Round, or does it leave teams rusty entering their first win-or-go-home matchup? There’s a similar phenomenon to the Warriors, in the sense that the teams receiving first-round byes are the best teams in the league; teams that usually win. To that effect, top-two seeds are 21-7 in the Divisional Round since 2010, including a perfect 4-0 mark in 2016. That’s good news for the New England Patriots, receiving their seventh-consecutive first-round bye, and the Dallas Cowboys, who clinched home-field advantage in the NFC after Week 16.
The NHL’s Hottest Teams Are…Who?
If you hit the parlay that the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild would have concurrent winning streaks of 10-plus games, our hats are off to you. If there’s one thing the casual hockey fan can grasp about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s that a hot goaltender can get you to June; the same is true about December for these two clubs. The Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky (league-leading 21 wins) has posted a perfect 1.000 save percentage while his team is shorthanded (23 saves), and Devan Dubnyk of the Wild leads the NHL with a 1.57 GAA, .948 save percentage, and five shutouts. The netminders are getting it done for the Midwestern teams, and (dare I say) could be getting it done against each other in the summer of 2017.
Matt Tardiff is the resident stat head at Chin Music Pod, and is fully aware of the proper spelling of ‘pique’ and the use of puns. For more wordplay on statistics in the world of sports, follow @StatTardiff on Twitter. As always, check back next Tuesday for more stats.