Crunching the Numbers on the NBA Finals

It has been a storied season for the Golden State Warriors, but the Cleveland Cavaliers flipped the script this Monday in Game 5 of the NBA finals when the team beat the Dubs on their own turf 112 to 97.

It’s not a familiar story for Warriors fans, who saw their team clinch a home-game record of 39 and 2 in the regular season and 11 and 1 in the postseason.

What does this setback at home mean for the Warriors’ chances of clinching the championship?

The history books show the Warriors’ NBA Finals fate still looks golden.

About two thirds of the time, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the NBA championship. Since 1980 and the introduction of the three-point shot, 19 teams who won in an NBA Finals Game 5 went on to claim the trophy. 12 of those teams did not.

This fact could bode well for the Cavaliers, except no team has ever come back from a 3 to 1 deficit in the NBA Finals. That was the record going into Monday night’s game.

Plus, this year’s Warriors set a single-season record with 73 wins, which has added them to the history books alongside the 1996 Chicago Bulls, the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers, the 1997 Bulls and the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers, all of which went on to be named champions.

Then there’s the clincher: Since 1980 there have been six win-or-take-all Game 7’s in the NBA Finals. Of those six games, all of them were won by the home team. 

Signs of a likely game, set, splash for Golden State.

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