FanPost

Are The Kings As Bad in Close Games As We Think They Are?

From the FanPosts this weekend. Excellent look by SavageBeast. -- TZ

If you think the Kings have been in a lot of close games this season, it's not just your imagination. Defining "close" as a game ending with a point differential of five or less, only five teams in the NBA have played more close games this year. You might also have noticed that we have lost quite a few of these games. (So far you are two for two.) Based on this, you might conclude that the Kings are chokers--that they don't know how to close out close games the way other teams do. But is that really true? Are the Kings worse at closing out close games than most teams in the NBA? Do they lose more close games than they should? Well let's bring out Mr. Spreadsheet and have a look.

 

Team W L Win % Close Close W Close L Close W/L % Good Diff
ATL 33 19 63.46% 13 9 4 69.23% Y 5.77%
BOS 38 14 73.08% 21 14 7 66.67% Y -6.41%
CHA 22 31 41.51% 25 11 14 44.00% N 2.49%
CHI 35 16 68.63% 16 10 6 62.50% Y -6.13%
CLE 9 45 16.67% 9 3 6 33.33% N 16.67%
DAL 37 16 69.81% 22 15 7 68.18% Y -1.63%
DEN 31 23 57.41% 17 9 8 52.94% Y -4.47%
DET 20 34 37.04% 16 6 10 37.50% N 0.46%
GSW 23 29 44.23% 13 6 7 46.15% N 1.92%
HOU 25 29 46.30% 18 7 11 38.89% N -7.41%
IND 23 28 45.10% 14 5 9 35.71% N -9.38%
LAC 20 33 37.74% 13 6 7 46.15% N 8.42%
LAL 38 16 70.37% 14 8 6 57.14% Y -13.23%
MEM 29 26 52.73% 21 12 9 57.14% Y 4.42%
MIA 39 14 73.58% 13 5 8 38.46% Y -35.12%
MIL 20 32 38.46% 12 5 7 41.67% N 3.21%
MIN 13 40 24.53% 15 3 12 20.00% N -4.53%
NJN 17 37 31.48% 15 7 8 46.67% N 15.19%
NOR 32 22 59.26% 19 11 8 57.89% Y -1.36%
NYK 26 26 50.00% 13 6 7 46.15% Y -3.85%
OKC 33 18 64.71% 21 14 7 66.67% Y 1.96%
ORL 34 20 62.96% 13 7 6 53.85% Y -9.12%
PHI 25 28 47.17% 16 4 12 25.00% N -22.17%
PHO 26 25 50.98% 13 6 7 46.15% Y -4.83%
POR 29 24 54.72% 17 9 8 52.94% Y -1.78%
SAC 12 37 24.49% 20 7 13 35.00% N 10.51%
SAS 44 9 83.02% 11 9 2 81.82% Y -1.20%
TOR 14 40 25.93% 12 3 9 25.00% N -0.93%
UTA 31 24 56.36% 12 9 3 75.00% Y 18.64%
WAS 14 37 27.45% 12 7 5 58.33% N 30.88%

 

The table above shows the regular wins and losses for every team this season, the number of close games they have played, the number of close games they have won and lost, whether they are a "good" team, (defined here as having won more games than they lost), and whether their close game winning percentage is better or worse than their overall winning percentage.

One of the first things you will notice is that good teams tend to win close game and bad teams tend to lose them. No surprise there. However, if I could figure out how to change the background colors in the table cells, you would also have noticed that, in general, poor teams tend to have better winning percentages in close games than they do in their overall games. And better teams tend to have worse records.

At first this might seem counter-intuitive. Shouldn't better teams be better at closing out close games? Yes. And for the most part they are. But when a worse team plays a close game it automatically filters out the games where they get trounced. When a better team is in a close game it filters out the games where they have done the trouncing. So when you think about it, it makes sense that a bad team should have at least a slightly better winning percentage in close games than they do overall.

Most of the time, the difference is pretty minimal. For example, the Spurs have won 83% of all their games this season. Their win percentage in close games is only 2% less. I'm sure we could live with an 81% winning record. Miami, however has won 73% of their games this season, but in close games they are a pathetic 5 and 8. You might not think of the Heat as a team that chokes, but when games are tight, they appear to struggle. Cleveland's winning rate doubles however when they are in close games. Of course this is probably more indicative of the fact that they are "in" so few games. But the truth is they do a much better of job when the game is close than they do normally. Utah is one of the few winning teams that actually plays much better in tight games than they do overall.

So what about the Kings? At .245, we are only winning 1/4th of our games. Not even close to good. But in close games, we are winning 35%.While that still places us 26th in the league, that's three spots above where we are in actual win percentage, where only Cleveland has a worse percentage. In addition, only Washington, Utah, Cleveland, and New Jersey have a bigger winning differential between the overall games and tight games.

 

WAS 14 37 27.45% 12 7 5 58.33% N 30.88%
UTA 31 24 56.36% 12 9 3 75.00% Y 18.64%
CLE 9 45 16.67% 9 3 6 33.33% N 16.67%
NJN 17 37 31.48% 15 7 8 46.67% N 15.19%
SAC 12 37 24.49% 20 7 13 35.00% N 10.51%
LAC 20 33 37.74% 13 6 7 46.15% N 8.42%
ATL 33 19 63.46% 13 9 4 69.23% Y 5.77%
MEM 29 26 52.73% 21 12 9 57.14% Y 4.42%
MIL 20 32 38.46% 12 5 7 41.67% N 3.21%
CHA 22 31 41.51% 25 11 14 44.00% N 2.49%
OKC 33 18 64.71% 21 14 7 66.67% Y 1.96%
GSW 23 29 44.23% 13 6 7 46.15% N 1.92%
DET 20 34 37.04% 16 6 10 37.50% N 0.46%
TOR 14 40 25.93% 12 3 9 25.00% N -0.93%
SAS 44 9 83.02% 11 9 2 81.82% Y -1.20%
NOR 32 22 59.26% 19 11 8 57.89% Y -1.36%
DAL 37 16 69.81% 22 15 7 68.18% Y -1.63%
POR 29 24 54.72% 17 9 8 52.94% Y -1.78%
NYK 26 26 50.00% 13 6 7 46.15% Y -3.85%
DEN 31 23 57.41% 17 9 8 52.94% Y -4.47%
MIN 13 40 24.53% 15 3 12 20.00% N -4.53%
PHO 26 25 50.98% 13 6 7 46.15% Y -4.83%
CHI 35 16 68.63% 16 10 6 62.50% Y -6.13%
BOS 38 14 73.08% 21 14 7 66.67% Y -6.41%
HOU 25 29 46.30% 18 7 11 38.89% N -7.41%
ORL 34 20 62.96% 13 7 6 53.85% Y -9.12%
IND 23 28 45.10% 14 5 9 35.71% N -9.38%
LAL 38 16 70.37% 14 8 6 57.14% Y -13.23%
PHI 25 28 47.17% 16 4 12 25.00% N -22.17%
MIA 39 14 73.58% 13 5 8 38.46% Y -35.12%

 

It doesn't feel like it at the  moment, because we've played so many tight games lately ( 13 in our last 25 alone) and we've lost ten of those.But the fact of the matter is that many of those loses came against teams we should not have been that close to in the first place. The very fact that we did keep it close says something about not only our talent, but also the fact that we are still fighting.

I'm not going to say I still don't think the worst when we hold a slight lead with five minutes to go in the fourth. But from everything I can see we are a team that is still learning how to win, but we are not a bunch of chokers. That title goes to the big three!

Update: Just for kicks and giggles, I checked the records of the teams we played close games against. 11 of the 20 teams have winning records. So it's not like we're only getting close with the weak teams.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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