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The First 85 Percent of the Season, In Retrospect

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The brilliant Jason Gurney of hoops blog aggregator Lowpost.net has created a magnificent little script that essentially replays the season via a line graph, allowing you to see how different teams comparatively performed so far this season. Quite a fun and useful tool.

It reminds us how dismal December was. Remember, we had two five-game losing streaks during that messy start. Of those ten games, if we win just two of them, we're in seventh place right now and four games over .500. That's a big difference from eighth by two games and even up at 35-35.

Other than those stretches, the Kings have been steady. Look at Jason's Artest-Peja comparison of the Kings and Pacers: both teams took off from mediocrity, with Sacramento performing a bit better than Indy. This begs the question for the historically-inclined: Was Artest for Peja the most mutually beneficial trade in NBA history?

The graph for the Central Division is just plain interesting in general. I hadn't realized that the Cavs didn't break away from the pack until February, and didn't pay attention enough to the Bulls to remember that they were right in thick of things until a long holiday slide. And, of course, the speed at which Detroit blasted off is amazing to see. Those apparent back-to-back sweeps look like a lot of fun. Wish the Kings had some.

Also, while you're surfing, be sure to look at 82games' "current" leaderboard for alley-oops, which I found via TrueHoop. (Can't believe I missed it last week, when it was actually posted.) Kevin Martin is 19th on the alley-oops made list, which is rather good for a guy averaging twentyish minutes a night for the season. Bibby is on the alley oop assist list, with seven. (He's 26th.)

Maybe Francisco will show up on the assist list next season as his playing time grows. It seems like the Hovito-Speedracer connection was becoming more rare even before Francisco then Kevin suffered injuries. With Bonzi back, the oops may be gone for the remainder of the season.

Let's hope not.