The NBA Playoffs: Does Defense Really Improve? (Part 1 of 3)

Disregard this article; it needs to be corrected. Sorry for the bad link.

This is the first part of a three-part series on defense in the NBA Playoffs.  We often hear from NBA analysts that defense improves, or at least intensifies between game 82 of the regular season and Game 1 of the playoffs.  It seems intuitive enough, the playoffs start and there’s a lot to play for: pride, fame, and winning the ‘chip.  The table below compares and contrasts defensive performance in the regular season and the playoffs during the 1980s.  The two metrics used in this comparison are Pace (Possessions Per 48 Minutes) and Offensive Rating (Points Per 100 Possessions).


For the 1980’s as a whole, the pace of the game slowed down by 3.5% in the playoffs, but the Offensive Rating remained the same.  This result shows that there were fewer points scored in the playoffs, but the sole reason was that the pace of the game slowed down; playoff offense operated with the same efficiency as that of regular season. 




















Some Notable Facts About The 1980s:

At least in the 1980s, there was little evidence of correlation between the change in pace during the playoffs and the change in offensive efficiency.

In 1981, the playoffs were played at a 7% slower the pace than the regular season; the largest drop-off in the 80s.

In 1985, both the pace of the game increased and offensive efficiency improved, by 1.2% and .8%, respectively. 

In 1987, playoff pace decreased by 2.6%, but was almost made up for with the 2.1% increase in offensive efficiency.





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2 Responses to The NBA Playoffs: Does Defense Really Improve? (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    okay… I'll check back later for the rest.

  2. DRP says:

    Sorry about the missing post; I posted Part 2 yesterday but blogger went down deleted the post. They say they're in the process of restoring the deleted posts.

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