So much of the time, we like to imagine that we can add results from the previous game of a playoff series, add in home-court advantage and player availability, and voila! An expectation for the next game. The Atlanta-Boston series is a reminder of the folly of such a philosophy. Let’s recap:
Game One: Hawks build a huge lead, then hang on for a win. Game Two: Playing without Rajon Rondo, the Celtics steal a road a win as Josh Smith goes down with an injury. Game Three: Despite Smith’s absence, Atlanta forces overtime in Boston before losing by six. Game Four: The Hawks get back Smith and Al Horford … and lose by 22 after trailing by more than 30 points.
The moral of the story is there’s too much randomness within a single game to focus on one factor and expect it to regress to the mean. Every game is a unique environment. Sometimes, like in Utah-San Antonio, the results end up largely similar, but every game brings a new story all its own.