OKC Thunder: Too close for comfort?

December 7, 2013

(This article was first published on More or Less Numbers, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The Thunder this season have already played some pretty exciting/anxiety-causing basketball.  Not just the excitement of watching new and old players return to the court, but the games seem to have been back-to-back nail-biting.  Peering around on the data from the good people at basketball reference, I wanted to see if this feeling actually was supported by data comparing this season so far to last season.  What better way to visualize it than with the rgexf package in R.

So this season the Thunder have had some close games.  So have many other teams in the West.  Most pundits can agree the West is stacked and there are a lot more close games to come.  But what is interesting is that so far the Thunder have had way more games than last season where the point differential between the two teams is 3 or less.  In fact as of 12/4/2013 they have the most in the NBA.

Here is a visualization of the match-ups.  2012 the Thunder had two by early December:  Pistons and Spurs. We have had two games with the Warriors within 3 already (as most may recall).  Also interesting to note where western teams are when comparing 2012 to 2013 so far.  In general it will be interesting to see how this year pans out with this season starting out this way.  OKC fans have been biting their nails this season….perhaps more than any other fans and definitely more than last season around this time.  So in general fans…the data supports the emotion :-)

*Few notes on the networks:  Thunder away games are in blue, Thunder home in black along with every other NBA game.  Warriors had two games against the Thunder in 2013 but only one edge represented in the network (sorry couldn’t work that one out).  

2012 Match-ups within 3 
2013 Match-ups within 3

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