Both the Heat and the Pacers Have Time to Rebound

As they approach the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat should be worried about their recent slumps, but probably no more than if these rough patches had arrived earlier in the season.In their last February game, the Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks — their third consecutive win — to improve to 44-13. They were a game and a half in front of Miami in the East, after the Heat’s sixth straight win that same night over the New York Knicks. Since then, Miami is 12-11, which is mediocre but better than Indiana’s weak 10-12 run, which the Pacers reached after beating the Bucks, again, Wednesday night. Indiana coach Frank Vogel had benched his starters, and his reserves pulled out a two-point win over the team with the worst record in the NBA.Up next for Indiana and Miami: each other. They play Friday in a game that two months ago looked like a preview of the Eastern Conference finals. Now it must feel more like a reprieve, a chance to face a struggling opponent.How far the East’s titans have fallen. But the historical record suggests that bad play in March and April, the last two months of the season, hurts teams’ playoff chances no more than earlier slumps do.Using Basketball-Reference.com’s Play Index, I searched for playoff teams that played an 82-game schedule since 1983-84, when the postseason expanded to 16 teams. That left me with 446 teams. (That’s 16 teams for each of the 28 seasons with a full schedule, except for two teams last year — the Boston Celtics and the Pacers — that missed one game.)I broke down these playoff teams’ regular seasons into two parts: the games through February and those in March and April. Then I ran a linear regression, seeking the relationship between each team’s playoff results and two variables: its overall regular-season performance, and whether it improved or declined in the last two months of the season. The result: Teams’ regular-season winning percentage was a highly significant indicator of postseason success. Every increase of one percentage point in regular-season winning percentage boosted postseason winning percentage by 1.4 percentage points (p<10^-15).But the timing of teams’ regular-season wins didn’t matter. There was no statistically significant relationship between a team’s winning percentage before March subtracted from its winning percentage in March and April, and how the team did in the playoffs (p>0.8).In other words, while the slumps aren’t yet distant memories for Indiana and Miami fans, they’re no more damaging to the teams’ playoff hopes than if the slumps had occurred in the season’s first 22 or 23 games.The basketball stats site Hickory-High.com similarly found no particular importance for the playoffs for a team’s March performance relative to its results the rest of the season.This doesn’t mean the East leaders’ slumps are irrelevant. If either team had won more games, it would have a big lead for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and a better chance at home-court advantage in the finals.Their late slumps also are unusual for teams as good as they are. Miami and Indiana have 53 and 54 wins, respectively, with a handful of games remaining. Just one playoff team in our sample with more than 50 wins had a losing record in March and April: the 54-win Detroit Pistons in 1996-97, who lost in the first round of the postseason. And just two teams with more than 50 wins were outscored in March and April. (Each one, the 2003-04 Sacramento Kings and the 2004-05 Seattle SuperSonics, won one playoff series.)It’s also notable that Miami and Indiana have slumped differently. Miami has been unlucky, losing close games while otherwise winning by big margins: The Heat have outscored opponents by about four points per game in March and April, not far off their season mark of 5.45.But Indiana has been lucky to win 10 of its last 22 games: The Pacers have been outscored by nearly five points per game, thanks to offensive woes outlined by my Grantland colleague Zach Lowe last week. That’s by far the biggest scoring deficit this late in the season for a 50-win playoff team in our sample. Perhaps the encouraging results of prior playoff teams don’t apply as far down the charts as Indiana has fallen.The table below shows the 50-win teams in 82-game seasons with the worst winning percentages in March and April, and how they did in the regular season and the playoffs. read more

Land Rovers new Defender was potentially leaked again

first_img Checking the tech in the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover… 2018 Range Rover Velar: Effortless SUV elegance on- and off-road Post a comment 2:21 34 Photos 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport packs on the updates Now, we don’t know much in the way of details about the new Defender, but it looks to be a wildly different animal than the beloved off-roader that it’s replacing. For some people, namely the ones who couldn’t abide by the fix-on-a-fix crudeness of the original, that’s probably a good thing. For others, that rough charm was what made them fall in love with arguably Land Rover’s most iconic shape.When asked for confirmation as to whether this was indeed the new Defender, Land Rover’s representatives said only, “Land Rover is aware of an unofficial image in circulation. Through the development of any new vehicle many design options are considered. We will not comment any further at this time.”Land Rover is planning on giving the world its first real look at the new Defender at the Frankfurt motor show this September. Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: SUVs Car Industry Enlarge ImageThis photo was taken by a spy photographer and posted to Twitter by the LandRoverPhotoAlbum account. LandRoverPhotoAlbum via Twitter The way that new Land Rover Defender looks seems to be one of the worst-kept secrets around these days. First Land Rover drives it all over Africa in camo with game wardens, then Lego drops a Technic set and now, according to a report published Thursday by Automotive News, it’s got a dang picture of the thing in the instrument cluster of one of its test cars.The photo in question was snapped by a spy photographer and posted to the LandRoverPhotoAlbum Twitter account. 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e review: A hard hybrid to recommend 0 Land Rover More From Roadshow Tags The All-New Defender! Someone managed to sneakily photograph the display cluster of the New Defender.#AllNewDefender #landroverdefender #landroverphotoalbum #landroverevolved #Defender2020 pic.twitter.com/H2TOTCr7u3— landroverphotoalbum (@landroverpa) June 24, 2019 Land Rover 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque review: Style, now with more substancelast_img read more

Road accidents claim 12 lives

first_imgTruck being retrived at Palashbari upazila of Gaibandha district on Saturday. Photo: Shahabul Shahin/ Prothom Alo.Twelve people, including two minor schoolgirls, were killed in three road accidents in Gaibandha and Jessore districts on Saturday.In Gaibandha, 10 people were killed and at least 10 others injured in two accidents in Palashbari upazila.Seven people were killed after a truck overturned in the upazila in the afternoon.The deceased could not be identified immediately.In another incident, three people were killed and 10 others injured as a bus hit a stationary public transport vehicle, a ‘human hauler’, in front of a filling station in Palashbari in the morning.Witnesses said the driver of the Bogra-bound bus lost control over the steering after the tire burst and the bus hit the human hauler in the area around 9:30am, leaving three killed on the spot.Deceased Khoshru, 56, Zakirul 25, and Raju, 27, were labourers, from Gobindaganj upazila in the district.Palashbari police station officer-in-charge Mahmudul Hasan confirmed the matter to Prothom Alo.The injured were admitted to Palashbari upazila health complex.Overturned truck carrying iron rods. Seven workers were killed in the accident in Palashbari upazila of Gaibandha district, Saturday. Photo: Shahabul Shahin/ Prothom AloIn Jessore, two schoolgirls were killed in a road accident in Sharsha upazila in the morning, reports UNB.The deceased are Roja, 11, daughter of a college lecturer Alamgir Hossain and Zerin, 11, daughter of Ibrahim Hossain of Bairi village in the upazila.Both the victims were class-VI students of Bagachhra Girls High School.The accident took place when a sand-laden truck hit a motorcycle carrying the two girls at Bagachhra bazar around 8:00am, leaving the two dead on the spot and Alamgir injured, said Bagachra police outpost officer-in-charge Humayun Kabir.Alamgir Hossain, a lecturer of Bagachhra College, was taking his daughter and niece to their school, the OC added.The injured was admitted to a local clinic in critical condition.last_img read more