The Dream Shake posted its predictions for how the rest of the Rockets' season would play out. I
shamelessly ripped-off was inspired by that post, and now submit a Magic-oriented version of it, with a mathematic twist. The "Prediction" column shows how I think we'll do. The "Worst Case" column shows what we'll do if Murphy's Law rears its ugly head. The "Pythagorean Odds" column shows our chances of winning, based on point differential. I'll explain more after the table.
|Date||Opponent||Prediction||Worst Case||Pyth. Odds|
|21 March||vs. Philadelphia||W||46-25||L||45-26||.721|
|22 March||@ Atlanta||W||47-25||W||46-26||.641|
|25 March||vs. San Antonio||W||48-25||L||46-27||.611|
|28 March||@ Milwaukee||L||48-26||L||46-28||.769|
|1 April||vs. New Orleans||L||48-27||L||46-29||.576|
|5 April||@ Cleveland||W||49-27||L||46-30||.572|
|6 April||@ New York||W||50-27||L||46-31||.770|
|9 April||vs. Chicago||W||51-27||W||47-31||.803|
|11 April||vs. Minnesota||W||52-27||W||48-31||.886|
|13 April||@ Chicago||W||53-27||L||48-32||.645|
|15 April||@ Atlanta||L||53-28||L||48-33||.641|
|16 April||vs. Washington||W||54-28||L||48-34||.750|
I'm not sure how much stock you put into this metric, but if its predictions hold true -- that is, if the team that's predicted to win actually does win -- the Magic will run the table the rest of the way and finish with a record of 57-25. Likely? No. Possible? Practically and mathematically speaking, absolutely.
There are some caveats here, obviously. For one thing, I did not calculate the splits for home and road teams; that is, I considered only a team's overall point differential, not its respective home and road differentials. For another, the Cavaliers actually have a sub-.500 Pythagorean win percentage, mostly because of the games LeBron James missed. As a result of that discrepancy, the formula exaggerates our chances of winning that game. Considering that it's already the most difficult one on the schedule, I was pretty hesitant to predict a victory. But I did.
In the interest of full disclosure, the last time I used this formula on this site, it predicted we would go 4-2 over a 6-game stretch. The predictions held true in 4 of the 6 games. Another time I used the formula in my notebook, and the predictions held true in again in 4 of the 6 games. So it's certainly not infallible.
As you can see from my predictions -- which are far less interesting than the Pythagorean ones -- I believe there are only three games we are guaranteed to win: Saturday against Atlanta, April 9th versus Chicago, and April 11th versus Minnesota. Every other game could go either way, even the road games at Milwaukee and at New York. In fact, I guarantee a loss at Milwaukee next Friday. We're going to come out soft and complacent after several days of rest, and one unheralded Buck, possibly Royal Ivey, will post a career-high. Write it down.
So, just to prompt some discussion: what are your predictions for the rest of the season? Do you think we'll sweep the remaining 12 games, as the formula suggests we might? What's the biggest "trap game" left on our schedule?