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NBA’s New Reality: No Lead is Safe


  • NBA games are seeing a trend of 20-point leads being overturned at a record rate.
  • The shift in the game’s style of play, with a faster pace and more 3-point attempts, is contributing to this trend.
  • Even the league’s best teams are not immune to this trend, highlighting the unpredictability of the current NBA landscape.

The Changing Face of NBA Games

In the world of NBA, the game has undergone a significant transformation. The change is so drastic that a 20-point lead, which once almost guaranteed a win, is now seen as precarious. The trend of 20-point leads being overturned is on the rise, making games more unpredictable and thrilling for the fans.

The Spurs’ Rollercoaster Ride

The San Antonio Spurs’ recent games serve as a prime example of this trend. In one game, they overcame a 20-point deficit to secure a win, only to watch a 27-point lead disappear in the next. They managed to bounce back and win that game, but then saw a 22-point lead vanish completely in a subsequent loss.

Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year-old phenom, summed up the new reality after just five games into his NBA career. “The biggest thing I’ve learned,” he said, “is a 20-point lead is nothing.”

The Stats Don’t Lie

The 2023-24 season has already seen the most 20-point come-from-behind victories in a single season since 1996-97. Even the frequency of 10-point and 15-point comebacks has increased. In the 1997-98 season, teams that fell behind by double digits had an .181 winning percentage. That figure has climbed to .250 a season ago and is at .229 this season.

The Impact of Playing Style

The shift in the style of play is a significant factor in this trend. Teams are playing faster, and more possessions are ending in 3-point attempts, leading to faster swings in scores. Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, who has been in the league for almost 40 years, observes, “Just about everybody in the league now is playing a pace-like game. You get a 10 point lead and it can disappear in four possessions just like that.”

The Unpredictability of the Game

Even the league’s best teams are not immune to this trend. The East-leading Celtics, who sport one of the best point differentials in league history, recently gave up a 22-point lead in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Jaylen Brown, Celtics guard, aptly sums up the current NBA landscape, “Any given night, you can lose. It’s the league, the NBA, anything can happen.”

So, the next time you’re watching an NBA game and see a team with a 20-point lead, don’t switch off the TV. The game is far from over.

#NBA #GameChanger 🏀

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