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WHEN IS A LEAD SAFE?
Comebacks are a part of basketball because our game is so up-tempo compared to
football and baseball. The only question that coaches have been asking for
years is when any lead is considered to be safe.
According to Bill James in an article for Slate.com (the same Bill James behind sabermetrics in baseball),
there is a point at which you can calculate when a lead is safe. Here is
the formula he uses to determine at what point a lead is safe:
Subtract three from the difference in points between
the two teams.
For the team that has the ball, add half of a point.
The team that does not have the ball is docked half of a point.
Square what you have thus far.
If the number of seconds is greater than or equal to
the calculated number, the lead is not safe.
Leads of zero to three points are not safe.
As a point of reference, here is the formula as an
lead is safe.
Y1=End result of calculation when team leading
does have the ball
result of calculation when team leading
does not have the ball
s=seconds remaining in game
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