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Inside the Numbers – Down the Stretch vs. Milwaukee

The Bobcats escaped Time Warner Arena with a much needed win Monday night against the Bucks. The win keeps them within striking distance of the 8th spot with 9 games remaining and an upcoming matchup against the lowly Cavs. Although Henderson scored the final seven points for the Bobcats and showed a glimpse of what the organization hopes he will be, one thing is for sure – the Bobcats were fortunate to win last night’s game.

After Carlos Delfino stepped to the line to give the Bucks a 86-80 lead with 3:51 left to play, Milwaukee proceeded to miss its last 10 shots from the field. Sure, you could argue that if a similar cold streak occurred sometime in the 2nd quarter, for example, that we wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it. However, it’s not simply the fact that the Bucks missed at an inopportune time, but the sheer improbability that they would miss so many consecutive shots.

Look at it this way: For simplicity’s sake, let’s say each attempt the Bucks took in the last 3:51 had a 40% expected rate of conversion (60% to miss), a low figure considering NBA teams consistently shoot a higher percentage and 4 of their 10 shots came at the rim. Nonetheless, we’ll use a conservative figure. Given these assumptions, the probability that the Bucks would miss their final 10 shots is .6%. Yes, not 6%, but .6%. To put it in other terms, 1 out of 165 times. Not to mention the Bobcats turned the ball over three times during the same stretch, resulting in 6 more field goal opportunities for the Bucks than they saw over the final 3:51 (Henderson did get to the line for two shots).

In the end, the Bobcats and their fans should be excited the team remains in the hunt with 9 games left to play – just don’t expect a repeat of last night anytime soon.