GameChangers (04/23/14)

By John Ewing
A look at highlights from the most recent game from each NBA Playoff series utilizing Live ScoreCaster.

Live ScoreCaster allows you to view current scores and play-by-play as well as live, updating projections from 50,000 simulations of the remaining time in each NBA game. Live ScoreCaster is totally free and available at and for download on iTunes.

It's been an exciting and dramatic start to the NBA Playoffs. Here are some highlights from the Live projections throughout each game. Click each matchup to view Live ScoreCaster chart that tells the story of that game.

Wizards vs. Bulls

Washington rallied late in the fourth to force overtime and finished the comeback to go up 2-0 in the series. The Wizards used a 14-4 run in the final seven minutes to force overtime. Washington's expected win probability increased from three percent to 41 percent during that run. After the Wizards were on a 20-4 run from the end of regulation into overtime, Washington was 87 percent likely to win leading by six points but Chicago made it interesting late.

What might have been…
Kirk Hinrich had a chance to tie the game with 2.4 seconds left in overtime but missed the first of two free throws. Hinrich intentionally missed the second but the Wizards grabbed the rebound.

Had Hinrich, a 76 percent free throw shooter, made both free throws, the game most likely goes to a second overtime. If there had been a second overtime Chicago would have been 55 percent likely to win. One could make a case that the Bulls would have been in an even stronger position in a second overtime as Nene Hilario had fouled out for the Wizards.

Pacers vs. Hawks

The first half of Game 2 looked exactly like Game 1 with the eighth seeded Hawks controlling the game and leading by four points at halftime. Everything changed in the third quarter on two runs by the Pacers.

The first run (7-0) was capped off by a Lance Stephenson three-point play. It gave Indiana its first lead (62-59) since early in the first quarter. That 7-0 run increased Indiana's expected win probability from 58 percent to 77 percent.

The Pacers finished the Hawks and the third quarter with an 11-0 run that included a buzzer beating three-pointer. The run to end the third quarter made Indiana 99 percent likely to even the series at one game apiece.

What might have been…
Few teams rally once they have a one percent or less chance of winning. Paul George's three pointer at the end of the third quarter finished Atlanta in Game 2. Had George's shot missed, Indiana still has a double digit lead but the Pacers are 97 percent likely to win instead of 99 percent. See the Wizards/Bulls game for an example of a team rallying to win despite only have a 3 percent chance of winning in the fourth quarter.

Raptors vs. Nets

Toronto overcame 21 turnovers and battled through seven lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter to even the series at one game apiece.

The Raptors took the projected lead for good when DeMar DeRozan made the first of two free throws with 7:52 left in the game and Toronto trailing 75-74. There were three more lead changes and a tie before the game was finished.

What might have been…
Paul Pierce had a rough night, shooting 2 of 11 from the floor including missing all six three pointers, to finish with seven points. However, six of those seven points came in the final minutes of the game to keep the Nets within striking distance. Pierce had an opportunity to give Brooklyn the lead with 24 seconds left but his three-point attempt rimmed out.

Had Pierce's three pointer been good, Nets leading 93-92, Brooklyn would have been 58 percent likely to win.