Andrew Liang

Season in Summary: ’19 NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors

In this time of celebration and rejoice, it’s time to take a look back at the Raptor’s 2019 NBA season, to remember and cherish not only becoming NBA champions but also the moments that led us there. This past offseason was a big one for us—we traded away our best player DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs (we got super-star Kawhi Leonard in return, but his health was still uncertain at the time). We fired our head coach Dwayne Casey. Casey had been a stellar coach; more impressive than his clinching of the 2017-2018 Coach of The Year award was the fact that he coached the Raptors to 5 straight seasons with an increasing number of wins every single year. Last year, under Casey, we won 59 games, which was the best record in the Eastern Conference. We replaced Casey with Nick Nurse, someone who had never been a head coach in the NBA. Yet when the season first started we saw what we had hoped for: We won all six of our first six games. We looked like a team that was well put together, with stellar defense and stellar offense. When close games near their ends, defenses tighten up. Players rarely get easy or open looks at the basket in clutch moments. Yet our offense didn’t struggle much: We had a monster of a scorer in Kawhi. Kawhi...

Read More

Playoffs Preview Game 6

The Toronto Raptors have never lost an away game in the NBA Finals. Of course, they’ve only ever played in two away games in the Finals ever, but that’s immaterial. The Raptors are 2.5-point underdogs—for the betting public, the Warriors are favoured to win tonight’s Game 6 by two-and-a-half points. Usually, the public is good at predicting general things: which players the teams will be fielding, which team is better, and so on. But oftentimes they fail to fully account for the precise effects of certain things. For example, The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant is out tonight; he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in Game 5. Obviously, an injury to a top-tier player (many analysts have Durant as a top-3 player in the world) will drastically affect the outcome of a game: usually these games are close, and the production (and efficiency!) of these top scorers would be sorely missed. And yet the Warriors are still favoured—and heavily at that. The odds makers have them to win at -145: which means an implied win probability of nearly 59%. The betting public has the Warriors winning with a 59%! That’s weird—Toronto’s outplayed the Warriors in 16 out of 20 quarters these Finals; they’ve won both away games by a combined 27 points so far! Checking more reliable sports prediction systems also favour the Warriors to win: fivethirtyeight’s CARM-ELO projection has them...

Read More

The Case for KIA MVP

  With the regular season over, the decision for the NBA’s annual MVP award rests now solely in the hands of the voters; player performances are over and done. I’ll dive into the cases for the clear front-runners James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo have had spectacular regular  season campaigns—Harden’s averaging the most points per game since the heyday of Michael Jordan back in ‘86. He’s also added on 7.6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game. On the other hand, Antetokounmpo’s scored 27.7 per contest to go with 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. James Harden The reigning MVP Harden has...

Read More

NBA Today: 27 April 2019

Round 1: Playoffs Wrap-Up Warriors vs. Clippers The Warriors beat the Clippers 4-2, notably dropping Game 2 at home, when the Clippers came back from a 31-point deficit (the largest NBA-Playoffs comeback). Kevin Durant was the player of the series, averaging 35 points per game, including a 50-point game in the series-winning Game 6. Steph Curry scored 38 points in Game 1. Lou Williams scored 36 points to go with 11 assists in Game 2. Kevin Durant lead both teams in the last 4 games of the series, with 38, 33, 45, and 50 points in Games 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively. Nuggets vs. Spurs In a rough-and-tumble 7-game series, the Nuggets squeezed out a 4-3 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets’ star big man, was the player of the series, averaging 23.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 9.1 assists—leading both teams in all three categories. He also dropped 43 points in a Game 6 loss. Trail Blazers vs. Thunder The Trail Blazers beat the Thunder in a gentleman’s sweep, 4-1. Damian Lillard scored 50 points in series-ending Game 5. In that game, he scored a 37-foot buzzer beating game-winner, only the 6th time in NBA-Playoffs history the feat has been accomplished. Damian Lillard has scored 2 of those 6. This series highlighted the differences in the two teams’ points guards—Lillard shot very well from...

Read More

NBA Today: 17 April 2019

  Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Led by Kyrie Irving’s 37-point 6-rebound 7-assist night, the Celtics take a commanding 2-0 lead in this first round series. Jayson Tatum chipped in 26 points for the Celtics, while Indiana was led by Bojan Bogdanovic’s 23 points. Bogdanovic lso recorded 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe combined for 77 points for the Bucks. Giannis added 12 rebounds and 4 assists, Middleton, 5 rebounds and 8 assists, and Bledsoe 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets The...

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest