My absence from regular articles during the past several months is owed to the considerable time that I’ve been investing in compiling a mammoth dataset which examines every single team in every single playoff series since 1992 from a variety of statistical angles. This includes a total of 300 playoff series from 1992-2011. I have been fortunate to have the indispensable help of fellow attorney Ashley Smith in the data gathering and, more recently, Sports Economics professor David Berri, who has provided Wins Produced data and who will be helping with our regression analyses.

The following statistics are derived from our dataset and examine the 80 teams who have played in Conference Finals from 1992-2011. Where applicable, I show statistics for this years crop of Conference Finalists: Boston, Miami, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio.

CONFERENCE FINALS (1992-2011):

Of the 40 conference finals series between 1992-2011, the average series differential for the winning team was 21.3, and the average series went 5.8 games (for an average point spread per game of approximately 3.66 points.

Of the 40 teams with home-court advantage in the Conference Finals, 25 advanced (62.5 percent).

Of the 40 series, there were five sweeps, seven five-game series, 18 six-game series, and 10 seven-game series.

Four out of the 10 teams who won their Conference Final Game 7 went on to win the title.

Three out of the five teams who swept their Conference Finals opponent went on to win the title.

OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY:

Teams who have a Defensive Rating of 100 or lower are 13-6 against their third-round opponent since 1992.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists: Boston = 98.2, Miami = 100.2, Oklahoma City = 103.2, San Antonio = 103.2.

Teams who have an Offensive Rating of 110 and higher are 15-19 against their Conference Finals opponent since 1992.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists: Boston = 101, Miami = 106.6, Oklahoma City = 109.8, San Antonio = 110.9

Teams who have a Defensive Rating differential of 4 or better versus their third-round opponents are 10-2 since 1992.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists: Boston = +2, Miami = -2, Oklahoma City = 0, San Antonio = 0

Teams with an Offensive + Defensive Rank Differential of 10+ (they are a combined 10 slots higher in regular season league rankings in these statistical categories) are 5-3 versus their Conference Finals opponents.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists: Boston = -16, Miami = +16, Oklahoma City = +2, San Antonio = -2

EFFICIENCY STATISTICS (WINS PRODUCED, courtesy of David Berri):

Teams with Wins Produced (among top 10 regular season WP players) deficits of 9+ versus their Conference Finals opponents are 1-11 since 1992.  The only teams to advance in this manner are the '95 Rockets (over Spurs) with a -12.05 diff.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists (adjusted for shortened season): Boston = -17.76, Miami = +17.76, Oklahoma City = +3.98, San Antonio = -3.98

All nine teams with a regular season Wins Produced of 63.98+ (combined among top 10 Wins Producing players) won their Conference Finals series. Teams with a WP of 50 and lower are 4-9.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists (adjusted for shortened season): Boston = 46.72, Miami = 64.48, Oklahoma City = 58.27, San Antonio = 54.29

Teams whose best regular season Wins Producing player is 13 or fewer are 7-24 in the Conference Finals.

Teams with a best regular season Wins Producing player of between 13-18 Wins Produced are 28-7 in the Conference Finals.

Teams who have a player with 18+ Wins Produced during the regular season are 5-8 in the Conference Finals (and teams with a player of 20+ are only 2-4).

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists (adjusted for shortened season): Boston = 10.68 (Rajon Rondo), Miami = 21.49 (LeBron James), Oklahoma City = 14.91 (Kevin Durant), San Antonio = 11.31 (Kawhi Leonard).

Teams whose three most used postseason players (by Minutes Played) combine for under 31 Wins Produced are 19-31 in the Conference Finals. Teams whose three most used postseason players combine for 31+ Wins Produced are 20-9.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists (adjusted for shortened season): Boston = 26.87, Miami = 37.26, Oklahoma City = 34.24, San Antonio = 18.91

Teams who have four players with 10+ regular season Wins Produced are 2-2 against their third-round opponents since 1992.

Teams who have three players with 10+ regular season Wins Produced are 9-5 against their third-round opponents since 1992.

Teams who have two players with 10+ regular season Wins Produced are 10-13 against their third-round opponents since 1992.

Teams who have one player with 10+ regular season Wins Produced are 17-16 against their third-round opponents since 1992.

Teams who have no players with 10+ regular season Wins Produced are 2-4 against their third-round opponents since 1992.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists (adjusted for shortened season): Boston = 1 player, Miami = 2 players, Oklahoma City = 3 players, San Antonio = 1 player

TEAM YOUTH/AGE:

Of Conference Finals winners, the average age of the teams’ Top 3 playoff minutes-receiving players was 28.7 years old; for losers, it was 28 years old.

- 2011-12 Conference Finalists: Boston = 31.33, Miami = 27.33, Oklahoma City = 22.67, San Antonio = 28.67