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Is Basketball a Game of Runs?

by   Mark F. Schilling, et al.

Basketball is often referred to as "a game of runs." We investigate the appropriateness of this claim using data from the full NBA 2016-17 season, comparing actual longest runs of scoring events to what long run theory predicts under the assumption that team "momentum" is not present. We provide several different variations of the analysis. Our results consistently indicate that the lengths of longest runs in NBA games are no longer than those that would occur naturally when scoring events are generated by a random process, rather than one that is influenced by "momentum".


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