Let's Laugh at This Win Probability Graph From the Cavs' Beatdown of the Celtics
It was a bloodbath. In a postseason that's been defined by lopsided games, this laugher made the other blowouts look like edge-of-your-seat affairs.
At no point did the Celtics threaten the defending champs, and our win probability graph -- which can be accessed through our numberFire Live feature -- reflects just that.
In fact, Cleveland's lowest win probability of the night was 67.00%, which occurred when the ball was tipped.
The score was close -- 11-10 in favor of the Cavs -- with 6:35 left in the first quarter, but things got silly from there. Cleveland bolted off on a 21-8 run over the rest of the stanza, and the Cavs' win probability stood at 91.23% at the end of the first quarter.
Cleveland was just getting warmed up, though, because they got stupid in the second period, outscoring Boston 40-13 in the frame.
The Cavs ended the first half with an exclamation mark. Needing a bucket to set the record for the largest halftime lead in a playoff game, Kevin Love missed a jumper, but J.R. Smith chased down the offensive rebound and nailed an off-balance fadeaway at the buzzer, putting Cleveland in front 72-31 at the break.
To cap off an NBA playoff-record lead at the half, J.R. Smith hits the absurd spinning shot. The #Cavs lead the #Celtics 72-31 pic.twitter.com/JpLsjpRTFu
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) May 20, 2017
It's worth repeating -- Cleveland led Boston 72-31 after two quarters.
With 5:24 left in the second quarter, the Cavs' win probability reached 99.00% for the first time, and parents could be seen covering the eyes of their kids in the stands.
Cleveland's win probability never dropped below 99.00% for the remainder of the game. In other words, it took the Cavaliers just 18:36 of game time to utterly destroy Boston -- a squad that won 53 regular-season games and had the best record in the East -- to the point that our models considered the game over.
While it may feel like the series is also over (and it probably is), our models do give the Celtics a 13.45% chance to come back and win it. A 13.45% chance is pretty miserable odds, but even that feels high after the way these first two games have played out.
This sounds better -- a Cleveland sweep is nearly three times as likely (37.15%) as a Boston comeback.
Barring something crazy in either conference semifinal -- Golden State, currently holding a 2-0 lead, wins that series 86.22% of the time, according to our numbers -- it looks like we'll be getting another Finals rematch.