How the Clippers' Comeback Drastically Increased Their Odds of Advancing

By the numbers, the Clippers' victory yesterday meant the difference between a second-round exit and a shot at the Western Conference Finals.

In the playoffs, it's not prudent to overreact to one game. It takes four to win a series, and as the Indiana Pacers have shown, each game is it's own dramatic entity. However, one game - especially when it's either the crucial fourth or fifth game of the series - can change a team's odds a lot.

We have some really cool algorithms here at numberFire that predict each series, as well as subsequent series. While the championship odds don't move a ton from game to game - the Spurs and Heat have a pretty big edge in that category right now - the second-round series and conference finals odds are significantly more volatile.

Just take a look below. You can see here what the odds were prior to the game when the Thunder were up two games to one, and what the odds were after the Clippers completed their epic comeback.

Odds to Win Second RoundOdds to Win WCFOdds to Win Finals
Before G436.34%19.53%12.97%
After G449.25%26.40%17.22%

As you can see, that's quite the difference. And it doesn't even show what their odds would have been with another loss and being down three to one in the series. But we can look at the Pacers and Wizards series to see what sort of swing that would be. We had the Pacers at 78.44% odds to win the series before Game 4, and it jumped all the way up to 93.57% after the victory. The Clippers would have been in a similar situation if not for the comeback.

Which, by the way, was ridiculous. We tweeted out a win probability graph for the game yesterday, and as you'd expect, it looks a little crazy:

The Thunder were in control for almost the entire game until the very end when the Clippers grabbed the lead for the first time on a Blake Griffin bucket. The comeback boasted some crazy stats, including the Clippers scoring on 18 of 19 straight possessions at one point - that's efficiency.

Today everyone will write about Doc Rivers' rotation decisions in the fourth quarter, and it definitely worked out in the Clip's favor. Chris Paul moving onto Kevin Durant was risky, but it definitely paid off in the end. Looking at the odds shows just how risky and rewarding it truly was.

If the odds swing had been like the Pacers and Wizards - and history tells us that would have been - then this particular Game 4 meant about a 45% difference in odds for the Clippers to win the series. That's huge.

With how close these teams are right now - we have them both at about an even shot to win the series - we'll likely see many more crazy swings and comebacks. One thing is for sure - you won't want to miss a second of it.

And go follow us on Twitter so you can see the cool win probability graphs we tweet out during the playoffs!