The Miami Heat Winning Streak

By March 21, 2013 Blog No Comments

Some Insight into the Miami Heat Win Streak:

Interestingly enough, there is a Scientific basis by which the Heat’s winning streak is, and always will be LESS IMPRESSIVE compared to the Lakers 33 games, or even the Rockets 22 games.

There is a distinct Biological basis by which the natural human circadian rhythm and the Heat’s natural geographic positioning make their games easier to win than the Lakers games.

And no, I am not just talking about how the East is generally perceived as the weaker conference or even hating on the Heat’s impressive winning streak, but rather I am speaking towards a study done in 1997 by Stanford University on Sports teams and the psycho-physiological basis of circadian rhythms and their affect on winning percentage of road games.

Teams who reside on the East coast win games at a clip of 44% on the road when travelling to a different time zone, as per this study. In contrast, a team from the western conference, specifically from the Pacific time zone, only win 36% of their games on the road in a different time zone. (Note, the percentage for facing teams in your own time zone is 46%.)

The study that found this collected data over 10 seasons, and complied it to see statistical trends in athlete and team performance. The term, coined by Dr. W. Christopher Winter, is called Circadian Advantage. Typically, an East coast team with a 3 hour time advantage over a west coast opponent is at a huge advantage when they play. This can be compounded with the Heat’s home court advantage (Especially against West Coast Teams) and seen as a geographic advantage. The Heat have played against a handful of tough Western Conference opponents during this winning streak, including teams like the Thunder, the Grizzlies, Lakers, Clippers, and Blazers where this could have played a role down the stretch.

Now, this may not seem like that big a deal, but there was even a rule change in the NBA due to this very problem. When the Lakers and Celtics would play finals games, teams and press would have to travel coast to coast over the often full 7 game series. Eventually, the finals was changed to a 2-3-2 style, to lessen the stress of travel and to diminish the distinct advantage the East coast team would have.

A similar 25 year retrospective study was done in the NFL, where West Coast teams were actually found to hold an advantage against East Coast teams during Monday Night football for similar reasons.

Now, the Heat have played amazing in their win streak, and I am not trying to diminish that. But this is just some food for thought.

Check out more about the Study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19953826