Title: Raptors break through in Sacramento, with plenty to build from
Date: January 8, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors finally breaking through with a win and looking a lot more like themselves in Sacramento.
There is a theory about inflation in economics known as the ketchup theory. Maybe you’re more familiar with Teemu Selanne’s description as it relates to goal-scoring in hockey or Ruud van Nistelrooy in soccer. In economics, the ketchup bottle effect isn’t necessarily positive; it can result in an awful lot of inflation spilling out all at once. In sports, it’s a warning not to force things; being patient with the process will eventually see successes flow freely.
At a macro level, momentum is difficult to prove as a statistical reality. Regression, variance, confirmation bias and our brain’s desire to create order with a narrative all conspire to create a feeling of momentum. We hear about it after every tight playoff win, even in series that trade wins back and forth, effectively disproving its effect. And once the sample is large enough, we see this in regular-season games, too, with net rating over the remainder of the game being inverse to the score (that is, a winning team will perform worse from there, a losing team better).