Friday, April 26, 2013

Heat Streak

Miami Heat 27-Game Streak
The lasting memory from the 2012 NBA season will be the Heat's 27-game winning streak. Encompassing the majority of February and March, the streak was the all too rare occurrence of the reigning champs in a sport playing their part and acting like actual champions. Usually they are successful, but the stars don't align in the exact same way they did a year earlier, and in the process of trying to beat every team giving their best every night, they wear down and the journey back is not as sweet.

One aspect of this streak that made it so interesting was how dominant the Heat were throughout. They won 8 games by over 15 points, a certified [Box Score] Blowout. There were 17 games with a scoring margin of 10 points or more. There were only a handful of teams that even gave them a hard time. Surprisingly, the Cavs did twice, with the Heat needing a huge comeback to win by 3.

It was very cool how Lebron and the Heat made the regular season more than a rush to position for the playoffs. They weren't competing against other as much as they were competing with themselves to see how good they could be. I'm so excited to see the wonders they create in the playoffs.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Heat on Fire

Heat/Cavs 3/19/13 Minute By Minute

Seriously, the Heat are finding new ways to impress on this current winning streak. Pulling out close ones over good teams, beating back the bad teams who've been saving up their best, and now pulling massive comebacks like it ain't no thang. A 27-point comeback against the Cavs in the span of 10 minutes is just stupid. Look at how slowly it takes for that Cavs lead to build, and just how quickly the Heat crushed it.
I really want to look further into this soon to be historic Heat streak, there's so much dominance and so many interesting statistical factors. More coming soon.

Flu Game

The Flu Game - June 11, 1997
Margin By Minute
Bulls 90 - Jazz 88

Minute by Minute at the Barclays

Spurs @ Nets, Scoring Margin By Minute
Barclays Center - February 10, 2013
Spurs 111 - Nets 86

A trip to the Barclays Center to take Giuliana from henry by hand to her first ever basketball game became the impetus for a new style of [Box Score] print with tons of potential. We wanted to tell the story of the game and commemorate her first game. The best idea was to show the scoring margin as the game progressed minute-by-minute. The Nets would be shown in white and the Spurs in black. You can see the trends of scoring and the flow of the game throughout the 48 minutes. It's very interesting to break a basketball game into the scoring of each minute. It becomes 48 small games where winning 2-0 or 5-2 is very important.
Even though the game was a crazy blowout (especially considering Timmy and Manu didn't even play) it was still an awesome time. Hopefully this print will remind her of the trip to Modell's for the most tasteful Nets hat in existence, the Bark Hot Dog chicken sandwich, the swagged-out Brooklyn high schooler seated next to us and his 3-point dance, and that there are very Jersey-ish Jersey Girls who are huge fans of Tiago Splitter("Yeah-uh, Go Splitt-uh!!).
The minute-byminute basketball prints are a great way to visualize a specific game and what it might mean to someone after the fact. I'm looking forward to making a lot more of these. Thanks, Giules.

Winning Ugly

Winning Ugly - 2012 Baltimore Orioles 1-Run Games

There is something comforting about the Orioles being competitive again. They were great in my childhood, and as a child, you expect the good teams to stay good. Seeing them play winning, scrappy baseball and packing Camden Yards brings the O's back the status I assumed they would hold back when they were the Yankees' bitter rivals in the '90s. That success, combined with the revival of the Cartoon Bird on their caps from the era just prior to my sports consciousness makes everything just right.
The fact that this success came as a result of the best record in 1-run games in history seems incredibly fitting. They're a team that's a perfect blend of high draft picks from their years of futility, scrap heap finds, and savvy investment in young players. Nobody hit above .300 for the year, they lost by more than 5 runs twenty times, and their run differential projected them as a team that won 10 less games than they did. It seems like the team was consciously designed to thrive off of grit, hustle, luck, and Buck Showalter's judiciously crazy managerial methods. They're the Sandlot kids minus Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez.
I started making [Box Scores] to see what dominance in a sport looked like visually. What surprised me was how more interesting the seasons looked when teams weren't so good. The influence of other teams' colors and the muddy tones that came about when mixing lots of very close games created more visually striking images than solid dominance. The Orioles' record-breaking record in close games created a very exaggerated blend of browns, burnt oranges, marroonish purples, and dirty greens that express the identity of this team that wasn't necessarily good, but defintely was competitive.