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Which NBA Finals Team Plays Better When It's Raining?

And other intentionally meaningless statistical questions about the series that starts tonight.

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The NBA Finals tip off tonight at 9 p.m. Will the blazing Heat or the relentless Spurs come out on top? We took a non-traditional approach to the question, looking each team's playoff success on different days of the week and in different weather conditions. Knowing the Finals' schedule and weather forecasts, we figured out how the teams have done in similar circumstances. See how it might all pan out if the past is any indication of what's to come.


Based On Temperature: The Spurs Win In 6 Games

Miami thrives when it's 85-90°F, with an 18-1 record. On the road, they're specifically a meager 1-5 when it's 75-85°F outside. Down to under 60 degrees they're 4-1. So they are the Heat, indeed, but also the Cold. But not the Lukewarm.


To determine an overall winner, we averaged the winning percentages for the day of the week, temperature, and precipitation.

And The Heat Win In 7 Games

The combined historical trends indicate that Miami has the edge in the series, but it will be very close. Game 7 has the smallest margin between the two teams' winning percentages, less than 9%.

So, if these completely random stats unrelated to basketball are any indication, this series should be a classic.

Historical NBA statistics were pulled from and reflect playoff games since each "Big 3" was brought together. For the Spurs, that is since the 2003 Playoffs, and since the 2011 Playoffs for the Heat. Historical weather data is from The National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. Weather forecasts came from

Data analyst at BuzzFeed.

Contact Jake Levy at

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