Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (May 16, 2017), FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner helps us make sense of one of the latest developments in the NBA playoffs: the ankle injury that forced Kawhi Leonard to miss Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Can the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors without him? Next, Derek Jeter’s No. 2 jersey was retired by the New York Yankees on Sunday. We debate whether Jeter’s career was as great as the Yankees like to think it was. Finally, the prevailing wisdom is that playing at home during the playoffs matters — but is that true across all sports? We discuss. Plus, a significant digit on softball.
Here are links to what we discussed:
- The Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia stepped on Leonard’s foot in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, injuring Leonard. Was Pachulia’s play dirty, accidental or both? The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman investigates.
- The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg argues that the Spurs cannot beat the Warriors without Leonard.
- In 2014, Neil Paine found that Derek Jeter wasn’t clutch — he was just good.
- Last week, Neil discovered that a home playoff game can be a big advantage — but not in hockey.
- Earlier this year, FiveThirtyEight found that coaches’ yelling at refs actually works.
Significant Digit: 1 — the ranking of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the top ranked college softball team in the nation, according to a new coaches poll released this week. Despite this, the NCAA tournament’s selection committee said the Gophers did not deserve one of the tourney’s top 16 seeds.