Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (May 24, 2016), we talk about the surprising NBA conference finals and wonder if the conventional wisdom about the best NBA teams was wrong. Then, we talk to ESPN’s Michael Wilbon about his piece on The Undefeated that argues that African-Americans aren’t interested in discussing sports analytics. Finally, Carl Bialik joins us to talk about the French Open and whether Roger Federer’s absence will have an effect on the outcome of the tournament. Plus, a Significant Digit on Ichiro Suzuki, the Miami Marlins veteran closing in on 3,000 hits in the Major Leagues.
- Neil Paine says the Warriors’ loss to the Thunder in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals was historic.
- And ESPN Stats and Info says the key to the Thunder’s win was their smaller lineup.
- Ben Morris writes that season series matter when it comes to predicting the playoffs.
- In the East, Neil Paine writes, the Cleveland Cavaliers are obliterating the competition.
- Neil Paine also says the Cavs won’t need any help beating the Raptors.
- But that was before Kyle Lowry helped the Raptors level things up in the series.
- Michael Wilbon writes in The Undefeated that blacks are not feeling the sports analytics movement.
- Carl Bialik writes that Roger Federer’s absence from this year’s French Open is the first time he’s missed a Grand Slam in 17 years.
- Could Rafael Nadal’s slump be at an end, asks ESPN’s Johnette Howard.
- Tom Ley in Deadspin says Ichiro Suzuki still rules.
- Significant Digit: 40. That’s the number of hits Ichiro Suzuki needs to reach 3,000 in the Major Leagues. He had 10 hits in just three games this week.
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