Saturday, May 5, 2012

NBA 2K12 simulation of the 2012 Playoffs

I am running a simulation of the 2012 NBA Playoffs because I realize the playoffs are underway and I still haven't don't done one yet.  My ratings and tendencies are not 100% complete, but the ratings SHOULD be about 95% accurate for most players.


1. Spurs (Ginobili 86, Duncan 82, Parker 82)
8. Jazz (Millsap 85, Jefferson 82, Harris 76)

Real Life: I expect the Spurs to sweep the Jazz.  Talent, experience, and coaching are on their side. I can easily see the Spurs going to the Finals and winning it all this year, as a sort of last hurrah for the Spurs aging core.
2K12: Spurs win series 4-3.

Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich's game management simply does not translate to the video game world.  2K does not take fatigue into account w/ it's simulations.  For example, every Spur plays 25 QUALITY well-rested, non-fatigued minutes.  A player who plays 40+ minutes is inevitably going to take SOME plays off to conserve their energy, but the simulation engine does not take this into account.  Thus, the Spurs depth hurts them in team rating and simulations. The game would rather see 36 minutes for Ginobili and 12 minutes for Daniel Green.  In real life that would translate to 10 extra, less effective minutes for Ginobili and Green never able to get into a groove.  Such are the flaws we have to live with here.  Hopefully the Spurs do not get blown away in round two (which a close series w/ a clearly inferior Jazz team might imply).

4. Grizzlies (Gay 84, Randolph 84, Gasol 81)
5. Clippers (Paul 94, Griffin 85, Jordan 77)

Real Life: This is the closest series in the playoffs and most people think it will go 7 games.  Chris Paul is the series' best player but the Grizzlies are the deeper team.  Memphis is better defensively, and that is what wins in the playoffs, so I am going w/ Memphis in 7 (where they will have home court advantage).
2K12: Clippers win series 4-3

Blake Griffin goes absolutely insane in game 7, scoring 39 points (15-21 FG, 1-1 3pt, 8-18 FT), to go with 11 boards and 3 assists.  Chris Paul only gets 19 minutes due to foul trouble, my most hated part of 2K's simulation engine.  Paul has very low foul tendencies, and stars, especially star guards rarely ever get into foul trouble.  A star guard playing < 20 minutes in a playoff game is unheard of.  Hopefully 2K is able to fix this because I feel like it invalidates simulation results to a degree.  It breaks the 4th wall of gaming and reminds us this is NOT the NBA.

3. Lakers (Bryant 88, Bynum 85, Gasol 84)
6. Nuggets (Lawson 80, Gallinari 79, Faried 75)

Real Life: The Lakers have the clear talent edge, but the Nuggets are deep enough to steal a game or two.  If the Nuggets manage to win game 4 I think this series will go 7 games because I will then have serious questions about the Lakers ability to win game 6 in Denver, whose running style and depth best suit their natural (literally, due to high altitude) home court advantage.
2K12: Lakers win series 4-3

Kobe scores 44 points in game seven (17-26 FG, 5-9 3pt, 5-8 FT), outdueling Andre Miller (30 points, 11-21 FG, 8-8 FT, 31 mins off bench).  Miller's role increasing thanks to Ty Lawson getting 4 fouls in 22 minutes.  I cannot emphasize enough just how annoying the box scores can be.

2. Thunder (Durant 93, Westbrook 87, Harden 85)
7. Mavericks (Nowitzki 82, Terry 80, Marion 75)

Real Life: Unlike last season, Dallas doesn't have a prayer against OKC.  They lost Tyson Chandler, replacing him w/ Lamar Odom who was eventually kicked off the team.  Dirk and Kidd are a step slower. Vince Carter hasn't replaced the specialization that J.J. Barea and Peja Stojakovic brought to the table. All one can really do is tip hats to the Thunder and hope the team can add the missing pieces it opted not to bring back last summer.
2K12: Thunder win series 4-1

Mavericks won game 3 during the simulation.  Dirk had 30 points on 5-7 FG, 20-24 FT, a nice allusion to last season's 48 point on 15 shot outburst.  That might be what it will take for the Mavericks to win game 4 and stave off elimination.


1. Bulls (Noah 79, Boozer 79, Deng 77)
8. Sixers (Iguodala 84, Brand 80, Williams 80)

Real Life: With Derrick Rose out of the picture, these teams are very evenly matched.  The Bulls still have more talent on paper given that Carlos Boozer is a better scorer than anyone on the Sixers, Joakim Noah a fantastic defensive player, and Luol Deng who was named an all-star this year (albeit inexplicably). In reality however Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng, and Watson/Lucas is a terrible offensive perimeter and the Sixers should have no problem stopping them and creating deadly transition opportunities. I do believe the Sixers as a whole are a better team than anyone gives them credit for, and statistically are the best #8 seed in history.  Their point differential & strength of schedule ranked 3rd best in the east, and their defense (99.3 Pts per 100 possessions, ranking 3rd) was nearly as good the Celtics (98.2) and Bulls (98.3).  They SHOULD win this series with Rose out of the picture, but the Bulls are definitely good enough to make it close.
2K12: Bulls win series 4-2

For the record, I did not have Rose active for game 1 of the series, so that is 4 games without Rose the Bulls were able to win.  John Lucas was a boss in the series and might as well have been Rose, averaging 19.4 points (22 in the wins).

4. Hawks (Smith 84, Johnson 82, Teague 75)
5. Celtics (Pierce 84, Rondo 84, Garnett 83)

Real Life: Al Horford missed most of the season for Atlanta. Then they get to the playoffs and Zaza Pachulia gets hurt and now have to start Jason Collins (and not because they need someone to foul Dwight Howard).  Now they are undersized while matched up with the worst rebounding team in the league.  They've fought through two overtime games but have fallen short in both.  The series has been close and Hawks fans will surely be left thinking "What IF?" for the next six months.
2K12: Celtics win series 4-1

I didn't injury Ray Allen for games 1 and 2 or Josh Smith for game 3, or suspend Rondo for game 2.  The series just wasn't close as the Celtics were +81 over the 5 games (16.2 per), Kevin Garnett simply too much for Jason Collins and Ivan Johnson.

3. Pacers (Granger 82, Hibbert 81, West 79)
6. Magic (Anderson 75, Richardson 73, Turkoglu 71)

Real Life: Magic so outmatched without Dwight it's not even funny. Indiana will have spent all it's playoff road games in Florida this year and got to bask in some nice weather before the summer officially starts.  Lucky bastards.
2K12: Pacers win series 4-0

Nothing to really say except the Pacers really should have swept the Magic in reality.

2. Heat (James 99, Wade 94, Bosh 81)
7. Knicks (Anthony 85, Chandler 79, Stoudemire 79)

Real Life: The Heat are on a fast track back to the NBA Finals.  The Bulls were their only realistic competition, and that went right out the window with Rose's injury.  Knicks fans who have been dying to face Miami and show just how competitive they could be are holding their tails right now.
2K12: Heat win series 4-1

The Knicks were able to win game 4.  Let's see if they can do it in real life (and end the NBA record for longest playoff losing streak at 13 games)!  Worth noting that I did not injure Amare for the series as he intends to play game 4.  That of course will be a factor in whether or not the Knicks can win game 4 or get swept in Madison Square Garden.


1. Spurs (Ginobili 86, Duncan 82, Parker 82)
5. Clippers (Paul 94, Griffin 85, Jordan 77)

2K12: Clippers win series 4-2

The Spurs won the first two games but then lost the next four as Chris Paul simply entered god mode (certainly possible, as he would be the best player in the series).  Unfortunately, it's difficult to quantify how much of this was due to 2K's simulation engine being all "hey full strength Paul/Griffin are facing Gary Neal and Matt Bonner!"

2. Thunder (Durant 93, Westbrook 87, Harden 85)
3. Lakers (Bryant 88, Bynum 85, Gasol 84)

2K12: Thunder win series 4-1

A lot of fans are waiting for this series.  It wasn't close in simulation, and I suspect it won't be in real life. Kobe and Westbrook can match each other chuck for chuck, which really makes this series about Durant/Harden vs Gasol/Bynum.  One caveat with these results is I forgot to reactivate Metta World Peace.  Because his timely reactivation depends on how many games the Lakers play in the Nuggets series, I'm hopeful that it wasn't too big of an issue.  It's not as if he plays a series-changing role on the team anyway.  His presence probably means OKC takes the series in 6.

1. Bulls (Noah 79, Boozer 79, Deng 77)
5. Celtics (Pierce 84, Rondo 84, Garnett 83)

2K12: Celtics win series 4-3

Chicago shows their defensive resiliency but ultimately come up short in game 7 on their home court.  John Lucas leads with 15 points, while Boozer, Deng, and Noah fail to crack double figures.  Don't see it happening in real life, but it certainly COULD, and would be fantastic drama if it did.

2. Heat (James 99, Wade 94, Bosh 81)
3. Pacers (Granger 82, Hibbert 81, West 79)

2K12: Pacers win series 4-3

I have half a mind to rage-quit this post.  I know you're all dying to know though...

LeBron Pts-Reb-Ast
Game 1: 20-8-5 (7-18 FG) - 10 point win
Game 2: 15-11-8 (5-22 FG) - 19 point loss, outscored 29-9 in 4th quarter
Game 3: 34-8-4 (13-20 FG) - 2 point loss
Game 4: 43-8-3 (16-28 FG) - 4 point win
Game 5: 46-10-8 (15-27 FG) - 21 point win
Game 6: 26-14-5 (10-27 FG) - 6 point loss
Game 7: 40-11-2 (14-25 FG) - 6 point loss, at home

Aside from game 2, LeBron did not choke.  It looks like West/Hibbert just straight abused Haslem/Bosh. Which I suppose COULD happen, but uh, enough to go 3-2 w/ LeBron averaged 37.8 points  from games 3-7?  Oh 2K.


2. Thunder (Durant 93, Westbrook 87, Harden 85)
5. Clippers (Paul 94, Griffin 85, Jordan 77)

2K12: Clippers win series 4-2

I am now seeking anger management.  The Clippers without Caron Butler were able to beat Kevin Durant and the Thunder.  Russell Westbrook scored 54 points in game 1 (23-30 FG, 1-2 3PT, 7-11 FT) and now that I think about it, I can't recall ever getting a 50 point game in a simulation.

...And my jaw drops.

Kevin Durant scored 71 points in game 3 (22-34 FG, 3-7 3PT, 24-28 FT), eclipsing Michael Jordan's playoff record of 63.

...which brings me to my original question... how the hell did the Clippers win this series????? (aside: checking Durant's game log, it appears he had a 55 point game vs Dallas in game 4).  I guess the answer is OKC's big three never got any help, as no other player scored in double figures for the team.  On the Clippers end Paul/Griffin were routinely huge and got solid contributions from Nick Young, Mo Williams, Randy Foye, even Eric Bledsoe.  I still don't buy the results AT ALL though.

Durant ends the playoffs with a scoring average of 37.5.

3. Pacers (Granger 82, Hibbert 81, West 79)
5. Celtics (Pierce 84, Rondo 84, Garnett 83)

2K12: Celtics win series 4-2

Well, that was boring and predictable.  I pray this doesn't happen in real life.  I mean, I don't mind actually if the Celtics beat the Heat and go to the Finals.  I just can't imagine the NBA being a happy place if THIS is our Eastern Conference Finals matchup.


5. Clippers (Paul 94, Griffin 85, Jordan 77)
5. Celtics (Pierce 84, Rondo 84, Garnett 83)

2K12: Celtics win series 4-0

This is certainly an interesting result and one that I had never come across in prior simulations (it is usually Heat vs Thunder in Association modes).  It's a bit ridiculous to me that the Clippers can overcome Kevin Durant in Jordan mode just to get swept by an old team (like the Spurs, who the Clippers beat in round two). 

Overall, I was pretty happy with the results until everything just fell apart with the Heat/Pacer series.  Oh well.  Just remember if this happens in reality, you heard it here first.