Lying Scoreboards in a Make or Miss League
Diving into the box score, the difference in the game could be seen as large a result of the Suns superior three point shooting, where they hit 11 of 29 to the Magic's 6 of 21. However, as Orlando is a better three point shooting team on the season, it's not hard to imagine the relative percentages being reversed. Suddenly both teams have hit 8 threes and instead of losing by 8, the Magic would have won by 7, all else being equal. Now we can't know how plausible this is until looking at all the threes to see if maybe Phoenix hit more of them because they were getting looks. So I did. First, all of Phoenix's releases (video):
Now none of this is me arguing the Magic"should" have won this game, first because it's Phoenix and Orlando in November and why should I care enough to form an opinion? Second because this is only one slice of the game taken in isolation and how these plays fit in with the rest of the game matters. What I am claiming is that sometimes when a team "handled", "dominated" or "crushed" another team, it wasn't because Team A is that much better than Team B, or even played that much better overall on the given night. It could just mean one team made more shots than usual and the other team didn't.