How fatigue influences the season and how much it means for the playoffs

Gary Vitti delivered those words to ESPN at the end of the 2015-16 season, after retiring from his position as the longest running NBA athletic trainer, a position he held for 32 seasons. And that idea embodies the spirit of our calendar alert project, which we launched the previous season. Those in the NBA have known for a long time - perhaps as much as the time that Vitti spent at his post - that teams lose games due to fatigue, and this has led to the emergence of the phrase "calendar defeats". Our project aims at those games using a formula that takes into account only the factors related to the schedule, which means that the quality of the team / player is not taken into account. And in our first season, even after the NBA reduced the number of matches in successive dates (back-to-backs) and four games in five days, we correctly predicted 69 percent (29 of 42) in general, including the 76.5 percent (13 of 17) of warning games, that is, games in which a team has a disadvantage specially marked due to the calendar.

The NBA again adjusted its calendar this season, cutting more games in a row, eliminating four out of five and starting the season before, among other changes. But with the Bucks' 102-86 victory over the Magic on Monday, the second season of calendar alert is complete, and we correctly chose 77.8 percent (42 of 54) in general, including seven of nine of the warning games red.Follow 007 soccerpicks and bet on your favourite games.

For the context, that hit rate for calendar warning games in 2017-18 is much more successful than our formula predicted it would be, since we applied that formula to 10-season games from 2007-08 to 2016-17 . - and the results showed that teams that face schedule alert situations lose 63 percent of the time. The night before playing in a weather alert game in Salt Lake City, Kings coach Dave Joerger said: "We are trying to survive, five games in seven nights, five different cities, three different time zones." His squad then lost to a Jazz team that was free the night before.

Then, the Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic expressed his displeasure with the schedule after his team suffered a setback by 39 points in a calendar warning game in January in Indiana. "I know we were talking about what we were going to start earlier this season, having less back-to-backs," said Mirotic, according to the Chicago Tribune. "But I feel that the calendar is even worse than last year, to be honest, it's not an excuse, but it's true that it's been difficult, with many back-to-backs and long weeks." As we closely monitored these games all season, certain trends emerged. So here, thanks to the tireless research efforts of ESPN Stats & Information, there are some figures that help show the ways in which fatigue can affect performance, as well as the highlights of the season and what this could mean for the 2017-18 playoffs.