The Logjam in the West: who wins the head-to-head-to-head-to-head-to-head tie-breaker?
I'm in the middle of a bigger post on tie-breakers -- and still waiting for someone to definitively answer my tie-breaker questions -- but I thought I would post this fun little grid a few days early.
These five teams, CHI, DAL, LAK, PHX and ANA, are close enough in tie-breaker wins that the issue of the head-to-head "points-earned" tie-breaker needs to be looked at. The simple "two teams tied" version is easy to figure (and we have; bottom line: the Kings have lost the season series with Chicago and St. Louis, and won the season series against Dallas and Minnesota; everyone else is up for grabs). But the potential for a three- or four- or even five-way tie is where it gets tricky.
With more than two teams, the points earned by a team in games played among the tied teams is what determines the order. Since it's unresolved (no one in a position of authority has said anything about it, and it's not in the CBA or the rule book), we're going to leave aside the question of which "odd" games, if any, don't count. We will also ignore the issue of what the "points earned" tie-breaker does with teams that are still tied after this tie-breaker is applied (i.e. if four teams are tied and the points-earned tie-breaker says team A "wins" the tie-breaker and team B, C and D are still tied, do we proceed to the goal-differential tie-breaker with those three teams, or do teams B, C and D then repeat the "points-earned" tie-breaker with those three teams only?).
Here we are only looking at how the teams rank, depending on who is tied with whom, when considering total points earned among the tied teams. (If it turns out that "odd" games are not counted; this will affect only the ties that involve Chicago, since all the other teams are in the Pacific and will have played an equal number of games against each other -- see the linked post above for more on this madness.)
Each row represents a different possible configuration of tied teams. A blank (hopefully black, if the formatting works) square indicates that this team is not one of the tied teams in this configuration (row). A number indicates the rank of that team, when the points earned in the games played among those teams are tallied. For example, if you look at the fourth row: in a three-way tie between DAL, LAK and PHX, the Kings and Coyotes are tied for 1st, with DAL finishing last (3rd).
These totals are current as of this minute, before tonight's games. (And, yes, I see that San Jose is going to have to be added to the chart if they keep losing.)
Note that any kind of tie which involves Chicago is bad for LA. And any tie that doesn't involve Chicago is pretty good for LA. That's how it looks this afternoon anyway. (Yes, it's sortable.)