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Miami’s real problem this series: Not enough high fives

Jun 9, 2011, 3:16 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Getty Images

Back in early 2010, researchers at the prestigious University of California, Berkeley, did a study that showed teams that high fived and touched each other more won more games. Seriously. I mean seriously they looked at all the tape from the 08-09 NBA season and found the Lakers and Celtics touched the most, some bad teams like the Kings the least. If nothing else, it’s a great way to teach the difference between correlation and causation.

Well, the people at the prestigious Wall Street Journal decided to chart the same high fives and touches during the NBA finals — and Dallas is winning handily. (Via ESPN’s Heat Index.)

The Mavericks, with 250 slaps, hugs, taps or bumps, are almost twice as touchy-feely as the Heat, who had only 134 instances of televised contact. In those three games, the Mavericks were 82% more likely to high five….

No player over the three games collected more high fives than Mavs forward Tyson Chandler (90). He was followed closely by teammates Nowitzki (88), Shawn Marion (69) and Jason Kidd (69).

LeBron James leads the Heat with 41 touches — but if he would just be aggressive he could have so many more.

Mike Bibby is dead last with nine touches. Well, maybe there is something to this…

  1. sayheykidwschamp - Jun 9, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Correlation and causation…that’s why I hate studies like this. They are trying to make the case that more hi5s = winning. But it’s the reverse…winning = morehi5s. That’s why LA and BOS were the most last year…because they won the most. But yeah, let’s have players hi5ing all game for no reason to see if they win…that would actually be really funny, hope it happens.

    • denverhoopdreams - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      You said it way better than I could have. However, I would’ve used ^5 as my short text for high five.

    • musilly - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      No, they’re not trying to make that case. Perhaps you want them to make that case because it’s easy to refute and you could therefore bring in some high school “correlation isn’t causation” stuff and make yourself feel smart.

  2. jjstrokes - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Great article, I’m gonna go watch paint dry now

  3. bj1980 - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Oversimplification. The study was a psychological paper on the positive effects of physical contact between people and how it builds bonds and facilitates communication. The major players on the Dallas team — Nowitzki, Kidd, Terry — have been together a while now, and Miami’s major players — Wade, Bosh, James — have only been playing together eight months. Applying that concept just reinforces what we already know; that the Mavericks are a more cohesive unit than the Heat. Whether or not that translates into being a better team over a seven game series remains to be seen. The weekend warriors down at the 24 Hour Fitness are a tight bunch, but put them in a game with any NBA squad and they’ll get shredded.

  4. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Not surprised on Bibby. Who would want to touch him?

  5. mrnovacaine - Jun 9, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    They should count how many times chris bosch touch other players.lmao

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