A Functional Data Analysis Approach to Model Score Difference in Professional Basketball Games
Tao Chen, Qingliang Fan
Journal of Applied Statistics
#002354 20161226 ()
In this paper, we investigate the progress of score difference (between home and away teams) in professional basketball games employing functional data analysis (FDA). The observed score difference is viewed as the realization of the latent intensity process, which is assumed to be continuous. There are two major advantages of modeling the latent score difference intensity process using FDA: (1) it allows for arbitrary dependent structure among score change increments. This removes potential model mis-specifications and accommodates momentum which is often observed in sports games. (2) further statistical inferences using FDA estimates will not suffer from inconsistency due to the issue of having a continuous model yet discretely sampled data. Based on the FDA estimates, we define and numerically characterize momentum in basketball games and demonstrate its importance in predicting game outcomes.