John Huizinga, who, when he's not teaching economics at the University of Chicago, serves as Yao Ming's agent, delivered a fairly ironclad analysis showing that the hot-hand phenomenon almost certainly doesn't exist, and that players who have just made a jumper are far more likely to take and miss a jumper on the next trip -- what might be called the Jamal Crawford phenomenon.
Huizinga studied high-volume shooters over the past five seasons and took note of players who had made a jump shot on the previous trip. On the subsequent trip, they shot about 16 percent more often and converted 3.5 percent less of those shots. The finding was statistically significant and pointed to a tendency by players to act as if they were hot after one made J … and a counterproductive tendency to feed the allegedly hot hand by both the player and his teammates.
Proving that something doesn't exist is always vastly more difficult than proving it does, but Huizinga's analysis hammered the hot-hand theory from so many angles that its proponents are reeling. And as luck would have it, the scenario played out at the end of the Boston-Orlando game: The Celtics ran a play to feed their hot hand, Ray Allen, and he missed a difficult 3-pointer after a strong contest by Dwight Howard that would have tied the game.
Interestingly, Huizinga's study showed this phenomenon was almost entirely confined to perimeter players -- most likely because it's far more difficult for post players to ignore the offense and call their own number. (Though I suspect Zach Randolph and Dirk Nowitzki may be exceptions).
Second, we occasionally make friendly wagers around here. (In fact, I believe I still owe E like 3 beers.) This site seems very well suited to keeping track of said wagers.