Feb 25, 2013, 2:11 PM EDT
Here’s a little secret about the Lakers — look at just their point differential this season (points scored minus points allowed) and they should be a 31-26 team. They lost a lot of games early in the season they could and should have won.
Now they are hot again — win Monday night in Denver and they are a .500 team. Even before that game they have won 11 of their last 15 and are just 2.5 games back of Houston for the eighth playoff spot. They seem to have found a sense of identity and who they are in the new system, and that is letting them win these close games.
But don’t be fooled that the Lakers are suddenly a much better team, argues Tom Ziller at SB Nation.
According to NBA.com/stats, over the last 15 games (11-4 record) the Lakers are scoring 1.04 points per possession and allowing 1.02. Over the entire season (59 games, 24-25 record) the Lakers are scoring 1.05 points per possession and allowing 1.03. The team’s efficiency differential for the season is +1.9; over the last 15 games it is +2.3. The Lakers are barely different. It’s hard to look at the data and ascertain that anything has clicked into place. This is essentially the same team that it has been: a slightly above average club. But the Lakers’ unlucky record from the first half of the season is now regressing to the mean, which the data indicates is still far short of expectations.
He’s not wrong, although he later admits what shows up when you watch the games — the Lakers are still inconsistent. They have a lot more good games than bad now as they start to figure things out, but they still have some ugly losses (by 24 to the Clippers on Valentines day, for example). The Lakers numbers have always been a little hard to read and value this season because they are so up and down.
Really that’s been about Dwight Howard, who has been up and down on the defensive end. With Kobe Bryant leading the way — shooting or passing — the Lakers offense has been good this season, it is the defense that has been the issue.
Now the Lakers are finding their stride, particularly on defense, and there are more up games. They are going to have to go catch the Rockets (who have an easy schedule the rest of the way) or Utah (hard schedule but still have Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap) if they are going to make the playoffs. Those teams are not coming back to them.
Jul 11, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT
Will we actually know the result of Heat-Cavaliers before Germany-Argentina? Probably, but not definitely
Jul 10, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT
Hornets first-round pick making a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons
Jul 10, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT
Of course, Wallace believes Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant take over games
Jul 10, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT
Apparently, Melo returning to New York is not a forgone conclusion
Jul 10, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
Closing arguments are set for July 28, so no quick end to this.
Jul 10, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
The Suns keep a fan favorite.
Jul 10, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT
The Suns already have a deep backcourt, but Thomas would fit their offense.
Jul 10, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT
This will either be the garbage-time sideshow for Miami next season, or the lone bastion of hope for the future of what remains of Heat fans.
Jul 10, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT
Like everyone else, Phil Jackson is in a holding pattern.
Jul 10, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT
Why would you show up to LeBron’s empty house?
Jul 10, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
He had a good playoff run for Memphis, that got him a new deal.
Jul 10, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
“Instead of thinking of reasons why your coach should be playing you, honestly assess reasons as to why he isn’t.”
Jul 10, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT
A run down of the free agent signings we have so far.
Jul 10, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT
Houston has 72 hours to match
Jul 10, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT
Tolliver could land on a quality team next season.
Jul 10, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
Signing likely signals end of Mo Williams’ time in Portland
Jul 10, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT
The market for Evan Turner has been a bit dry. To put it kindly.
Jul 10, 2014, 12:02 PM EDT
Denver’s first-round pick, acquired from Bulls, won’t spend another year in Europe
Jul 10, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Washington reportedly refusing to pay Ariza more than $9 million per year
Jul 10, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Phoenix clears cap room
- Report: Heat and Cavaliers expect decision before LeBron James leaves for Sunday’s World Cup final 10
- Reports: Carmelo Anthony unsure on Knicks, can’t get the Bulls out of his head 44
- Phil Jackson says he has not heard from Carmelo, has tried to recruit Gasol 34
- With lower-than-expected salary cap, will Rockets and Pelicans still complete Omer Asik trade? 19
- Reports: LeBron James and agent done meeting with teams 80
- Rockets can’t keep Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons and give Chris Bosh max contract 46
- Donald Sterling in court calls wife “pig,” promises to sue NBA “until I die” 43
- Report: LeBron James leaves meeting with Pat Riley without committing to Heat 86