November 29, 2008

What Happened to the Lakers' Defense?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been winning, but are they defending?

In the Lakers' first five games, they have held their opponents to 84 points a game, with all victories. But in their last five games, they have let their opponents score an average of 98 points! That's giving up fourteen more points! By NBA standards, letting your opponent score 100 points is an indicator of poor team defense.

My assessment is that the Lakers have a tendency to give too much points in the first half of their games. In the games against the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers let their opponents score more than 50 points all but once (they let the Nuggets score 47). The Lakers seem to be able to turn it around in the second half, and getting the win in the process.

Good example: in the game against the Mavericks, the Lakers let them score 57 points in the first half then put the clamps on them on the 3rd quarter and were able to get out of a 12-point hole in the process. They won that game 114-107.

One final thought: The Lakers seem to have reverted back to their offense oriented selves. In their last five games? They have scored an average of 112 points. The league's median is 98 points.

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