Stats & Info: Lakers
January, 23, 2013
By Justin Page & Ernest Tolden, ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Harry How/Getty Images
The Lakers find themselves at 17-24. Their use of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol is part of the problem.
Halfway through the season, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at 17-24, and history is not on their side.
Over the last 25 seasons (entering the 2012-13 season), 107 Western Conference teams have started 17-24 or worse. Just four of those teams went on to make the playoffs and none won a playoff series.
In fact, the last time a Western Conference team started 17-24 or worse and won a playoff series came all the way back in 1980-81 when the Kansas City Kings won their first two playoff series against Portland and Phoenix before losing to Houston in five games in the Conference Finals.
What can the Lakers do to solve their problems?
Slow it Down Pace measures possessions per 48 minutes. The Lakers are averaging a pace of 97.70 under D’Antoni, the second highest pace in the league dating back to when D’Antoni took over.
Los Angeles played at a much slower pace last season, ranking 20th in that category with 92.93 possessions per 48 minutes, and have been more successful playing at a slower pace this season as well.
Don’t Ignore The Post The Lakers are fifth in the league in points per game, but the offense looks much different than it did a season ago.
In particular, the Lakers have largely ignored the post, running fewer plays in the post and thus generating fewer points there as well.
Dwight Howard & Pau Gasol
Speaking of the post, the combination of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol has so far been a puzzle for the Lakers.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the team's worst lineup has been one that includes both big men at the same time.
With both Howard and Gasol on the floor together, the Lakers average 99.0 points per 48 minutes.
By contrast, they average 100.6 points with Howard alone, and 102.2 points with Gasol alone.
Since D’Antoni took over, Gasol is averaging just 2.3 post-up plays and 1.7 post-up points per game. He averaged 5.3 post-up plays and 5.1 post-up points last season.
The pressure is on the Lakers, as they're four games behind the final playoff spot at the midway point in the season.
But maybe they can take heart from the 2004-05 season. The last time a team made the playoffs after trailing the 8-seed by four or more games through 41 games in a season was during the 2004-05 season. Both the Nuggets and Nets did it.
December, 21, 2011
By Micah Adams | ESPN.com
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesWith Blake Griffin and Chris Paul leading the way, hopes are high for the Clippers
Given the sudden relevance of the Clippers and the notion that the Lakers could be slipping, it’s worth asking if the Clippers – often perceived to be “the other team in L.A.” – have completely closed the gap between themselves and their Staples Center co-tenants.
Los Angeles has been a two-team NBA city for 27 seasons. Since the Clippers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles prior to the 1984-85 season, they have had a better record than the Lakers just four times. Might 2011-12 be the fifth?
Here are some other anticipated seasons by often overshadowed “other" teams:
“Other” team: New York Mets
Overshadowed by: New York Yankees
Anticipated Season: 2005
Prior the 2005 season, the Mets went on a free agent splurge session by spending over $170 million dollars for Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. The Mets were full of promise - Jose Reyes and David Wright were on the upswing, Mike Piazza was still an All-Star and Willie Randolph was brought in to replace Art Howe. The Mets failed to live up to the hype however, winning 83 games and missing the playoffs (although they did make it to the NLCS the following season).
“Other” team: Manchester City
Overshadowed by: Manchester United
Anticipated season: 2009-10
Forever in the shadow of Manchester United, Man City began to emerge as a major player in the summer of 2008 when they acquired Brazilian striker Robinho from Real Madrid for a $50.5 million transfer fee, which at the time was the fourth-most expensive transfer of all-time. As it turns out, they were just getting warmed up. The next summer they took spending to an unprecedented level, parting with more than $150 million dollars to bring in Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure among others. City went on to finish fifth in 2009-10, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the UEFA Champions League (and finishing behind Manchester United).
“Other” team: USC men’s basketball
Overshadowed by: UCLA
Anticipated season: 2000-01
Long in the shadow of UCLA, USC entered the 2000-01 season with high hopes. The Trojans were ranked 23rd in the preseason AP Poll, the first time since 1978-79 that they entered a season ranked in the preseason. Although USC lost both of its games against UCLA, it did manage to make it deeper into the NCAA Tournament. Both teams lost to eventual national champion Duke, with UCLA falling in the Sweet 16 and USC bowing out in the Elite 8.
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