From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Following Monday’s win over Orlando, Kobe Bryant was asked if he’s paid attention to the teams the Lakers are chasing in the standings. “Not really. We’re just playing,” he said. “Just playing and doing what we need to do. We just want to go into the playoffs, play good basketball, execute, try to minimize mistakes.” So far, so good. Stay focused on what you’re doing, right? Control that which can be controlled. He continued. “Home court advantage to me is overrated.” Hmmm…. While I have no idea if Kobe has had problems with his TPS reports of late, I’m going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with him, there. History does, too. Statistically speaking, the home team has a major advantage in the NBA playoffs. Via ESPN Stats and Information: SERIES WON BY TEAM WITH HOME-COURT ADVANTAGE, since 1983-84 (when the NBA went to a 16-team format):
First Round: 166-50 (.769)
Conference Semifinals: 85-23 (.787)
Conference Finals: 37-17 (.685)
NBA Finals: 21-6 (.778)
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Phil Jackson began the Lakers’ four-game trip through San Antonio, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas by telling his team that it could “easily” be 0-4 when it was over. Instead, Kobe Bryant was boasting by the end: “It was a statement for us.” The Lakers went 3-1, unable to hold their lead in Miami to make it perfect against four of the league’s best teams, but they weren’t complaining. Bryant was so determined to avoid it being a 2-2 trip that he implored his teammates before the last game in Dallas on Saturday to realize the Mavericks are a “serious contender.” “This is a team that could beat us in the postseason,” Bryant told his Lakers teammates, who came through with a victory even though Bryant sprained his left ankle.
From Gil Merkin, Silver Screen and Roll: With all this talk of “advanced statistics” lately with the MIT Sloan Analytics conference, and the rising use of individual basketball statistics in everyday basketball arguments, I feel I must re-emphasize my position. The way individual basketball statistics are kept do not make sense. What is a made basket in basketball? It can be a highly individual campaign, fully crafted by one player. Or it can be a “made” by two players, half made by the assisting player, and the other half crediting to the scorer for making the shot. So far so good. Solo points made get credited to the scorer, and an assist given to the passer. Great. But, what if there were three players involved in making that basket happen? If you know how basketball works, you know this happens pretty frequently. What if there are four players that contributed? You can have up to ten players (rarely), including the defenders, involved the making of a basket. And the same goes for a missed shot! Yet when a player makes a basket, he gets all the credit, and every one else on the court gets zero, except maybe for the passer, who gets an assist. And the allocation can change for every basket depending on how it was created. This is an allocation problem, and it’s a huge problem in individual basketball statistics. The same thing goes for rebounds and steals!
From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: We’ve been doing a whole lot of praise singing for Andrew Bynum over the last couple of weeks. He’s been the primary subject of a vast majority of our game recaps, editorials, Player of the Week awards, and comments. There’s no doubt Drew has earned some time in the spotlight because his play since the All Star Break has been inspired, but one can’t help but wonder if we, as a blog and as a fanbase, are going a bit overboard. I mean, sure we can see how Drew is changing games with his defense and rebounding. We know his stat line of 12 points, 13 boards and 2.6 blocks per game is pretty much exactly what the Lakers dream of getting from Bynum on a team that is not short on offensive talent. We can be proud of the fact that AB is finally reveling in his role as anchor of the defense. But just how much effect, actual measureable effect, is Bynum really having on his team’s play? Sure, all the blocks and rebounds he is accumulating are highly visible, and we know that the Lakers defense has been much improved since the All-Star break, but how much of that is actually due to Bynum’s presence on the floor? Does his newfound dominance in our hearts match any kind of newfound dominance on the stat sheet, outside of his increased individual numbers?
From Lisa Dillman, LA Times: There was no self-promoting going on seven years ago, not a single news release when four NBA players got together to help pay for a life-saving operation for their mentor and coach. “They were not seeking attention,” Kim Hughes said Tuesday. “Clearly they did it for the right reasons. When I first had the surgery, I didn’t know what they had done until my wife, Christy, told me. I was totally shocked.” Hughes, the former Clippers assistant coach, was talking about current Clippers center Chris Kaman and his then-teammates Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and Marko Jaric. The players helped cover an out-of-network procedure after Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The news only just came to light a day ago in the Racine Journal Times in a feature about Maggette, who is now with the Milwaukee Bucks, and the newspaper quoted Hughes as saying the operation cost $70,000.
Re: The Beast
The most impressive thing about Bynum getting fifteen rebounds per game hasn’t even been mentioned yet. Why is Kevin Love getting so many double doubles? Maybe its because he plays 40 minutes a game and nobody on his team can shoot. There are plenty of rebounds to get when there are plenty of rebounds to get and you’re the only guy on your team trying to get them. Andrew Bynum is playing with two guys on his team that get ten boards a game on a team that doesn’t miss many shots. We might be watching one of the most impressive rebounding streaks we will ever see.
As far as Kamenetzky disagreeing with Kobe Bryant’s assessment that homecourt advantage is overrated, I’m somewhere in the middle.
I’m very against statistics, which is what Kamenetzky uses to strengthen his stance. I believe showing statistics that the team with home court advantage usually wins in a playoff series could very well just mean that the team with the homecourt advantage had the better record which usually means, they were the better team.
On the flip side, everyone always focuses on having game 7 on your home floor to be the major advantage, but I think the real advantage is having a good chance to be up 2-0 in a series which I believe is a huge psychological advantage.
Anyone with me on that?
I think we can all agree the team with the better record is usually better. But the eye test results show that the refs favor the home team especially in the playoffs. HCA is major. Although I think we would only need it against the Heat.
Um, I’m thinking it was helpful for the Lakers to have game 7 in last year’s Finals on home court.
If for no other reason than they were able to sleep in their very own beds, rather than in a hotel room in Boston.
There’s probably not a big difference in talent between the top tier teams and I suspect every tiny edge at that level is highly significant.
Agreed. HCA in Game 7 was huge. From TV, Staples looked as electric as any crowd I can remember since it opened.
Igor Avidon says
I can’t stand irrational homers, even when they root for the same team as I do. KLove gets his boards because of his fundamental skills, not because his teammates can’t shoot. Every knowledgeable coach gushes over his work ethic and high IQ. He gets it done without much athleticism either (I’m pretty sure even Luke would elevate higher on a vertical jump).
Drew has been on a nice streak. But defenses haven’t focused on him yet. Pau and LO are a known quantity for opponents and they’ve been planned for. Somebody has to get those boards and Drew has been the beneficiary. Not to mention the fact that Pau has moved his game outside of the painted area to mesh well with Drew, which will always lead to less rebounds for him.
If the coaches really gush over him they would have selected him to the all star game. Instead the commissioner voted him in as an injury replacement. It’s good to be a white American in the NBA. Love is a nice player but he isn’t close to being great. He isnt closed to being even very good. He can shoot and he is a solid rebounder. His best quality is his outside shooting and outlet passing. Those are more impressive to me then his rebounding. He can’t create his own shot and might be the 2nd worst defensive big man in the league right behind Brian Cook. He is a PF version of Cedrick Ceballos. A garbage man of sorts who would really help a good team off the bench. But if he is one of your best players you probably will be the worst team in the western conference. Oh wait. You will be the worst team in the western conference.
It’s undeniable that HCA is preferred whenever possible but I think Kobe and company relish silencing the crowd and play off the “Beat L.A.” chants. Also I don’t think the Staples crowd can compare to the OKC, MSG or old Sac-town crowds that make HCA more of an advantage. Even though Rambo is sitting courtside, Staples Center is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a “hostile environment”.
As for statistics I’m amazed at all the innovations made to analyze how a player or team is performing. I’m from the old school where the only numbers that mattered were wins and a few stats on the back of the basketball card. Numbers aside AB is a beast that changes the complexion and the X’s and O’s of the game.
By the way, I wouldn’t expect Bryant to concede HCA is important. He shrugged off the importance of beating the C’s too, until they were beaten.
Let’s take a look at the home vs away records of certain playoff bound teams so far this year.
Boston 82% winning percentage home, 61% away
Chicago 88% home, 56% away
Miami 74% home, 64% away
SA 91% home, 70% away
OKC 72% home, 59% away
Lakers 74% home, 68% away
hmmm, maybe Kobe has a point, in that the Show plays pretty well home and away.
Hubie Brown said something I thought was interesting about the Lakers in the playoffs. He said that the Lakers are built to win at least one game in the opponents building so if the team playing the Lakers doesn’t have homecourt they have to win two games in Staples Center.
Seeing as I don’t remember the last time the Lakers lost two home games in a series, beating the lakers without homecourt is a tough, tough task.
Darius Soriano says
#7. Not impressed with Love’s rebounding, huh? But you’re supremely impressed with Bynum’s?
The best way to judge rebounds isn’t necessarily the amount grabbed per game, but the rate in which one grabs them and the % of rebounds grabbed while that player is on the floor. This accounts for pace and team shooting % as it actually measures the rate in which a player rebounds and the percentage of available rebounds he grabs.
When judged this way, for players that average more than 20 minutes per game, Kevin Love ranks 3rd in the league in total rebound rate and is also having the 13th greatest season all time (by this metric) this year. (As an aside of those top 13 seasons all time, Dennis Rodman has 7 of them. I’m pretty sure that should tell us something about the validity of this metric while also giving me another opportunity to praise Dennis Rodman.)
I’m with R, I think it’s very easy to under-estimate the the psychological advantage it is to sleep in your own bed, with your partner sleeping next to you. And perhaps even more important, to be able to follow your regular morning routine in your own home, eating your own breakfast your own way.
I don’t think home-court advantage will help a team win if it wasn’t able to win without it, but I can easily believe it can be that last little feather that tips the scales.
I said I’m more impressed with his spot up shooting and outlet passing. He is a nice rebounder. But how much of that has to do with the cercumstances. Someone has to grab those rebounds. Is it gonna be Darko? When I watch him play I don’t see him getting rebounds that other good rebounders couldn’t get. Like I said… I think he is a nice player but still the most overrated player in the NBA. I’m sure you read my thoughts on Love a couple comments above so I won’t reiterate needlessly. What are your thoughts? And nobody loves Rodman more than me. The man was DPOY without being a league leader in blocking shots or getting steals. The only player to ever do that. Although just as I remind Carmelo fans about the defnsive end of the floor… Dennis wasn’t a good offensive player. Half the game.
SERIES WON BY TEAM WITH HOME-COURT ADVANTAGE, since 1983-84 (when the NBA went to a 16-team format):
First Round: 166-50 (.769)
Conference Semifinals: 85-23 (.787)
Conference Finals: 37-17 (.685)
NBA Finals: 21-6 (.778)
I am honestly shocked that the 8 seed has beaten the 1 seed 50 times… That is kind of crazy to me. I suppose it points to the parity in the NBA.
As to Bynum the rebounding beast… his activity level is just beginning to round into form.
Kevin Love is a very talented player, but he is not a pure athlete. If you watch him for an entire game, you will be amazed at how often the ball “just happens” to bounce towards him. How often he “gets lucky” and pins his man to his back. How often his man “forgets” about him as he slips into the paint to get position.
Love has an incredible sense of kinesthetics, of spatial and inertial reactions, and of on court player spacing.
It is the kind of thing where only deliberate observation will notice it. A casual glance doesn’t reveal how good Love really is, and it is easy to scoff about it is just “luck” or “volume” or “no one cares enough to stop him”.
Watch the game. Not the ball.
Rodman should have been a first ballot HOFer
…I have to say though Rodman was a very underrated offensive player especially on the Pistons. And he was always a very good passer.
Igor Avidon says
The availability of those boards means they’re available to the other team’s players as well. The other 29 teams’ big men who would gobble up all of those available boards if it wasn’t for the vertically-challenged ‘white man’ who is an absolute glass eater thanks to his effort and intelligence. He wasn’t voted into the All-Star game because he wasn’t on a winning team and he isn’t the sensation that Blake Griffin is.
Is your favorite movie Hoosiers? Is Larry Bird the best player of all time? Was your brother the lead singer of the Beach Boys?
I never said Love was lucky or the ball just happened to fall into his hands. I think I’m pretty good at watching the “game”and not the ball hence the reason it’s hard to see Kevin Love as a great player. He doesn’t have a big impact on the “game”. Of course aside from the fact that his man will probably go for a career high and his team will lose the “game.”
14: That’s not just 8s beating 1s, that’s 2s losing to 7s, 3s to 6s and 4s to 5s.
Unless there have been 216 first round 1-vs-8 series since 1983 and I haven’t been paying attention.
No. No. No.
This is fun! What is this game called? 🙂
Am I the only one who thinks that although Donald Sterling is an awful human being, we can’t really blame the Clippers for not paying for that surgery. I know that no place that I’ve ever worked would pay for any medical procedure for me beyond the regular medical insurance. At some jobs I’d be lucky to still be employed when I got back.
What the players did is a great story though.
John Morris says
You get more from your bench at home. You need your stars to play better to win on the road.
19) Right… right… Sorry, my morning brain made the jump somehow to “First Round = 8 vs 1 Seed…only.” *rubs eyes*
Not sure what my favorite movie is, but I suspect it is a combination of Field of Dreams, Seven Samurai, Unforgiven, and The Incredibles…
Larry Bird is not the best player of all time. Top 20, but not the best. The best player of all time is Bill Russell.
I deeply wish that I had a brother, and if I had one, A Beach Boy would be a nice option. Hugh Hefner would be an even better option.
There is a lot to be said about Kevin Love being a bad defender, and most of it is crapola…
The thing about defense, especially in the NBA, is that good “man to man” defenders are a myth. NBA offenses, even “isolations”, are far too complex for a single defender to handle. We have been talking on FB&G about the Lakers new funneling scheme on defense, and how it emphasizes multiple layers of defenders, switching on pink and rolls, weakside help, and on and on…
The best “man to man” defender in the league (whoever that is…) is still going to be destroyed if his teammates are not doing what they are supposed to do as well.
At the very least, you and I can agree that Love has hideous teammates…
But, I think that Love would still flourish on virtually any team in the league, and would start for almost all of them.
Imagine having Kevin Love instead of Luke Walton… *shakes his head and sighs*
My only real gripe about Kevin Love is that he wears the number 42, and not the number 69. (Seriously, his jersey sales would explode. It would be in virtually every hip hop video from now until the end of time… Just saying…)
>>>Imagine having Kevin Love instead of Luke Walton…
Let’s trade Luke for Love then:)
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.