The Lakers played their worst game of the season in their rematch against Washington according to the Forum Blue & Gold Points Over Expectation (POE) NBA and Lakers data. By a lot. They rebounded somewhat against Milwaukee to only post their fifth worst POE performance on the year.
The worst game LA had played before Thursday was -13 combined points over expectation between offense and defense (POE = CPOE – DPOE). Their POE Thursday was -32.1, almost 20 points worse than their -13 vs the Jazz.
This is actually the only game LA has played so far that their offense and defense were below average.
In 13 games, LA has had:
- 2 games where their offense and defense were above average (2-0 record in those games)
- 4 games where their offense was above average but the defense wasn’t (2-2 record)
- 6 games where their defense was above average but the offense wasn’t (1-5 record)
- 1 game (Thursday) where both the offense and defense were below average (0-1 record)
Here is an updated look at how teams are playing. This is how each team would be projected to finish the season if they were to continue playing with exactly the same POE as they have currently. These will become increasingly more stable as the season progresses and the sample grows.
Game 1 vs Wizards
The Lakers put up their second worst CPOE performance of the season against DC. Only the opening loss to the Clippers had a worse CPOE. It’ll be hard for any team to win any games when their offense scores about 24 points less than an average team would on the same possessions.
Finishing cuts at an above average rate was the only real area of success the team had, and this came against the 20th ranked Wizard defense looking at DPOE.
Game 2 vs Bucks
The Lakers followed up their second worst offensive performance of the year with their third worst. Scoring on rolls was again a positive and the team had a nice performance with their putbacks, but just everywhere else was bad.
More missed jumpers and shots at the rim killed LA in this game. The Bucks’ length impacted shots inside, in isolation, and helped Milwaukee to bother jump shooters.
A large part of the team’s -8.5 spot up shooting vs Washington was just the team missing shots.
The team took 16 catch and shoot 3-pointers against Washington. 14 of those were what Synergy would consider open. 14 of 16 3-pointers being open is fantastic, and you’d expect a lot of point to come from those open shots.
Unfortunately, the team went 2/14 on those open 3s and 0/2 on the contested ones. That’s about four made shots lower than you’d expect. 12 more points in a 16 point loss makes a difference.
This has been a problem all season, and its impact isn’t trivial. Forum Blue & Gold contributor @Reed_NBA tweeted this Friday:
Comparing team stats in wins and losses highlights what is driving outcomes… 3P%, pace, passing, running… And not really opponent performance. pic.twitter.com/lhXdMRAp8S
— Reed (@Reed_nba) November 10, 2017
For the -7.5 against Milwaukee it’s a different story. Against the Bucks, the team had less success generating open looks. Only three of 14 catch and shoot 3-pointers were open (LA shot 1/3) and the team did shoot four for 11 on contested 3s, which is satisfactory. We hit harder shots, but the issue was generating those open looks. We also turned the ball over a lot on spot up possessions attempting to attack closeouts. LA had a 21.7% turnover rate on spot ups in that game compared to just 6.2% on the entire season.
LA had eight total points from their past four games combined in the post, up to and including the loss to Milwaukee. More than half of the games the Lakers have played this season have had two or zero points from down low.
Julius Randle and Larry Nance being a combined five for 16 from the post is bringing down the team’s post efficiency to 23rd in the league.
Game 1 vs Washington
The team’s third worst defensive performance (and worst in the last nine games) didn’t help to mitigate the negative effect the offense had on Friday. The Lakers gave up 8.4 points more than you’d expect an average team to concede facing the same distribution of possessions.
Five seperate play types giving up 3.6 points more than the expectatino or worse highlights how balanced and successful Washington was.
Game 2 vs Milwaukee
LA turned it around after a poor performance against the Wizards to do a good job holding the Bucks below average. The Bucks had five of their 12 3-pointers be open, but were 0/7 on contested 3s and just 1/5 on open ones, helping LA.
Dominance Down Low
D.C. scored a combined 13 points more than the expectation between post ups, putbacks, cuts, and roll men possessions. Milwaukee was 5.3 above the average. The attack was also fairly spread out between Wizard and Bucks offensive players and the defenders of those possessions.
LA started the year with six above average performances defending putbacks out of seven games. Since then, they’ve been below average in five of six games.