FanPost

Lakers are favorites?  Seriously?

What stats are people using, the regular season? Really?

Common, give me a break.  This is the PLAYOFFS not the regular season.  

I went over to www.basketball-reference.com which have some nice stats. Thanks!

Both teams have played 10 games so I do not have to compensate for number of games.  I picked the following stats because they are all team stats. And this is very important when talking about match ups. So far, I keep seeing the top 5 or 6 against our top 5 or 6. For me, this is NOT a valid comparison of the Suns. The Suns are 10 deep! It is just wishful homer thinking to ignore all the minutes played by the Suns second string.

These are the averages for both teams over the last 10 playoff games.  And of course, you could argue that there opponents were different and some were better or worse, but this is 10 games worth for an statistics. If these teams averaged 100 possessions  per game, then these averages are for 1000 possessions. That is a pretty good sample.

Which team has given up the fewest points per game to the opponents in the playoffs?  

Lakers:  97.1       Suns:  95.9           Suns better than Lakers +1.2

Which team has scored the most points per game?

Lakers:  101.0     Suns:  105.8        Suns better than Lakers +4.8

What was the opponent’s field goal percentage per game?

Lakers:  .412       Suns:  .446           Lakers better by +.034  3.4 points on 100 possessions

What was the teams field goal percentage per game?

Lakers : .461       Suns:  .476           Suns better by  +.015   1.5  points on 100 possessions

Ok. I am sliding into the unknown by adding these differences up but WTH.

Lakers: +3.4

Suns: +1.5, +4.8, +1.2 = 7.5

Suns win the averages by 4.1 I read this to mean that Suns offense + defense is better than Lakers offense + defense.

So where do the Lakers win this series?   Rebounding? This stat is one that  the Lakers should dominate. But it is driven by other factors like how many boards are there in a game.  Of course all NBA games have variances due to higher shooting percentage, or fewer possessions, and also (my pet peeve ) standing there tipping the ball in 4 times and getting 4 offensive boards, (ugh).  

Thanks again to basketball-reference.com they have some nice percentage stats on rebounds. Where they try to guess what is available to be rebounded.

DRB%  : Defensive Rebound Percentage (available since the 1970-71 season in the NBA); the formula is 100 * (DRB  * (Tm  MP  / 5)) / (MP * (Tm  DRB  + Opp  ORB)). Defensive rebound percentage is an estimate of the percentage of available defensive rebounds a team grabbed.

OBR%: Offensive Rebound Percentage (available since the 1970-71 season in the NBA); the formula is 100 * (ORB  * (Tm  MP  / 5)) / (MP * (Tm  ORB  + Opp  DRB)). Offensive rebound percentage is an estimate of the percentage of available offensive rebounds a team grabbed.

OBR%: Lakers   .291         Suns  .267            Lakers better by .024          2.4 points on 100 possessions

DRB%: Lakers    .717        Suns  .757           Suns better by .04               4 points on 100 possessions

WOW. There is an eye opener, Suns win the total rebounding battle.

WOW. Damn!

Let’s look at a stat which captures the 3 point differences on overall shooting percentages.

Effective Field Goal Percentage; the formula is (FG  + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA. This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%).

EFG%:  Lakers  .504          Suns  .540  Suns better by .036       3.6 points on 100 possessions

I bet you could guess the Suns win this stat, but since the Suns depend on their 3 point shooting, I included it to see how big a difference the overall three might make in the games.  Overall shooting percentage is really close at just over 50% for both teams.

Hang on to your hat, and get your math brain stoked up! Last stat.

W Pyth: Pythagorean Wins; the formula is G * (Tm  PTS14  / (Tm  PTS14  + Opp  PTS14)). The formula was obtained by fitting a logistic regression model with log(Tm  PTS  / Opp PTS) as the explanatory variable. Using this formula for all BAA, NBA, and ABA seasons, the root mean-square error (rmse) is 3.14 wins. Using an exponent of 16.5 (a common choice), the rmse is 3.48 wins.

OK, I admit I have a vague idea of what this means, but let’s make it easy, this is the number of games it projects to win for W Pyth and to lose for L Pyth.  (For you math wizards, if you could help, I’m happy to hear it.):

W Pyth:  Lakers 6.3          Suns 8.0

L Pyth:   Lakers 3.7          Suns  2.0

This stat shows that the Suns dominate there opponents winning 8 games vs 2, for .800 ball; for the Lakers they still winning (duh) but .630 pace. So, in seven games the Suns  should win 5.6 and the Lakers 4.41. Both good enough to win a seven game series. But the Suns have a better chance to win it in 6 games while the Lakers will need all 7.

OK. I know I am a homer, but if these are PLAYOFF stats and are TEAM stats.  The SUNS 10 man team can beat the Laker's 6 man team. IF the Lakers are going to win, they will have to play better than they have in the playoffs to date.

Suns team offense + defense is better than Lakers team offense + defense.

Seriously, the Suns have the better TEAM.

GO SUNS!

 

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