Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can the Lakers Get Shots At the Rim?

It's a bit of a coarse statistical analysis, but one of the key barometers for how the Los Angeles Lakers have played in the 2010 NBA Playoffs has been a comparison of their field-goal attempts at the rim vs. three-point field-goal attempts, data which is available courtesy of Hoopdata.

In the NBA Finals, the Lakers' finest performance was in Game 1, a 102-89 win in which they made the Celtics look like the feeble regular-season version of themselves. In that game, the Lakers dominated the paint. As part of that dominance, L.A. was 19-34 in shots taken at the rim, and 4-10 on three-pointers.

Since Game 1, L.A. has averaged just 18 attempts at the rim, against 19 three-pointers per game. This relates to something we touched upon in our post on Lakers-Suns shot location data: the Lakers have fared much better in these playoffs when they have maximized shots at the rim.

- When L.A. has had 30 or more "At Rim" FGA, they are 8-0 in the playoffs.
- When L.A. has had fewer than 30 "At Rim" FGA, they are 6-7 in the playoffs.

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In the Finals, the Lakers have attempted more "At Rim" FGA than three-pointers in Games 1 and 3 (their two wins) and more threes than "At Rim" FGA in each of their three losses. This continues a trend for the playoffs:

- When L.A. has attempted more "At Rim" FGA than 3PA, they are 10-1 in the playoffs.
- When L.A. has attempted fewer "At Rim" FGA than 3PA, they are 4-6 in the playoffs.

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Against the Celtics, the Lakers are down significantly in "At Rim" FGA compared to their previous playoff series and the regular season:
LAKERS "AT RIM" FGs/PG
FGM FGA FG%
v BOS 12.4 21.2 .585
v PHX 16.0 25.3 .632
v UTH 18.5 28.5 .649
v OKC 14.8 25.3 .586
09-10 15.8 26.6 .594

And remember again that the vs. Boston numbers are including a 34 "At Rim" FGA performance in Game 1, and since then, the Lakers have averaged 18.0 "At Rim" FGA in going 1-3.

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Of course, the "At Rim" FGA statistic tracks particularly close to another important stat - offensive rebounding - which we noted after a dominant Laker performance on the O-boards in Game 1.

Still, the Lakers made a dedicated effort to get the ball to the basket in Game 1, but since then, they have settled for more outside shots, and Boston has also done a good job of shutting down driving lanes in their wins.

Kobe Bryant's numbers are indicative: in Game 1, he was 5-10 in "At Rim" FGA. In the four games since, he is 5-7 in "At Rim" FGA combined.

Meanwhile, Kobe's shooting on Long 2's (16-23 feet) has settled back down, after his blistering performance vs. the Suns (though his 3-point shooting has still been solid at .378, compared to .329 on the season):
KOBE ON LONG TWOS (16-23 FOOTERS)
FGM FGA FG%
v BOS 2.6 7.2 .361
v PHX 4.8 8.3 .580
v OK/UT 1.8 5.1 .353
09-10 2.5 6.0 .415

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Another factor in the Lakers struggles' to get shots at the rim has been the declining effectiveness of Andrew Bynum over the course of the series.

In the first 3 games, Bynum was 9-16 at the rim in 32 mpg. But in Games 4 and 5 combined, he was just 2-2 at the rim, in 22 mpg.

Especially with Bynum increasingly hobbled, L.A. desperately needs more production from Lamar Odom.

Odom has actually been effective when he's gotten to the basket, a perfect 9-9 at the rim in the series.

However, he's just gotten there infrequently, as that equates to 1.8 FGA at the rim, down from 4.0 "At Rim" FGA" over the course of the season.
LAMAR ODOM "AT RIM" FGA
FGM FGA FG%
v BOS 1.8 1.8 1.000
09-10 2.3 4.0 .585

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Whether through offensive rebounding, a more dedicated inside-out attack, a more determined Kobe Bryant, or an awakened Lamar Odom, it certainly appears that the Los Angeles Lakers need to get the ball to the rim one way or another if they want to rally from a 3-2 series deficit and repeat as NBA champions.

2 Comments:

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Mark Terrence said...

yeah i agree with your analysis...yet they should need to run more pick and roll plays to overcome the tight D of the C's.. getting in to the rim is easy when C'S are on zone..but the playing one on one in each of their games..Lakers need to rotate the ball inside and out.

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous contactos en valencia said...

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