Despite the fact that the Los Angeles
Lakers keep winning, the predictive power rankings at teamrankings now
have the LA Clippers ahead of the Lakers in the power ratings. The
Bucks still stand atop the NBA power rankings and the NBA odds
favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
Let’s have a look at the Top-Three and their weekend games.
No. 1 | The Milwaukee
The statisticians and algorithms love the Milwaukee Bucks. They get the
lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, then the Charlotte Hornets on
Saturday. Friday and Saturday provide the Bucks with the chance to
further their stranglehold on the Eastern Conference by moving to 17-3.
They score 119.4 points per game and only allow 110.2. Cleveland is
putting up just 104 points per game and allowing a dreadful, 111.7.
Milwaukee’s average scoring margin is +9.2. So, they win by nine points
per game on average.
The Charlotte Hornets are not terrible, but they are on the wrong side
of the playoff relegation line with 7 wins and 12 losses. They point
margin is -7.5 as they score less than they give away. As of
Thanksgiving Day, they are averaging 105.7 points per game and letting
their opponents net 113.2 – pretty bad. The Bucks should be able to
slide through Thanksgiving weekend on cruise control and still walk
away with two more wins.
No. 2 | Los Angeles
The Clippers take on the Spurs on Friday and their average points
scored falls directly in line with the Spurs defense. Right now the
Clips are putting up 114.6 points per game and the Spurs are allowing
115.2. So, we should expect the Clips to score into the middle
one-hundred-and-teens on San Antonio. On the flip side, the Clips are
only letting their adversaries score 107.5 per game. So, with the Spurs
putting up just under 112 per game, we should expect them to land
around the 109 to 110 points area. However, the game is being played in
San An, so this won’t be an easy victory for the Clippers, in fact, I
wouldn’t be surprised if the Spurs pulled out the win – I doubt they
will, but it wouldn’t be shocking.
On Sunday they’ll take on the Wizards in Washington who are currently
in 9th place out east and looking to improve their record to slide into
that 8th spot. The 6-10 Wizards score a lot of points. The problem is
they allow a lot too. Right now they are averaging 119.4 per game but
allowing 120.8. So, they have had some heartbreakingly close losses
this season, essentially, just not making those clutch plays when they
need them the most. Washington has to play the Lakers on Friday, then
they get a day off to travel back to D.C. and prepare for the other LA.
No. 3 | Los Angeles
The Lakers are the real deal. I myself had wondered about the social
experiment they were creating over there with LBJ, Anthony Davis,
Boogie – even though Boogs is out– Dwight Howards, and crew. But it’s
working out. They are the best defensive team in the league when at
home, allowing just 96.67 points per game and the No. 3 defense in any
situation. The Wizards high-scoring offense is going to meet with an
impenetrable wall in LA. If they break one-hundred-and-five points,
I’ll be surprised. Meanwhile, the Lakers put up a respectable 109
points per game at the Staples Center. But with the Wizards leaky
defense, we should expect the Lakers to break into the 116-plus points
On Sunday the Lakers will face a different kind of test in the Dallas
Mavericks. The Mavs are up and coming and right now, sitting in 5th
place out west. They play insanely well on the road, averaging 121
points per game in other team’s arenas. And defensively they are pretty
good, averaging 110 points per game allowed, and just 114 per game in
the road. The Laker recently beat the Mavericks in Dallas, so you can
bet that Doncic, Prozingis, and crew will be looking for some revenge.
This is going to be a close game, and one worth watching this Sunday.
The Lakers just might lose their third game of the season … maybe.