The Lakers Aren’t Who We Thought They Were

The Lakers sport the NBA’s best record to date at 25-6, but it is a deceiving one. Out of their first 31 games, the Lakers have only played 12 games against teams that are over .500, and have only won half of those games.

In the six games they've lost, their losing margin has averaged a whopping 15 points. That is not representative of an NBA champion, or of an NBA champion to be.

Considering that 17 of their first 21 games were at the Staples Center against sub-.500 teams, their current record is more than a little suspect.  

Also, a number of those games against sub-.500 teams, like last night’s game with Golden State, have been really close. Six of their wins have been by six points or fewer. In at least four of those games, the Lakers needed final-quarter heroics from Kobe Bryant to secure the wins.

It seems that teams are no longer in awe of the Lakers or their height advantage. They are driving down the lane and challenging Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom. It is surprising how many points in the paint even these sub-.500 teams are scoring.

Another surprising oddity that you won’t find on many championship teams, if any, is the total inability of the Lakers' bench to contribute. In nearly every game this season, the Lakers’ bench has been outscored, and for the most part, dominated.

Even the 9-22 Warriors’ bench outplayed the Lakers’ bench to the tune of a 44-25 edge. In their 15-point loss to Phoenix, the Lakers’ bench was outscored 50-31.

In the Christmas Day loss to Cleveland, the bench came up short again, 31-17. Jordan Farmar played 12 minutes and did not score a point. Lamar Odom played 27 minutes and only had six points.

One of last year’s championship sparks, Trevor Ariza, is gone. Ariza added an up-tempo rhythm to the game when he was on the court. Flipping Ariza for Ron Artest so far this season h...

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