Here’s one of my favorite NBA trivia questions: the Los Angeles Lakers have a sub-.500 records versus two teams in NBA history. Which are the two?
The first is archrival Celtics. Not unexpected. The other? You’d guess maybe the 76ers, Pistons, Suns, Rockets, Knicks or another decades-old rival.
The other team? The Charlotte Bobcats.
Since the inception of the Bobcats in the 2004-2005 season, the Lakers are a feeble 7-8 against them, including a 30-point battering Charlotte took last night in Staples Center. The sample size has been pretty small, but shocking none the less. Since the 2004-2005 season, the Lakers have gone 370-226 (a .620 winning percentage), been to the playoffs 6 times, 3 Finals and won 2 titles.
The Charlotte Bobcats have won 225 games against 371 losses, good for a .378 winning percentage. They have finished over .500 only once, which coincided with their only playoff appearance (a sweep at the hands of the Orlando Magic). They have already had four coaches and two owners in 8 years of existence. They are one of the least profitable franchises in the league. During the NBA lockout, the Bobcats were one of the teams most talked about in regards to team contraction. They are terrible, and have been so since their inception.
And somehow…the Lakers find themselves having lost 8 of the last 11 to the Bobcats, including two season sweeps. Not including last night’s destruction of a 3-18 team, Charlotte somehow holds an average point differential against the Lakers of +5.1. In victories, the Cats have beaten the Lakers by a stunning 10.3 points on average. Home court advantage seems to be negligible to the Lakers; the Bobcats hold a +1 point differential on average at games in LA. The Lakers have played in 6 overtime periods in 3 games against the Bobcats, and have won none of the games.
Somehow, someway, every year when the Bobcats come to town, or the Lakers make their doomed journey to Charlotte, I brace for the worst. And every time, I’m still stunned at how badly we play against what is usually a NBA team ranging from mediocre to feeble. Yesterday, with a 12-9 Lakers team playing a 3-17 Bobcats team, I sent out an e-mail in all seriousness that said “How many points do you think the Lakers lose by tonight?”
So I started to do some research. How is this possible? How can this happen year after year after year? Unfortunately, the stats back it up; this is not just a Laker fan overreacting. I’ve come up with 3 good reasons:
1) The Lakers have been vulnerable to quick, penetrating point guards for the past 8 seasons
The Lakers cannot guard anyone that has a PG next to their name on the box score. Whether it’s been Steve Blakers, Smush Parker, Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown and so forth, any penetrating guard with a modicum of quickness and skill will slapchop the Lakers defense.
The Bobcats have had four primary ball-handlers in their existence. Kemba Walker currently holds down that post, which was first Brevin Knight’s in the inaugural 2004-2005. However, the two points that have really decimated the Lakers have been DJ Augustin and Raymond Felton.
I crunched a few numbers and take a look at each man’s career averages and then his splits against the Lakers during each of their time in Charlotte:
Career in Charlotte: 13 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 6.4 apg, 41% shooting, 32% 3P shooting
Against the Lakers: 24 ppg, 3.9, rpg, 5.8 apg, 45% shooting, 30.3% 3P shooting
Career in Charlotte: 11 ppg, 2 rpg, 4 apg, 40% shooting, 30% 3P shooting
Against the Lake… Read more...