Power Rankings Week 16: Suns take top spot as East rankings tighten

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Registration: 24-27
Rhythm: 100.6 (3) OffRtg: 108.5 (23) DefRtg: 110.2 (18) NetRtg: -1.7 (21)

The Lakers picked up Anthony Davis and improved to 9-7 when they got their three stars with a win in Brooklyn on Tuesday, keeping the Nets’ top 10 (missing Kevin Durant, of course) just 96 of 95 points. possessions. But the good health was short-lived, LeBron James missed the last two games with a knee problem, and the Lakers lost both. Although the Hornets and Hawks each shot less than 33 percent from 3-point range, they combined to score 123.6 points per 100 possessions over the weekend, totaling 120 points in the paint. The Lakers are now one of four teams — the Rockets, Blazers and Kings are the others — that rank in the bottom 10 in both opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (66.0%, 23rd) and the percentage of their opponents. shots that came in the restricted area (32%, fourth highest).

NBA TV’s Channing Frye asked a really good question about this team after the loss to Atlanta: What, exactly, are the Lakers good at? With their season 62% over, the Lakers are in the top 10 in just one of four factors at each end of the field, ranking ninth in opponent turnover rate. They’re also fourth in quick break points per game, mostly because James (first among individuals) remains an unstoppable force in transition. So they can run when they have the chance. But non-spinning stops didn’t come often enough. The weekend losses were the eighth and ninth times LA has allowed at least 120 of 100 points this season. This only happened six times last season when league-wide efficiency was higher.

Atlanta’s loss (in which they led by 11 early in the fourth quarter) was also the 12th for the Lakers (they are 18-12) after leading by double digits. That gives them the league lead over Cleveland (25-11) and Orlando (10-11).

With their six-game trip on the books, the Lakers are back in Los Angeles for their next four games. They are just 2½ games ahead of the 10th-place Blazers, with their last two meetings in the next 10 days. They split the first games, which were the Lakers’ most and least effective offensive performances of the season.

Week 16: against POR, @ LAC, against NYK

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