With another impressive win against a quality opponent, the Utah Jazz (19-15), the Los Angeles Lakers have now secured their status as the NBA’s best team.
The Lakers beat the Jazz 113-100 Friday night for their fifth straight win and 17th in 18 home games, while the other top two teams in the league also won their home games on the same day.
The Celtics won in Boston over the 6-25 Wizards, 108-83, while the Cavaliers defeated the 14-19 Chicago Bulls, 117-92 in Cleveland.
Of the top three teams in the current NBA’s standings, the Lakers (26-5) have the better record against the Boston Celtics (29-5) and Cleveland Cavaliers (27-5) in terms of quality of wins.
Of the Cavaliers’ 27 wins, only seven are against winning teams. Of the seven, only two were road wins (Dallas and Denver).
All five Cleveland losses are against winning teams (Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, Atlanta, and Miami).
Their perfect record at home is mainly due to the fact that they’ve only played five quality opponents at home. We’ll see on Jan. 9 when they host the Celtics in Cleveland if they can still keep their home-record clean.
The following is the list of their wins against teams with winning records:
- Nov. 3 @ Dallas 100-81
- Nov. 13 vs. Denver 110-99
- Nov. 15 vs. Utah 105-93
- Dec. 19 @ Denver 105-88
- Nov. 22 vs. Atlanta 110-96
- Dec. 23 vs. Houston 99-90
- Dec. 28 vs. Miami 93-86
The Celtics have seven home wins and three on the road (Houston, Detroit, and Atlanta) against quality opponents.
They’ve lost to two opponents with losing records (Indiana and Golden State) and three against teams with winning records (Denver at home, LA Lakers, and Portland).
The list of Celtics wins against quality opponents is as follows:
- Oct. 28 vs. Cleveland 90-85
- Nov. 4 @ Houston 103-99
- Nov. 9 @ Detroit 88-76
- Nov. 12 vs. Atlanta 103-102
- Nov. 20 vs. Detroit 98-80
- Dec. 1 vs. Orlando 107-88
- Dec. 5 vs. Portland 93-78
- Dec. 12 vs. New Orleans 94-82
- Dec. 17 @ Atlanta 88-85
- Dec. 15 vs. Utah 100-91
The Lakers, on the other hand, have already won 12 games against winning teams, five on the road (Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, and New Orleans twice). Two of their losses are against losing teams (Indiana and Sacramento).
Three are against teams with winning records (Detroit at home, Miami, and Orlando). The following is the list of their wins against teams with winning records:
- Oct. 28 vs. Portland 96-76
- Nov. 1 @ Denver 104-97
- Nov. 9 vs. Houston 111-82
- Nov. 11 @ Dallas 106-99
- Nov. 12 @ New Orleans 93-86
- Nov. 21 vs. Denver 104-90
- Nov. 20 @ Phoenix 105-92
- Nov. 28 vs. Dallas 114-107
- Dec. 10 vs. Phoenix 115-110
- Dec. 23 @ New Orleans 100-87
- Dec. 25 vs. Boston 92-83
- Jan. 2, 2009, vs. Utah 113-100
ESPN’s Hollinger Power Ranking currently ranks the Lakers at No. 4, even below the 26-7 Orlando Magic, and I can’t understand why.
Maybe it’s about time that John Hollinger modifies his computer program to make its forecast more accurate. It failed in its prediction about the Utah Jazz last season, right?
Anyway, as John pointed out, it’s an entirely automated ranking, so certain “human” factors are missing. So Marc Stein’s Power Ranking should be more accurate, as he now ranks the Lakers as the best team in the NBA.
No doubt about that!