Not all records are how they appear. Some teams are lucky, others not so much. This is true for any sport. As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2022, let’s take a look at lucky - and unlucky - NBA teams.
Washington - The Wizards are 6-0 in games decided by three points or less. Exactly half of those six wins (three) have been in overtime. So this is a team we don’t think will finish in the top six. Quite frankly, if their luck starts to go bad, the Wizards might not even make the play-in round. They have only five double digit wins. The only Eastern Conference teams with fewer double digit wins this season are Orlando and Detroit. The Wizards’ point differential is also third worst in the East, ahead of only those same two teams. So a case can be made, statistically, that the Wizards have been the third worst team in their conference thus far. They are lucky to currently be in eighth place at 18-17.
Brooklyn - The Eastern Conference leaders are 4-0 in games decided by three points or less. Now, because they have a better overall record than the Wizards, the 23-9 Nets should still be in good shape. But if their luck turns, maybe they don’t finish first? The status of Kyrie Irving should play a significant role in how Brooklyn performs over the second half of the season.
LA Lakers - The Lakers have five overtime wins. To put that number in perspective, the rest of the Western Conference has just nine overtime wins. Only five teams in the West have a worse point differential than the Lakers. Against teams that are .500 or better, LA is just 4-10 straight up. The championship window appears closed. If the Lakers’ luck were to turn, then it’ll be a second straight season they find themselves in the play-in round.
Charlotte - The Hornets are 0-4 in overtime games. No other team has more than two overtime losses. There are only two other teams in the NBA with multiple OT losses without at least one OT win. Despite the poor luck in OT, the Hornets still find themselves in reasonable position in the East, in seventh place. But this is not a team you should start blindly betting on, expecting luck to take a turn for the better. That’s because the Hornets are the worst defensive team in the league.
Indiana - The Pacers are a team that could move up. They’ve been without their leading scorer (Brogden) for the last few games. But a bigger issue for them is a league-worst 1-8 record in games decided by three points or less. No other team has more than five losses by three points or less. The difference in home and road wins for the Pacers, currently eight, is the largest in the league. If they can start winning road games and improve their record in close games, then Indiana should get into the play-in round.