Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hot Points: Comparing Heat to Lakers

December 1, 2010

Since so many people are quick to jump on the Miami Heat early in the season for their less-than-stellar start - despite the fact that there are over 60 games left to play - it is necessary to put some perspective on the situation. Here we compare the back-to-back NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers' current state to that of the Heat's, thus proving that Miami isn't as bad off as the media depicts it to be.

Quality of Wins and Losses

First off, let's look at both Miami and L.A.'s record thus far; The Heat stand at 10-9 while L.A. stands at 13-5. In essence, the teams are separated by four victories, which is not a huge margin given how much basketball is left to play. Does this four-win difference constitute the largely lopsided negative coverage of the Heat compared to the Lakers?

Beyond record comparisons, let's look at the victories and losses that each team has earned.
Grizzlies hand Lakers third straight loss, 98-96.

On Miami's end, they have fallen to playoff contending teams like the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Hornets, Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. But the Heat have also lost to unproven teams like the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies. That leaves Miami with only two quality wins (versus the Magic and Phoenix Suns) while the rest of their Ws are against average squads.

Then again, the Lakers are on a three-game slump as of late and - what do you know - all three losses have come against teams that Miami lost to; That is, the Jazz, Pacers and Grizzlies. So should the Lakers receive as much flack as the Heat for those losses, particularly those against Indiana and Memphis, or do they deserve a free pass? Not sure where the fairness in coverage is here.

Lakers Haven't Proven Much

But hold up. We still haven't looked at the teams L.A. has defeated. Perhaps that will prove that they have more quality wins than Miami and are thus deserving of less negative press.

Not so fast.

Looking at all 13 victories the Lakers have earned, we find it hard to come by a win that stands out. Just take a look at the list for yourself:
  • Houston Rockets
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Golden State
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Portland Trailblazers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Chicago Bulls*
*Teams that have a record of over .500 thus far. 

In essence, L.A. has only played against three teams with an above-.500 record and are 1-2 in those games. Yet the defending champs are cruising under the radar without anywhere near the media criticism Miami has received.

Last Word

There is clearly a missing element of fair coverage in the national media when it comes to the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Nevertheless, most of the noise coming through the airwaves means little to nothing with 75% of the season left to go. We'll revisit this issue around the dawn of the New Year and see if the media's tone takes a clear shift. 

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