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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sdrives against Matt Barnes #22 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on November 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 105-95. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
WIth the Los Angeles Lakers spending Tuesday voting, traveling and prepping for a difficult game in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night, it's a good a time to check in on the trends and statistics developing in this young season:
59.7% — Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.8 points per game through the first 4 games of the season, and the Lakers’ living legend is putting up this number while shooting 59.7% from the field. Kobe put up 40 points against the Clippers on 60.9% from the field and 10-10 from the line.
In fact, Mr. Bryant has not had a single game shooting under 50% from the field, and his free throw percentage is at 94.7% this season. Kobe came out of the gates packing heat, but he’s averaging less than 17 shot attempts per game. This is about 5 shots fewer per game than Kobe took last year.
So, this means Kobe should shoot more?
3rd Quarter— In each of the L.A. Lakers’ first 3 games of the season, they lost the 3rd quarter. Consequently, the Lakers lost all 3 games.
Against Dallas, Los Angeles was out-scored 26-20 immediately following the intermission. Against Portland, L.A. was on the losing end of a 30-19 quarter.
Against the Clippers, the Lakers were beaten 30-20 in the period. In each of these instances, the Lakers failed to score more than 20 points. In their one win, the Lakers won the 3rd quarter and scored 24 points.
68.8% — Dwight Howard is clearly not back to 100% health, but his offensive game is better than it has ever been. Through the first 4 games of the season, the Lakers’ biggest man is averaging 68.8% from the field, up from his career FG% average of 57.7%.
Although Dwight’s rebounds per game are down due to his on-going recovery from back surgery, his ability to score the basketball is significantly improved.
Whether this improvement is due to the Princeton offense is unclear, but Howard is averaging 23.4 ppg this season. Last year, he averaged 20.6 ppg.