If you’re only as old as you feel, well, the Los Angeles Lakers are only slightly younger than the invention of the telephone. Just ask Kobe Bryant.
"You just saw an old damn team," Bryant told reporters after Tuesday’s 103-99 loss to Philly as 9-point favorites. "I don't know how else to put it to you. We're just slow. You saw a team over there that was just younger and just had fresher legs and just played with more energy, and we were just stuck in the mud.”
The Lakers are the fourth-oldest team in the NBA with an average age of just over 28 but four of their top six minute eaters are at least 32. It’s hardly an excuse when you look at the 21-10 New York Knicks, the oldest team in NBA history. But the ATS (against the spread) numbers show that L.A. is slightly worse on short periods of rest than it is when it has more than a day to recoup between games.
The Lakers are 9-13-1 ATS this season in the second game of back-to-back spots or games played on only one day of rest. They are slightly better at 4-4 ATS when they have at least two days off to prepare.
It gets even worse when you look at the most recent games where L.A. is bleeding money on a 2-5-1 ATS skid in the second game of back-to-back or single-day rest situations.
The Lakers are getting caught in transition when they can’t get offensive rebounds and, as Kobe pointed out, the team needs to “figure out what we want to do on nights when we don't have those legs or have that energy."
If they can’t figure it out, Lakers bettors may find themselves a little shy on the trigger over the next little while. The Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers on two-days of rest Friday, but after that they go a stretch of seven games where they won’t see more than a day of rest between any of those contests.
To make matters tougher, the next seven games are against teams they lost to in the previous meeting and they play back-to-back roadies against Houston and San Antonio on Jan. 8 and 9.