Slowing the fastbreak key to covering NBA spreads

There are plenty of fingers flying in La-La Land, directing the blame for the Los Angeles Lakers’ disappointing season. That latest, according to the Los Angeles Times, is pointing at the Lakers’ inability to slow down opponents in transition.

Los Angeles sits dead last in the NBA in fastbreak points allowed, watching teams run the floor for 16.3 points per game. The Lakers were rolled by the Denver Nuggets’ transition offense in a 118-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets Monday, getting outscored 33-3 on the fastbreak.

"You have to almost overexaggerate getting back on defense. Literally, nobody can go to the offensive boards," Los Angeles guard Kobe Bryant told the L.A. Times when asked for a solution.

All those easy looks and layups being scored by the Lakers’ opponents have led to a dismal 23-34-1 ATS record. And L.A. isn’t alone when it comes to poor transition defense spoiling success against the spread.

The five worst transition defenses in the NBA – L.A. Lakers, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Minnesota – all have ATS records in the red and have a combined ATS mark of 117-159-6 heading into Wednesday.

Here’s a closer look at those five teams getting beat by the fastbreak:

Los Angeles Lakers (28-30 SU, 23-34-1 ATS) – 16.3 fastbreak points allowed
Sacramento Kings (19-39 SU, 24-32-2 ATS) – 16.1 fastbreak points allowed
Milwaukee Bucks (27-28 SU, 26-29-0 ATS) – 15.3 fastbreak points allowed
Charlotte Bobcats (13-44 SU, 20-36-1 ATS) – 14.5 fastbreak points allowed
Minnesota Timberwolves (20-34 SU, 24-28-2 ATS) – 14.2 fastbreak points allowed

Note: The best teams versus the fastbreak – Indiana, Miami, Philadelphia, New York/Washington (tied), Toronto – have a combined ATS mark of 176-151-5 and only the 76ers and Knicks own sub .500 ATS records.

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