Nail-Biting Finishes and the Kobe Bryant Factor

Written by: Emily Wilson

Nov 2, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots the ball as Memphis Grizzlies forward Sam Young (4) defends at the Staples Center. Photo via Newscom


As if to carry over from last season, the Lakers opened the 2010-2011 regular season with a two point come-from-behind victory over the Houston Rockets last Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Although they dominated the Warriors by 24 points on Sunday night, and Memphis on Tuesday night, that close opening game brought back memories of last season’s many nail-biters.

Of the 82 regular season games last year, 35 of those were won by margins of 10 points or less. And of those 35, twelve were within 5 points. They also lost 12 close games and went to overtime 5 times.

Those statistics could easily be analyzed as proof of a talented NBA evenly matched, and while that was sometimes the reason behind the close competition, it was not always the case. The Lakers often went toe-to-toe with obviously less talented teams.

As a fan, here’s the catch: you want your team to decisively beat teams that deserve decisive beatings, but you’re also a sucker for those close, intense final minutes of a game, no matter the opponent.

So while the Lakers were intermittently frustrating last season, they were also consistently exciting.

Next: More of the Same?

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