5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 17

Are the surging Grizzlies the real deal? Or is the loss of Marc Gasol too much to overcome?

Losing superstars is (almost) never a good thing, but we've seen some instances in which teams have not only hung on without star players but also thrived.

That's been the case for the Los Angeles Clippers without Blake Griffin. But when the Memphis Grizzlies lost Marc Gasol for the season, things were understandably bleak.

Through four games, though, the Grizz are hanging on without Gasol, but is it just a mirage?

1. The Memphis Grizzlies are 3-1 without Marc Gasol

Although it’s only been a four-game stretch, the Memphis Grizzlies are having some success rolling out a small ball look each night. Granted, the three teams they’ve beaten without Marc Gasol have a combined record of 44-130. Yet, the Grizzlies are winning with a line-up that includes 6’9” Zach Randolph and 6’9” JaMychal Green splitting power forward and center duties. That’s easily one of the smallest frontcourts in the NBA, and the rest of the starting line up isn't exactly composed of redwoods. Matt Barnes, P.J. Hairston, Mike Conley are only 6’7”, 6’6” and 6’1”, respectively.  

The Grizzlies, however, still hold down the fifth best record in the Western Conference (33-23) and, with just 26 games left, are five games ahead of the eighth place Houston Rockets. It looks like they’re a good bet to make the playoffs, and we’ll see if they can replicate the small ball success, at least to some degree, that we’ve seen from the 51-5 Golden State Warriors.

2. Anthony Davis scored 59 points in a game

Davis' game against the Detroit Pistons -- 59 points and 20 rebounds -- is in the running for game of the year. More importantly, the New Orleans Pelicans won the game. Unfortunately, the next night, Davis scored 9 points to go along with another 20 rebounds, and the Pelicans lost.

When you look at Davis’ offensive numbers in wins versus losses this season, there is a significant difference. In the Pelicans' wins, Davis averages 26.9 points per game and shoots almost 54% from the field. In the Pelicans' losses, Davis averages 21.9 points per game and shoots just over 47%. The Pelicans' point differential per game is -2.9 for the season, so maybe the solution to them going on a consistent winning streak is putting Davis in position to have offensive success each night.

3. The Chicago Bulls are 8-14 over their last 22 games

The Chicago Bulls have literally been limping along over their last 22 games. Their record is pretty bad at 8-14, yet they still hold down the 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, have won their last three games, and overall are 30-26.

The Bulls under new coach Fred Hoiberg are lacking the defensive impact they showed last season. Although not a perfect comparison, last year’s team had a positive point differential of 3 points per game (holding opponents to 97.8 points per game), but this year’s team has a negative points differential of 0.4 (allowing opponents to score 102.3 points per game). It’s hard to believe this team can win consistently and/or go on a long term playoff run if that issue isn’t fixed.

4. Damian Lillard is averaging 29.3 points per game in February

Damian Lillard continues to impress in the Northwest. He’s averaging 29.3 points per game, 7.8 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game in nine February contests. The Portland Trail Blazers are 7-2 over that span and firmly in the playoff race at 30-28, currently seventh in the Western Conference.

The Blazers are second in their division and 19-12 at home this year.

5. Stephen Curry has made a three-point field goal in 128 straight games

By doing so, Stephen Curry has broken the record previously set by Kyle Korver. Curry’s shooting exploits are really quite incredible. He’s leading the league in scoring at 30.4 points per game, makes 5.0 three-point field goals per game, shoots over 50% from the field and 45.5% from three-point range. On top of that, he’s shooting 91% from the free throw line and averaging 5.3 rebounds per game and 6.7 assists per game while playing 33.8 minutes per game.

Normally, these types of records seems to be associated with specialists like Korver. That's not the case with Curry. He's just a special big-time player.