5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 18

Golden State and San Antonio continue to battle for best record. What else is there to know?

The Golden State Warriors continue to amaze the world with their 55-5 record, a .917 winning percentage.

As mentioned below, they seem to be marching towards setting the best single season record of all time.

We’re also well past the halfway mark of the season, and the playoffs are straight ahead. There are some tight playoff battles in both the Eastern and Western Conference for the 8 seeds, and we’ll have to see whether, for example, the Houston Rockets can maintain the 8 seed or will the Utah Jazz snatch it away.

Here are five things to know after 18 weeks in the NBA.

1. The Philadelphia 76ers have lost 10 games in a row

The Philadelphia 76ers have a per game points differential of -12.3 over their last 10 games, which helps explain why they’ve lost every one of those games. In fact, the 76ers have been worse than the team’s season average of -10.7 points per game, but their recent play and season long play both explain why their overall record is 8-53.

Last year’s 76ers team posted a record of 18-64. Despite selecting another high draft pick (Jahlil Okafor) and gaining another year of seasoning for this roster, they have somehow managed to become worse. It doesn’t seem very likely that the 76ers will suddenly find the right combination of players and finish 11-10 over their last 21 games, which would allow them to improve upon, last year’s record. The only real question is how much longer will management allow this “rebuild” to continue.

2. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf made 474 career three-pointers over nine NBA seasons

Recently, Phil Jackson made some comments about, and I’m paraphrasing, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf being similar to Stephen Curry as a player. Abdul-Rauf was listed at 6’1” and 162 pounds during his playing career while Curry is listed at 6’3” and 185 pounds. I guess you can say they’re similarly sized, and it's true that both are point guards.

However, it looks like that’s where the similarities end. Abdul-Rauf had career averages of 14.6 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game. He could shoot free throws (career percentage of 90.5%), but he only made 0.8 three-pointers per game over his career. He did, however, have one season where he made 2.1 three-pointers per game and shot 39.2% from three-point range.

Curry, on the other hand, has made 1,484 three-point field goals in fewer than seven seasons while shooting 44.5% from three-point range. In addition, he has career averages of 22.1 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 6.9 assists per game. Everyone who follows the NBA also knows that Curry has been en fuego the entire season, and he's on pace to make around 400 three-point field goals this season. That's almost as many three pointers as Abdul-Rauf made over his nine-year career. It’s really not fair to compare Curry to Abdul-Rauf. It’s probably not fair to compare Curry to anyone right now. He’s a unique superstar in the NBA.

3. The Los Angeles Lakers are 3-17 over their last 20 games

It’s a bit of a toss-up between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers as to who is the worst team in the NBA post-All-Star break. However, the Lakers are certainly making a claim for that title with their 3-17 record over their last 20 games and 1-6 record post-All-Star break.

The most amazing part about the Lakers is that they have one of the greatest players of all time on their team, Kobe Bryant (33,323 career points). In comparison, the 13 players on the active 76ers roster have a combined 16,517 points.

Expecting the 76ers to be bad is reasonable, but a 12-50 record for a team featuring Kobe Bryant will always feel off.

4. The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are a combined 107-14

The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are both having a season for the ages. The Warriors are 55-5 and seem on a mission to beat the previous best record held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls of 72-10. However, the Spurs are right on their heels at 52-9 and also are 29-0 at home this season.

With just 21 games left in the regular season, the Spurs also will host Warriors twice. This gives the Spurs at least a shot at catching the Warriors for best record in the NBA although they’ll need some other Warrior losses to occur. It makes for an interesting end to the regular season and overall playoff seeding.

5. Carmelo Anthony averaged 19.7 shots per game during February

Carmelo Anthony averaged 22.2 points per game on 19.7 shots per game during the month of February. However, his field goal percentage during that span was just 38.6%, and the New York Knicks were a putrid 2-9.

Conversely, during January of this year, Anthony averaged 15.8 shots per game while averaging 19.8 points per game. His field goal percentage was 44.7%, and the Knicks were a respectable 8-5 in the games Anthony played. This is a pretty short period of time (just two months), but it does lend some credibility to the idea that a more balanced Knicks offense improves the team as a whole. In January, Anthony was taking almost four fewer shots per game, but it didn't hurt the team's record.