Notes from around the NBA: March 5, 2012

A closer look at the top 3 leading scorers in the NBA: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant.

  • James is the more efficient scorer. He attempts fewer shots per game (18.6 compared to Bryant’s league-leading 23.7 and Durant’s 19.7, which rank second), yet shoots a higher percentage from the field (.549) and from beyond the arc (.397). James also boasts a superior Plus-Minus Score Differential. The Heat enjoys +9.0 ppg advantage with James on the court; the Thunder is +5.4 with Durant on the court, and the Lakers are +3.6 with Bryant in the game.
  • James also gets off to quicker starts in games. He ranks first overall in scoring in the first quarter (8.6 ppg): Durant and Bryant are tied for second (7.5 ppg). While James starts fast, Durant picks up the pace in the fourth, when he leads the league in scoring (7.6). Bryant averages 7.1 points in the final period while James averages 5.6.
  • Each player is a model of consistency. Bryant scores 28.9 ppg in wins and 28.8 ppg in losses. Durant averages 28.0 points in wins and 29.0 in defeats. James is at 27.6 ppg in wins and climbs to 28.6 ppg in losses.
  • James and Durant score better on the road than on their home courts, while Bryant favorsSTAPLESCenterover other locales. James (29.2 ppg) leads the league in road scoring average, followed by Durant (29.0 ppg) and Bryant (28.1 ppg). Bryant (29.6 ppg), meanwhile, paces the NBA in home scoring, followed by Durant (27.1 ppg) and James (26.2 ppg).
  • In clutch situations — defined as the last five minutes of regulation or overtime when their teams are ahead or behind by five or fewer points — Durant averages 3.5 points but makes only 1-of-5 attempts. James averages 3.0 points, but takes only half the attempts (2.6), an indication he and Wade, who attempts 2.3 shots in such situations share the load late in close games. Perhaps most surprising of all, Bryant averages 1.4 points in clutch situations while attempting only 2.9 shots.
  • Durant has used the last 10 games to narrow Bryant’s cushion. Over his last 10 games, the reigning scoring champ is leading the league in scoring, averaging 31.6 points while shooting .517 from the field. Bryant (27.4 ppg) and James (27.0 ppg) are third and fourth, respectively, during that span.According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this scoring race has a chance to accomplish something done only twice since 1969-70 when the NBA began determining the scoring leader by average: placing the top three finishers within a point of each other.


1. George Gervin 27.22
2. David Thompson 27.15
3. Bob McAdoo 26.54
1. Dominique Wilkins 30.33
2. Adrian Dantley 29.83
3. Alex English 29.80
  • According to Elias, should Bryant, who led the NBA in scoring in 2005-06 and 2006-07, win his third scoring title, he would be the third oldest player and the oldest player not namedJordan, to do so. Bryant will 33 years and 247 days old on the last day of the regular season.


SeasonName (PPG)TeamYrsDays
1997-98Jordan, Michael (28.7)Chi.3560
1996-97Jordan, Michael (29.6)Chi.3461
1995-96Jordan, Michael (30.4)Chi.3364
1969-70West, Jerry (31.2)LA31298
1992-93Jordan, Michael (32.6)Chi.3067
  • Rose, Lawson Earn Weekly Honors
    The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and the Denver Nuggets’ Ty Lawson today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Feb. 27-March 4. Rose led Chicago to a 4-0 week with averages of 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 1.75 steals. Lawson led the Nuggets to a 3-0 week with averages of 20.7 points, a Western Conference-best 11.7 assists and 7.0 rebounds. MoreRevision to Playoff Tie-Break Criteria Approved
    The NBA Board of Governors approved a revision to the playoff tie-break criteria for the current season only. Since teams aren’t playing an equal amount of intra-division games during the 2011-12 season, the tiebreaker based on winning percentage within the division has been eliminated. All other tie-breakers for both playoff seeding and homecourt advantage remain unchanged for the upcoming postseason.
  • Stats & Stuff:
  • According to Elias, Boston’s Rajon Rondo, who recorded an 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist triple- double in the Celtics’ 115-111 overtime win over the New York Knicks yesterday, is only the third player in NBA history with at least 15 points, 20 assists and 15 rebounds in a game (Wilt Chamberlain andOscar Robertson are the others).
  • Dallas’ Jason Terry is five games away from 1,000 for his career. Terry, who is in his 13th season, has missed only 27 games over the course of his NBA career. Terry has appeared in additional 83 playoff games (45 starts) during his 12-plus seasons in the league. Terry could become the second Maverick to reach the milestone this season (Dirk Nowitzki appeared in his 1,000 career regular season game vs.Phoenix Jan. 4).
  • With a mark of 23-12,Indianais off to its best overall start since the Pacers were 25-10 in the first 35 games of 2003-04. Last season the Pacers didn’t get their 23rd win until their 51st game. Including their first win inUnitedCentersince March 2008, their first win inOrlandosince December 2007, and their first win inDallassince 2004, the Pacers are 11-8 on the road this season, their best start on the road since they were 13-6 away from home to start the 2003-04 campaign.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a 22-13 start, equaling the all-time best start through 35 games in franchise history, tying the 22-13 mark of the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.
  • New Jersey’s Deron Williams scored a franchise-record 57 points in the Nets’ 104-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats Sunday. It’s the most points scored in the NBA this season and breaks the team record of 52 points shared by Mike Newlin and Ray Williams.Today’s Quote
  • RAJON RONDO, who has been the subject of trade speculation, on his 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist performance Sunday in the Celtics’ win over the Knicks:
    “I think I’ve been playing better since the trade rumors, so keep them going.”
    New York Times March 5, 2012

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