Taking a Charge in the NBA
Home | Teams/Players | Commentary | Services | Contact Us

"Fighting Losses" in the NBA 2017-18 season

Fighting losses in NBA

At the All Star Break the Dallas Mavericks can't be very happy with their overall record (well, except for the benefits of draft positioning), but one area they can take pride in is the percentage of their losses that have been "fighting losses"

...defined as how many of their losses at least reached a "clutch" state at the end of games -- the team was within five points sometime in the last five minutes...



Leading 2017-18 NBA Teams in "Fighting Loss %"

Regular Season to the All Star Break
Team
W-L Record
Clutch
Games
Fighting
Losses
Toronto 41-16 14-12 75%
Dallas 18-40 8-28 70%
Detroit 28-29 16-19 66%
Miami 30-28 23-18 64%
Philadelphia 30-25 18-16 64%
Boston 40-19 23-12 63%
Washington 33-24 17-15 63%
Houston 44-13 14-8 62%
Oklahoma City 33-26 13-16 62%
Minnesota 36-25 17-15 60%
New Orleans 31-26 20-15 58%
Charlotte 24-33 12-19 58%
Brooklyn 19-40 14-23 58%
LA Clippers 30-26 15-14 54%
Portland 32-26 18-14 54%
Indiana 33-25 16-13 52%
Orlando 18-39 8-20 51%
Denver 32-26 12-13 50%
Golden State 44-14 15-7 50%
Memphis 18-38 9-19 50%
Atlanta 18-41 11-20 49%
Milwaukee 32-25 20-12 48%
Cleveland 34-22 22-10 45%
LA Lakers 23-34 14-15 44%
Chicago 20-37 15-16 43%
New York 23-36 10-15 42%
San Antonio 35-24 15-10 42%
Phoenix 18-41 14-15 37%
Utah 30-28 12-10 36%
Sacramento 18-39 16-12 31%

* Fighting Loss% = Clutch Losses / Total Losses



Not surprisingly there's a healthy correlation between a team's overall record and its "Fighting Loss%" -- after all the good teams should seldom be getting blown out, whereas the less talented teams struggle to keep it close.

This is what makes the Mavericks season so far such an outlier -- with 28 clutch losses out of 40 total losses they are at a 70% Fighting Loss rate. In the past eight seasons, only twenty teams have had a 70%+ fighting loss rate, and only two of these had fewer than 47 wins on the season...the '10-11 Rockets who were 43-39...and the '12-13 Washington Wizards who went 29-53 (and 16-37 in close games).

The top of the list in fighting loss% over this span is dominated by two teams: of the top 12 recorded FL% seasons, Oklahoma City has FIVE of them, Toronto has THREE (and is tops this year so far...OKC's % is down a bit but still 9th best in league).

What explains the consistency of the OKC-TOR runs? Well in addition to talent of the roster, coaching certainly comes to mind -- Scott Brooks did well in this in his time in Oklahoma and has since posted a 70% fighting loss season in '16-17 in Washington and a 63% seventh ranked season to this point in '17-18...meanwhile Dwane Casey is currently the fourth longest tenured head coach in the NBA behind Pops, Carlisle, and Spo...

Still, there are a lot of factors that go into this number, and the overarching one is simply the record in clutch games...had the Mavs won a few more of those this season their fighting loss% would be lower.

How do the "unlucky losers" fare the following season?

High Fighting Loss%/Losing Record Teams in the following year

Team
W-L
Record
Fighting
Losses
Next
Season
Washington '12-13 29-53 70% 44-38
Utah '15-16 40-42 67% 51-31
Atlanta '13-14 38-44 64% 60-22
Charlotte '16-17 36-46 63% 35-47*
Milwaukee '11-12* 31-35 63% 38-44
Minnesota '11-12* 26-40 63% 31-51
Golden State '11-12* 23-43 60% 47-35
Toronto '12-13 34-48 60% 48-34
Boston '13-14 25-57 60% 40-42
Boston '14-15 40-42 60% 48-34
Minnesota '13-14 40-42 60% 16-66

Charlotte's record for the follow up season is projected from
their current 24-33 record at the ASB

The '11-12 season was the lockout year with only 66 games
in the season


Some reasons for optimism then from historical patterns if you are the Mavericks (or perhaps the Detroit Pistons).

The losing record teams with high fighting loss% seasons have posted double digit gains in wins for the next season in 6 of 11 instances...including the turnaround seasons of the Warriors, Raptors, and Celtics who now hold three of the four best records in the league!

Of course, this article may seem moot in a couple of months as the NBA's repeated failures to address the tanking issue has led us to a post All Star Break world where once again teams may be "trying to lose" (in this season, perhaps NINE!) and the Mavs gritty, hard playing style even in losses (as remarked on recently by none other than Hakeem Olajuwon) may give way under pressure in the chase for the coveted high spots in the draft...

We want your feedback! Tell us your thoughts

Copyright ?2018 by www.nbatop.com, All Rights Reserved