Some teams are offensively-challenged and struggle to put points on the board while playing Under the total more often than not.
Others have stingy defenses that make life hard on their opponents.
Then, there are the teams that use a combination of the two to see how low they can go.
With Week 15 here and a bunch of NBA action going down over the remainder of the week, I’ve identified the teams that are playing under the total more than anyone else.
Los Angeles Lakers (16-31 O/U)
No Bron, No AD – No Over
The Lakers (30-17) average 110.7 points per game (21st) but limit the opposition to a paltry 106.0 points per game defensively, good for second in fewest points allowed. The prohibitive favorites to win the 2021 NBA Championship have finished Under the total in three straight games, six of seven and eight of 10 overall. With LeBron and AD out, the Lakers will struggle to score even more. On another note, the in-town rival LA Clippers could be adding veteran big man DeMarcus Cousins on a new deal.
NY Knicks (18-29 O/U)
Thibs Brings Defensive Excellence
New York (24-23) is awful when it comes to scoring the rock. The Knicks rank a discouraging 28th in scoring (104.9 PPG) and 22nd in field goal shooting percentage (45.1%). However, when it comes to defense, New York has been the stingiest team in the league all season under no-nonsense head coach Tom Thibodeau. The Knicks lead the league in fewest points allowed and rank first in field goal shooting defense (44.3%) and first in three-point defense (33.6%). The Under is 3-0 in New York’s last three games and 6-1 over its last seven including Monday’s 98-88 home loss against desperate Miami.
Houston (18-27-1 O/U)
Rockets Incompetent At Both Ends
The Rockets (13-33) average 107.3 points per game (24th) on 43.6% shooting from the field (29th) and 33.0% from beyond the arc (30th). Houston gives up 113.4 points per game defensively (22nd). The Rockets have managed to top the O/U total in their last two games after going 1-5 O/U over its previous six games. Still, I’m glad that Rockets GM Rafael Stone has no regrets about trading James Harden.
“I would for sure, 100 percent, do that deal again,” Stone said in a virtual media availability Monday. “Again, you guys don’t have the advantages of knowing everything I know, but literally no part of me regrets doing that deal. I have not second-guessed it for a moment.
Golden State (19-28 O/U)
Not The Same Old Dubs
The Warriors (23-24) average 112.7 points per game (13th), but allow 113.6 points per game defensively (23rd). The Under is 6-2 in Golden State’s last eight games. Today’s Dubs are not the same powerhouse of a team that routinely put 125 points on the board. Now, as currently constructed, the Warriors often struggle to score, especially when Steph Curry doesn’t put 30 on the board. Plus, I believe Golden State faces O/U totals that are a bit too high based on their past success.
Cleveland (19-27-1 O/U)
Cavs Need Roster Reset
The Cavs average 102.9 points per game to rank an awful 30th in scoring. Cleveland does average 111.1 points per game to rank 14th in scoring, but you never know when this team is going to get held to less than 90 points. Case in point, the Cavaliers have been held to 98 points or less in three consecutive games while failing to reach the century mark five times over its last 10 games. I just wrote it this week. Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro are the only three players on Cleveland’s roster I would even remotely deem as untouchable.