Last night's Lakers win was unusual for any number of reasons, but the biggest story is the unlikely performance by LA's bench. How well did they play last night? Here's a very quick—and slightly unique—look at the numbers of the five players on the court for the fourth quarter.
Below is a (very tall, sorry; click to expand) table of the top five-man units in the league this year sorted by offensive efficiency, via NBA.com. But since there have only been three games, this list is not very much use yet because most non-starter/closer units won't have played many minutes together—the top units here have outlandish efficiencies over one or two minutes. Except for the Lakers' bench in the fourth quarter last night.
Until the fourth quarter, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, and Xavier Henry had played three minutes together, and they'd play the entire 12 minutes of the fourth. They're second-from-bottom in the table below.
That's very good! 154.6 points per 100 possessions is astronomical (the very best offensive five-man units will average around 120 for a season). And they grabbed 75 percent of all offensive rebounds while they were on the court. They didn't blow the doors off with shooting, or carve up the Clips with passing (the 50 percent assisted field goals is actually a low mark), or even play superhuman defense (though they did well against the absurd offensive units the Clippers tossed out there). They just hit a lot of shots, many of them awkward, and grabbed every rebound in the building, and that was good enough to outscore the Clippers 41-24 in the fourth.
Watching Jordan Farmar and Jordan Hill run a pick-and-roll still looks less like a fluid motion than it does a bad buddy comedy, and Jodie Meeks might never have another opportunity to fastbreak Eurostep in his life. But for a day at least, this was the best five-man unit in basketball.