Dwight Howard, left, has cost the Lakers games with his poor free-throw… (Robert Gauthier, Luis Sinco…)
The Lakers are the only team in the league (sitting outside of playoff position) that average more points scored each game than they give up.
Through 21 games, the Lakers average 101.8 points while giving up 98.7, a differential of 3.1. That's better than all but four teams in the Western Conference.
The Dallas Mavericks, currently in seventh place in the West, give up 100.8 points a game while scoring 99.2.
The Lakers are a strange group this season. They're the seventh-best shooting team from the field in the league at 45.7%. They're fifth best in three-point shooting at 38.8%.
Only the Indiana Pacers (46.3) average more rebounds a game than the Lakers (45.9).
It's on defense where the Lakers have struggled, dipping to 17th in the league on field goal defense (allowing 44.3% a night). They're also the worst free-throw shooting team in the league at 67.8%.
The naked eye sees that the Lakers are not playing well. The record certainly bears that out, but in some aspects, they're among the elite teams in the league.
A healthy Steve Nash and Pau Gasol might significantly jump-start the team, once both are finally back on the floor.
When are the Lakers losing games?
Lakers breaking down defensively in losses
Howard loses 50 percentage points with three-point miss
Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.