The Lakers went 6-1 to close out the regular season and in the Play-In Tournament. Further, L.A is currently up 2-1 in their first round post-season matchup with the Grizzlies.
On the other hand, the #2 Grizzlies limped into the post-season with a 3-4 record in their final seven games of the regular season, before dropping two out of three in opening round action.
The Lakers' aggregate 8-2 run since the end of March, coupled with the Grizzlies' struggles gives us confidence that the 7th seed in the West can take a commanding 3-1 lead with a home win and cover in game 4 Monday. History supports our thesis that these teams' recent trends probably contain information regarding the outcome of their next meeting.
This system described in the above graphic has delivered a statistically significant 21% long-term return on investment (at the 95% confidence level).
We expect that positive momentum in the post-season is indicative of an appreciation of and capacity for the increased intensity playoff basketball entails at the NBA level.
Conversely, negative momentum might imply that teams are not mentally and/or physically equipped to ratchet up their performance sufficiently to make a meaningful playoff run. The relative lack of familiarity that attends competition with teams from other divisions only exacerbates this unpreparedness, we suppose.