Toronto just beat Brooklyn 150-122, and an ESPN headline for another game reads “Mitchell’s 51 upstage Murray’s 50 in classic duel.” Toronto is also a team with a sometimes iffy or stagnant offensive, especially in the half court set. So why are so many points being scored? I see a few hypotheses:
1. It is harder to commit fouls, since referees can hear every slap, push, and grunt. That in turn favors the scorers.
2. The players are still somewhat out of shape from the long layoff, and perhaps that favors offense over defense. (A’ la Leontief, might the defense quality be determined by the “most out of shape” player?)
3. The absence of a live crowd demotivates the defense more than the offense? Similarly, perhaps the absence of home court effects demotivates the defense more?
4. Playing every other night is exhausting for all but the top players. Defense is more or less evenly distributed (you can’t leave anyone totally open, unless it is Charles Jones), but offense is concentrated in a smaller number of top scorers. Differential stamina effects thus favor the offense.
5. Good offense beats good defense anyway. Due to the absence of late night partying, boozing, “frolicking,” etc. we are seeing better, purer forms of both offense and defense, and that on net helps the offense.
6. Lack of travel and consistency of courts favor the offense more than the defense.