How Often Does the First Team to Score 100 Win in the NBA?

A Los Angeles Times analysis of 27,000 games attempted to find out

Lou Williams of the Clippers drives on Kevin Durant of the Warriors. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Lou Williams of the Clippers drives on Kevin Durant of the Warriors. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
By Evan Bleier / April 17, 2019 9:17 am

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With 3:36 left in the third quarter, Golden State big man Kevon Looney made the second of two free throws to put the Warriors ahead of the Clippers by 20 points in the second game of their first-round playoff matchup. Looney’s free throw also pushed the Warriors to the century mark, making them the first of the two teams to hit 100 points.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, they went on to lose the game 135-131 as the Clippers were able to pull off the largest postseason comeback in NBA history.

That was an exception to the Lawler Law (named after Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler) which holds that the first team to score 100 points will usually win. And, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of 27,000 games played over the last 23 years, Lawler’s Law does usually hold as the first team to hit 100 wins about 94 percent of the time.

However, with more and more teams jacking three-pointers at will and scoring increasing across the NBA as a whole, the law does not hold as strongly as it once did. This season, with teams averaging 111 points per game, Lawler’s Law only held true 88 percent of the time.

Following more analysis, the Times determined the number 114 might work better than 100 in today’s NBA when projecting a winner.

But even that number doesn’t work all the time — the Warriors were also the first to hit that mark last night in the team’s losing effort.

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