After defeating the Washington Wizards, 125-103, the Los Angeles Lakers won their 10th straight game to improve their record to 17-2; the best 19-game start in the history of the Lakers franchise.
The recipe to the Lakers success is simple: they have the best dynamic duo in the league that is bringing the energy every possession on offense and defense. The combination of LeBron James and Anthony Davis is too much for opponents to handle for 48 minutes.
To start the season, James is averaging 25.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 11 assists per game on 50-36-67 field goal-three point-free throw splits. Davis is averaging 26.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game on 48-34-86 splits while being a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
Even with those great averages, basketball is a team sport and the duo require a strong supporting cast around them. The Lakers management did an excellent job providing a reliable supporting cast to accompany James and Davis on a season with championship aspirations. The recent resurgence of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard has given way towards the Lakers being the second-best defense in the league. The Lakers allow 102.8 points per 100 possessions, trailing only the Denver Nuggets, who allow 102.4 points per 100 possessions.
While being the second-best defense, the Lakers also boast the league’s sixth-best offense, scoring 111.4 points per 100 possessions. The 8.6-point differential trails only the Milwaukee Bucks, who have a 9.2-point differential.
What also helps the Lakers is the shortcomings of last season. After James went down with a groin injury on Christmas, the young Lakers fell apart. By the time James returned, the roster was too injured to fully compete and build chemistry. Once the team was eliminated from the playoffs, James was able to do something unusual: rest. For the first team in nine years, James missed the NBA Finals.
Now, he’s returned this season to seek revenge on the league. Entering his 17th season, many writers and teams said James was too old to carry the workload he’s accustomed to. Now, those critics seem foolish, as James continues to defy the odds. Larry O’Brien, the Lakers are coming to hoist you in June.