After their impressive 105-96 win against the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers are now 9-1 in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 118-97 to improve to 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Before the season, everyone knew the Lakers would be a solid team that would immediately compete for the title. No one predicted they would be clicking on all cylinders this soon into the season. In their first 21 games, the Lakers are 18-3 and three and a half games ahead for first place in the Western Conference.
As is the normal in his career, LeBron James is leading the charge, averaging 25.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game this season that includes his 25-6-9 stat line against the Nuggets on Tuesday. Of course, playing alongside Anthony Davis makes life easier for James. Davis is arguably the best player James has ever played with, especially given that Davis is in the peak of his career. Davis is averaging 26.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game that includes his 25-point, 10-rebound performance against the Nuggets on Tuesday. James and Davis have surprisingly great chemistry and will challenge every team in the postseason.
Another team in the Western Conference, the Mavericks, are on a roll, winning eight of their last 10 games to improve to 14-6 on the season. Leading the charge for the Mavericks is 20-year old MVP candidate Luka Doncic, who is averaging 30.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game this season. Against the Pelicans on Tuesday night, Doncic scored 33 points and a career high 18 rebounds in the dominating win.
No one is expecting the Mavericks to compete for the title this season, but the future is bright for a team that wasn’t projected to make the postseason immediately. The emergence of Doncic is raising some eyebrows across the league, as he’s legitimately a top-three MVP candidate on the season. The Mavericks are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but some teams below them have been playing above average and could gain momentum as the season progresses.