Nobody is ready to declare the current Lakers are headed for a similar summer after their streak hit double digits with an overwhelming effort against the Washington Wizards, The Associated Press reported.
Still, it’s obvious something special is brewing again in LA.
“That’s the best team in basketball,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “Their record is 17-2 for a reason.”
Anthony Davis had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and LeBron James had 23 points and 11 assists before both superstars took the fourth quarter off in the Lakers’ 17th win in 18 games, 125-103 over Washington on Friday night.
Quinn Cook scored 17 points and JaVale McGee had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the steamrolling Lakers, who went 14-1 in November to soar to the top of the overall NBA standings. Los Angeles hadn’t won this many games in a month since March 2000 — in another season that ended with a banner.
Los Angeles’ 17-2 start matches the best in franchise history, but the Lakers realize true history isn’t made in November or December, which looks much tougher on paper.
“We have championship aspirations, but that’s not what’s here right now,” James said.
“What’s here is our next opponent. We want to continue to get better. We have guys who have been there and know what it takes. This is a long process, and we can never shortcut it. But we can enjoy it along the way.”
The up-tempo Wizards have been one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams this season, and the Lakers’ dynamic offense was far too much for them.
Los Angeles outscored Washington 84-36 during a 24-minute span extending from midway through the first quarter until midway through the third, when James’ jumper put the Lakers up by 37. LA made runs of 17-0 and 18-0 during that one-sided stretch, showing off the remarkable chemistry already established in just the 19th game of the season for this newly minted super team.
“I think we’re tested every night,” Davis said.
“We’re going to get everybody’s best shot no matter what, because of who we are. But it’s up to us to make sure we lock in.”
Bradley Beal had 18 points and nine assists and rookie Rui Hachimura had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost three of four. Washington had several good stretches, but committed 19 turnovers and dropped to 1-2 on a four-game West Coast road trip.
“They made a fair amount of mistakes just as well, and we forced them into it,” Beal said.
“It’s just a matter of sustaining our runs when we have them, and try to keep them from going on such large ones. They are a talented group.”
Washington actually opened with a 15-4 lead before the Lakers began to dominate. Los Angeles jumped to a 21-point lead at halftime with 19 points from Davis, and the Lakers poured it on with an 18-0 run early in the third quarter, eventually taking a 90-51 lead.
Isaiah Thomas scored 10 points to lead the four former Lakers on Washington’s roster.