The Los Angeles Lakers extended their win streak to seven games — and NBA-best record to 7-1 — with a 95-80 win over the Miami Heat on Friday at Staples Center behind yet another dominant performance from their superstar duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
In 35 minutes Davis tallied a 26 points on an efficient 11-17 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. However, it was James that will likely get the game ball after making history again his former team.
With 25 points on Friday, James became just the third player in NBA history to have at least 1,000 games with 20 more points. The other players? Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two players that also donned the purple and gold during their illustrious careers, although the former obviously didn’t have as much success in Los Angeles as the latter.
Outside of their superstar duo, the Lakers got the best minutes they’ve gotten from JaVale McGee all season, as he scored 9 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He picked up the slack from Dwight Howard, who finished the game without a block for the first time this season.
Of course, Los Angeles also got meaningful minutes from Alex Caruso off the bench once again. Caruso didn’t stuff the box score, but he was efficient when he was on the floor and applied pressure on the opposing team’s offense, as always.
He also did this.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great night for everyone. Kyle Kuzma has looked rusty since he made his return to the court last week, but he looked especially against the Heat. In 24:32, Kuzma scored 7 points on 3-9 shooting from the field, including 1-7 shooting from behind the arc. He also turned the ball over a game-high four times.
It’s far too early to say Kuzma’s fit with the new-look Lakers is awkward, but if he can’t make 3-pointers at a high clip, it’s going to be hard for him to make an impact offensively while James and Davis are on the floor. The good news is that his defense has yet to fall back to earth, and if that’s sustainable his minutes shouldn’t take too much of a hit. Still, for his sake and the team’s, let’s hope he starts hitting shots.
The Lakers will try and tie their longest win streak since the 2010-11 season on Sunday, when the reigning champion Toronto Raptors pay them a visit. The Raptors are 6-2 on the season — good enough for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. They’ll be a good test for the Lakers, who have so far shown they’re ready to take on just about anyone.