The Los Angeles Lakers may have had their 10-game winning streak snapped by the Dallas Mavericks last week, but their most impressive winning streak is still going and it dates back to Nov. 1 — the first time they played the Mavericks.
Following their blowout win against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Friday, the Lakers have now won 11 consecutive games on the road. The last time the Lakers won 11 consecutive road games was during the 1972-73 season. Their lone loss on the road this year came against the LA Clippers on opening night.
After the game on Friday, Anthony Davis told reporters that the Lakers have made a conscious effort to be a good road team this season, particularly on the defensive end (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“We feel like we can win anywhere. We feel like we’re a good road team. Obviously on the road you have to come together even more. (These were) three tough environments to win in, and we were able to come in and take all three. But we have our mind set on something special. And we know in order to reach that goal, we have to stay in the moment and go game-by-game. We take every game personal. We want to go out there and be the best team we can be.
“We want to win in hustle points. We want to win in rebounding. All the little things. If we continue to do that we’ll be fine. We’ve given ourselves a challenge of, we call it ‘the Avery challenge.’
“Since Avery (Bradley) went out our defense has taken a hit a little bit. The last three games... We’ve been able to be the No. 1 team in defensive rating. And we want to get that every time. We lay our hats on defense knowing that it’s going to fuel our offense.”
It certainly doesn’t hurt that eight of the 11 games they’ve played during this stretch came against teams below .500, but Davis told Bill Oram of The Athletic that he doesn’t think that matters, because the Lakers are going to get every team’s best punch no matter what:
“When you’re the No. 1 team in the league, people are going to find a way to come out and shoot a higher field-goal percentage than what they normally shoot, find ways to make plays, to get stops, play harder and we got to embrace that,” Davis said.
With the exception of the loss to Dallas, the Lakers have so far taken that pressure in stride.
“It’s got to be fun for us,” Davis said. “Coming in, having a challenge every single night. So it’s fun for us and it’s our jobs to lock in every night and make sure that we come out with a win.
Luckily, it seems the habits they’ve practiced against lesser teams are starting to pay off. Two of their most recent road wins came against the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, the latter of whom are ranked third in the Western Conference.
A lot of things have gone in the Lakers’ favor to start the season, but they’ve also done a lot of things the right to way to get themselves where they are. As long as they keep doing the little things that Davis talked about, they should be able to keep winning anywhere.