With a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers set a new franchise record for their longest winning streak away from home to start a season. Their previous record was set during the 1985-86 season, when they started the season 6-0 on the road.
Even without their new record to boot, the Lakers’ most recent road trip was impressive. As Bill Oram of The Athletic noted on Wednesday, the Lakers trailed by just 11 seconds during their three-game road trip, which had stops in Houston and Oklahoma City. They didn’t just win three consecutive games on the road; they ran teams out of their home arenas (and stars off of their teams).
The Lakers will return home to Los Angeles, where they’ve gone 3-3 this season, on Friday, but they’re hoping to take what they learned on the road and apply it to their home games.
“We want to continue to grow, and I believe we got better on this road trip,” LeBron James said after the victory over the Thunder. “Our camaraderie and our togetherness continued to grow, both on and off the floor, and we want to continue to build off of that. There’s not much practice time, but we use the plane and the bus rides and the meetings that we have on the read, and things of that nature, to continue to build and hold each other accountable. And it’s fun when you play for one another. We have a selfless team.
“I think all of us are having a good time right now, but you have a good time when you’re winning. That’s the most important. When you win, you also learn from your wins. That’s fun, and we want to continue to do that.”
The difference between Staples Center and many of the arenas the Lakers have played at on the road is the fact that fans still aren’t allowed in Staples Center, not even in a limited capacity. It’s been a challenge for the the Lakers, especially on nights where their energy isn’t where they want it to be, but by leaning on each other in those moments, those nights have become far and few between.
“Our group just has a mindset, you know, to be great every time we touch the floor,” James said. “We want to have a sense of urgency, and we want to develop the habit of playing harder than our opponent and I think we saw that — definitely with the seven games that we started on the road, but in particular, on this trip, these last few games.”
The Lakers will look to extend their overall winning streak to five games against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.