The Los Angeles Lakers are the hottest team in the Western Conference, and that might very well continue for the next few weeks. After winning nine of their first 11 games to start the 2019-2020 NBA season, L.A. faces a soft upcoming schedule.
With Anthony Davis nursing a couple of nagging injuries on the bench, the Lakers rolled past the Golden State Warriors 120-94 to improve their record to 9-2. Golden State has the worst record in the NBA, and that game marked the first of nine consecutive contests in which Los Angeles will face an opponent with a losing record.
The Sacramento Kings bring their 4-6 record to Staples Center Friday night. The Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder will also visit Los Angeles as part of the Lakers’ four-game homestand.
Sacramento was a fringe playoff contender last season, and that could be their fate again this year after a slow start. Trae Young is putting up monster numbers for the Hawks, but Atlanta is also two games below .500. The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to be one of the worst teams in the West for the duration of the season.
A trip to Oklahoma City starts the Lakers’ four-game road trip. Los Angeles will almost certainly be favored in games against the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans.
Memphis and New Orleans have bottom-four records in the West. San Antonio is the No.9 seed with five losses in its last six games.
The Lakers’ easy stretch concludes on Nov. 29 when they host the Washington Wizards. Washington is tied for an NBA-worst two victories.
Maybe the Lakers will suffer a handful of upsets, but the team has taken care of business against the league’s worst teams. Los Angeles’ only losses have come at the hands of the NBA favorite Los Angeles Clippers and the defending champion Toronto Raptors. Even with Kawhi Leonard leaving Toronto for Los Angeles, the Raptors are the East’s No.2 seed through 11 games.
LeBron James looks like he is playing with something to prove, leading the league in assists and defending at a high level. If that remains the case through the end of the month, the Lakers could enter December with at least 15 wins and the best record in basketball.