The Boston Celtics (10-1) and LA Lakers (10-2) both won their games on Friday night, becoming the first teams to win 10 games this season. The Celtics lost their first game of the season, but have now rattled off 10 consecutive victories.
The Lakers reached 10 wins when they held off the visiting Sacramento Kings, 99-97 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, due to a huge block by Anthony Davis as time expired.
The Celtics are in the middle of a six-game West Coast road trip. They defeated the Golden State Warriors 105-100 in San Francisco to kick off their run.
Old school NBA fans would love to see a classic Celtics and Lakers NBA Finals, but it’s still way too early to predict the NBA Finals after just a dozen games. For the moment, the Celtics are the best team in the Eastern Conference and the Lakers are the best team in the Western Conference.
NBA Top-5 Teams (Thru 11-16-19)
Boston Celtics 10-1
LA Lakers 10-2
Houston Rockets 9-3
Miami Heat 8-3
Milwaukee Bucks 8-3
Denver Nuggets 8-3
The Houston Rockets defeated the Indiana Pacers to improve to 9-3. James Harden unleashed 44 points in the victory, and the Rockets inched closer to 10 wins. As expected, the Denver Nuggets (8-3) are among the best five teams in the NBA, and they’re currently the third-best team out West.
The Miami Heat (8-3) are probably the biggest surprise. The Heat don’t have much competition in the Southeast Division, but Jimmy Butler’s new team jumped out to a hot start as the second-best squad in the East.
According to William Hill, the LA Lakers are 7/2 odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship, and the Boston Celtics are 20/1 odds to win the title.
Celtics 10 in Row
After the Celtics dropped the season-opener to the Philadelphia 76ers by 14 points, they’ve run off 10 straight wins. Five wins were victories by double digits or more, whereas four games were somewhat close, and decided by six points or less.
The Celtics held off a late surge to defeat the Warriors 105-100 to secure their 10th victory. Draymond Green only scored 11 points, but added 11 rebounds. Alec Burks came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 20 points. The last place Warriors (2-11) lost another game without the Splash Brothers in the lineup.
“We played our best defensive game of the year. That’s what really matters,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 24 points. Jaylen Brown stepped up after Gordon Hayward went down with a fractured hand. Brown scored 22 points, and went three-for-three from long range.
Kemba Walker (24.5 ppg this season) added 20 points, despite a rough night shooting. He was just three-for-12 from downtown, but he saved some of his best shots for late in the game when they counted the most.
“I’m not going to shoot the ball great every night,” said Walker. “It’s not the first time. I just stay confident, my teammates stay confident in me, my coaching staff. I just kept trusting in my hard work. Down the stretch it just came through.”
The Celtics’ mental toughness will be tested with five games in eight-days out West. The stretch includes upcoming back-to-back games with Sacramento and Phoenix. On Wednesday, the Celtics face Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the LA Clippers. Next Friday, the Celtics conclude their road trip against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
With the victory over the Warriors, the Celtics improved to 5-1 on the road.
The Lake Show Returns
The LeBron James and Anthony Davis Show is in full swing right now. After 12 games, the Lakers (10-2) secured 10 wins after a 99-97 victory over their former head coach, Luke Walton.
They Kings almost pulled off a sensational upset without one of their top scorers. The Kings played without their starting point guard, De’Aaron Fox (sprained ankle). Backup point guard, Cory Joseph scored just 2 points on one-for-nine shooting. The rest of the Kings shot exceptionally well, including a 43.2 percent clip from 3-point range.
The Kings’ sixth man, Bogdan Bogdanovic, got hot in the fourth quarter, but the comeback fell short. Bogdanovic finished with 18 points after a slow start off the bench. Buddy Hield added a team-high 21 points.
LBJ led all scorers with 29 points and 11 rebounds. He picked up the slack for Davis, who had a rare off night in the shooting department with 17 points. Davis’ defense was stellar though, including a timely block at the end of the game to secure the 2-point victory and avoid an overtime session.
“When the shot’s not falling, I try to do the other things to help the team win,” said Davis.
The home-team Lakers had the benefit of favorable calls, including a no-call against Harrison Barnes at the buzzer. The Kings attempted only nine free throws, compared to 22 for the Lakers.
We featured the Lakers/Kings game in our NBA Weekend preview. Take a look at what else is on the schedule this weekend.