The Los Angeles Lakers have been dominant to start the season, and they are having a whole lot of fun in the process.
LeBron James dropped 20 points in addition to dishing 12 assists, Anthony Davis led all scorers with 26 and Rajon Rondo added a double-double off the bench. All this leaded to a 25-point win for the Lakers as they improved to an impressive 19-3 on the season.
Here are some takeaways from the blowout victory.
Schedule getting more difficult?
The Lakers have undoubtedly had one of the easiest schedules in the NBA so far this season. The star studded duo of James and Davis have led the Lakers to the top of the Western Conference on a steady diet of wins against struggling teams.
After a loss to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, questions were raised as to whether the Lakers record may have fooled the basketball world in the early going, though the last two contests gives a fair indication that this team is simply really good.
AD putting the defender on that spin cycle 🤯- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 5, 2019
(📺: @SpectrumSN ) pic.twitter.com/CxTODbSkuO
Frank Vogel's squad hit the road to meet the Nuggets first, where they navigated their way to a 105-96 win in the high altitude of Denver.
Now, on a back-to-back in Utah, they dominated from start to finish against a Jazz team that holds high hopes of a long playoff run.
James is an MVP candidate, Davis is the early leader in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation and the the purple and gold once again look like a title contender.
The next six games all appear winnable for the Lakers, before they travel to Milwaukee to meet Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 19-3 Bucks.
The Lakers reclamation projects
Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard have been two of the more scrutanised players in the NBA over the past five or so years.
They have been viewed as previously top tier talents that are now well beyond their prime and unable to fit into a preferred role on a contending team.
Despite concerns in the preseason, the veteran duo continue to thrive off the bench in 2019-20. Rondo contributed 14 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds against the Jazz, while Howard added seven points and nine rebounds, including a corner triple in the fourth quarter that had the Lakers bench buzzing.
Come for the @RajonRondo assist, stay for the @DwightHoward DUNK 🔥 pic.twitter.com/6VpJD7WWSp- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 5, 2019
Rondo moved into 17th on the NBA's all-time assists list on this night, leaping Tony Parker on 7,036 dimes.
It's still early, but so far, the Lakers charismatic dup are fitting in just fine.
The Jazz continue slump
What are we to make of Utah right now?
After adding Mike Conley Jr and Bojan Bogdanovic in the offseason, the Jazz clearly stated their intentions that it was Championship or bust. They were no longer messing around.
Despite the productive free agency period, the Jazz are now 12-10 on the season and have lost five of their last six.
They rank 23rd in offensive efficiency league-wide, and seem unable to figure out how to integrate all the new pieces into a functioning offence. Conley missed the game against the Lakers, though he has struggled to shoot just 36.9 percent from the field to start the campaign, while Joe Ingles is just 36.4 percent in his new role with the second unit.
📹| @spidadmitchell with a game-high 29 points ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/36ohE0r5iI- Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 5, 2019
Donovan Mitchell is averaging 24.5 points per game, but is needing a touch over 20 shots to do so.
Quin Snyder's squad are ranked third last in the league for assists per game at just 21, and their long feared defence has even slipped to 10th in efficiency.
It's not uncommon for the Jazz to start the season slow, though it's nearly time to hit the panic button in Salt Lake City.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.