It's election night in America, and Luke Walton and his mix of young and veteran talent continue their mission to make the Los Angeles Lakers great again.
The last time the Los Angeles Lakers (4-3) won four games in a row, Dwight Howard was still donning purple and gold headbands. That was way back during the 2012-13 season, so it's been a while. With a win over the Dallas Mavericks (1-5) on Tuesday night at Staples Center, however, the Lakers can extend the winning streak to four games and also extend their home record to 4-0 for the 2016-17 season.
Thanks to three years of breaking all the wrong records, LA should set new positive marks whenever the Lakers play winning basketball for any notable length of time. When was the last time the Lakers started a season 3-0 at home? Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Luke Walton and the 2010-11 Lakers won their first six home games before losing to Steve Nash's Phoenix Suns, so the current squad squad is already making a case for being the best purple and gold team of the past half decade.
After Tuesday's game at Staples Center, LA takes off on a quick three games in four nights road trip. Upon returning home, five of the next six games for the Lakers are against the Golden State Warriors (twice), Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.
So far, the Lakers have played better than expected, and that will need to continue for LA to hold onto a winning record past the first month of the season.
In particular, the Lakers have been boosted by their bench play. LA has the best scoring bench in the NBA, averaging 50.6 points per game. Walton's vision to place Jordan Clarkson on the second unit that build continuity with rookie Brandon Ingram, super athlete Tarik Black, high-flyer Larry Nance Jr., and scoring specialist Lou Williams has the Lakers taking and extending leads with their starters resting on the bench.
Defensively and offensive, the continuity of the second unit during preseason is paying dividends in the early part of the season. However, a concussion to Nance in Sunday's game has the forward sidelined on Tuesday night. Forward Thomas Robinson should earn minutes on the court against Dallas, but Robinson doesn't stretch the floor like Nance. Starter Luol Deng will likely also play extra minutes with the second unit on Tuesday night, as he did on Sunday night following Nance's concussion.
Entering Tuesday night, the Mavericks have won 10 games in a row against the Lakers and five in a row at Staples Center. With Dirk Nowitzki sidelined due to a sore Achilles, that streak is in jeopardy. Also, point guard Deron Williams is listed as doubtful for the hobbled Mavs.
Dallas' main threat is forward Harrison Barnes, who is coming off a 34-point game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Barnes played 48 minutes on Sunday night, as Dallas won its first game of the season in an overtime thriller. Barnes has help in J.J. Barea and Wesley Mathews, but Nowitzki's absence makes it tough to see Dallas winning on election night.
Meanwhile, LA continues to impress and pick up passengers on the comeback trail. On election night, Staples Center should be rocking. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.