A couple of constants have emerged a month into the NBA season.
LeBron James' triple-doubles.
The Phoenix Suns' triples.
James, we could see coming.
The Suns, not so much.
With new accomplice Anthony Davis riding with the King, James has four triple-doubles this season, all in the past five games, and it could have been more. He is two assists short of a fifth triple-double and three rebounds short of sixth.
The Suns, meanwhile, will bring record long-range shooting into their home game against the Lakers on Tuesday, a game that matches Western Conference teams that are off to their best starts in almost a decade.
The Lakers have won seven of their first nine, their best start since 2010-11, although their seven-game winning streak was broken in a 113-104 loss to Toronto on Sunday.
"We're a resilient team," James said. "We're not a complacent team. We hate to lose (but) we just move on to the next one and find ways we can improve. We're a really good team, but we want to get even better."
James had 13 points, a season-high 13 rebounds and 15 assists against the Raptors, becoming the first Laker to have four triple-doubles in the first 10 games of a season. Not even Magic Johnson did that.
Coach Monty Williams' Suns have made at least 11 3-pointers in a franchise-record seven consecutive games -- and in eight of nine games overall. They had a season-high 19 in a 138-112 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, their largest point total of the season. At 6-3, the Suns are off to their best start since the 2009-10 team won eight of its first nine.
"You have to give coach a lot of credit for that," point guard Ricky Rubio said of the freeing aspect of being able to shoot when open, even from long range. "There are a lot of coaches in the league who want to control everything. He trusts us, of course, teaching us something new every day."
Meanwhile, the health of Davis' right shoulder appears to be an on-going issue.
"We'll see," coach Frank Vogel said Monday about Davis' shoulder soreness turning into a season-long problem. "We'll take it day by day."
Davis, who is averaging 26.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in his first season with the Lakers, aggravated a shoulder injury when blocking a Pascal Siakam shot in the third quarter Sunday.
Davis grabbed his shoulder and winced but remained in the game with an OK from the Lakers' medical staff. He was treated with a heating pad while on the bench.
The Lakers listed him as probable for Tuesday, but Vogel said "it's possible" he could rest Davis at times, even if he's is cleared.
"There's really never a play I don't feel it," said Davis, who sustained the injury on a missed slam dunk two weeks ago. "But I'm going to go out there and play. I try not to let it affect my game. I just play through it and then worry about taking care of it after the game."
The Lakers will play their first set of back-to-back games this week, returning home to face Golden State on Wednesday.
The Suns had some season-best numbers against Brooklyn, posting a season-high 37 assists on 52 baskets and a season-low seven turnovers. Rubio, signed as a free agent in the offseason, had season highs with 22 points and 12 assists. He had no turnovers in 29 minutes.
"We were making shots of course, that helps, but we kept moving the ball even sometimes when we weren't making the shots," Rubio said. "We played super unselfish, and that is super fun to play."
--Field Level Media