The NBA’s two winningest teams in November match up Friday night when the Sacramento Kings visit the Boston Celtics.
Nobody has won more often than the Celtics this month, who are 10-2 even after losing their first November game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston had a nine-game winning streak snapped Monday at Chicago but rebounded to thump the Dallas Mavericks 125-112 on Wednesday.
The Kings are coming off a 115-106 loss at Atlanta on Wednesday that ended a seven-game winning run. They’re now 8-3 in November, tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the second-most wins this month but having played one fewer game.
The matchup delivers Kings coach Mike Brown to the site of his championship-clinching win over the Celtics last June as Steve Kerr’s assistant with Golden State.
The return does not have pleasant memories for most Kings, however, as they were steamrolled by Jayson Tatum (36 points) and Jaylen Brown (30) in a 128-75 shellacking last January.
Tatum and Brown also ganged up on the Mavericks this week, with Tatum pouring in 37 points as part of a double-double with 13 rebounds, while Brown knocked down 13 of his 18 shots en route to 31 points.
The Kings can expect to see a different look from the Celtics than what they displayed during much of their November run after Derrick White’s return to the starting lineup Wednesday. Grant Williams went back to the bench.
White contributed 12 points to the win.
“With our depth and our ability to play different ways, you want to constantly mix it up a little bit,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “If you look at the season (in) five-, 10-game blocks, I thought that (most recent) five-game block we had Grant doing some different things.
“I thought (against Dallas) and a few games going forward, it’s different matchups. Credit to those guys for their ability to bounce back and forth.”
The only thing the Kings did differently at Atlanta on Wednesday was lose. On the second night of a back-to-back, they shot poorly from 3-point range (9 of 31) one game after scorching the Memphis Grizzlies for 15 made baskets from 3-point range in a 113-109 victory.
Reigning Western Conference Player of the Week De’Aaron Fox continued his nice run of late with 32 points for the Kings at Memphis, but was held to 18 at Atlanta. Malik Monk paced the Kings against the Hawks with 27 points.
Kings players give Mike Brown credit for the fast start by a team that’s missed the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons.
“We’ve all bought in,” said rookie Keegan Murray, one of six Kings boasting a double-digit scoring average. “We know we can compete with any team in the league.”
Sacramento has yet to get much of an opportunity to introduce its new form to most of the NBA’s elite. The Kings have played just six games so far against teams with winning records, with Tuesday’s win over the Grizzlies being just their second within that group.
The Kings have played three games already against the defending champion Warriors, winning one, but Golden State is off to a 9-10 start.