Lakers: 113 Warriors: 107
With only two games following tonight before the NBA pre-season ends for the Lakers, certain things should begin to materialize for this team prior to the ring ceremony vs. the Clippers. Tonight, the first major shape took form for the Lake Show, the starters looked to finally be in sync. While the pre-season is great for watching lesser seen role or deep bench players get some serious minutes to show off what they can do, it is also extremely valuable for the starters and short bench to become comfortable with each other again. In the previous few pre-season games the starting unit had a couple contributing starters each night, but seemingly were still not in tune with what each other was doing on the court. Perhaps it was the fact that the Lakers were facing the Warriors for the third time this pre-season, but regardless the starters played extremely well together, giving a total team effort for the first time thus far. Each starter chipped in to produce the early double digit lead and eventual 113-107 victory, led by Kobe Bryant’s 21 points, and Andrew Bynum’s 20 points & 9 rebounds.
Four out of five starters scored in double figures, with only Ron Artest falling short (6 points), however he led the team in assists with eight. Most notably in my mind was a solid 4-6 shooting night from Derek Fisher resulting in 10 points in 24 minutes. Fish had looked rusty until tonight, shooting only 5-16 in his previous three games this month. Despite the heated point guard battle going on behind him, there is little question that Fish is still one of the primary leaders for this Lakers squad on and off the court. It is crucial that his production is efficient and consistent if nothing else this year, the Lakers need more than a steady hand at point guard when facing the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker. Bynum on the other hand is further proving that his production will likely not be called into question anytime soon, as he has nearly been the Lakers leading scorer every game this pre-season. Tonight Andrew coupled another excellent offensive performance and some agile post moves with impressive defensive timing on the low block. Drew blocked two shots tonight right at the shooters apex, using his substantial length to interrupt the offense. Having a primary defending center is something the Lakers have desperately needed up until now, mostly relying on their secondary help to challenge shots in the more recent past. Bynum continues to impress on both ends of the floor, while making the additional commitment to “beat his man down the floor” allowing for some easy buckets never hurts.
After watching tonight’s game, here are a few pressing questions for Lakers Nation:
- How much longer until we see a fully comfortable Ron Artest? He has put up close to a triple double on a few occasions, however there is surely more to come from Ron Ron.
- Who is ultimately the first guard off the bench? Sasha, SB12, Jordan?
- How many more games will it take for Steven Jackson to absolutely wild out on Kobe mid game? My guess…first regular season game in Oakland, watch out!