After an impressive showing against the Golden State Warriors in the pre-season opener, the Lakers take on….the Golden State Warriors? Okay, so back to back games against the same team can be a bit anti-climatic (especially when their best player goes down with an injury in the first two minutes, ie. Monta Ellis). Regardless, the second part of this battle with the bay is no doubt much more special in the eyes of many Lakers fans as it will be played at the ever nostalgic Great Western Forum in Inglewood. Personally, this game will bring back some amazing memories of when I first became a fan of the purple and gold. Although I was young at the time, this was the birth place of my fandom and surely brings out memories of magical moments in Lakers history for many. Playing in this building for the first time since 1999 may not turn this team into the Showtime Lakers of the 80’s over night, yet if Wednesday’s game was any indication, this team may be just as special. I must ask myself though, as you surely are, is it wrong to get so excited over one pre-season game? By simply looking at the final score, exciting plays, and general Lakers domination, yes, absolutely pre-mature. However, a few very important possible trends showed during the first game, which if developed during the season will lead this team to the prize we all covet, again. The road continues…
- Andrew Bynum was active and patient in the paint– As we stated in the first edition of RTR (Road to the Repeat), Bynum is clearly a key to the repeat that is still flying somewhat under the radar. Perhaps not for much longer. His 24 point outing on 8 for 13 shooting was just what Bynum needed to start this season out on the right foot. His patience in the paint was evident, a notable change from seasons past where we would see Drew rush his post moves. Bynum looked to be in some of the best shape we have seen him, which showed through his second jump ability, prevention of silly fouls, and overall power when attacking the rim. Surrounded by a team of excellent passers in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and surprisingly Ron Artest, Bynum can do serious damage against opponents by maintaining patience.
- Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar made an impact– In 19 minutes both young point guards contributed by keeping the triangle moving and running the floor well. Additionally, both were able to get their numbers in the form of 11 points each, with Farmar adding 6 assists. While Fisher has said that he is in great shape and expects to play a significant role once again this year, the question will likely linger all season as to who will ultimately begin to take his role. Phil compares this question to that of Kobe Byant’s unstoppableness, it may never be answered, “I don’t know if I’ll ever decide on that,” Jackson said. “I don’t know if there’s going to be a permanent decision. I think that works really well for us.” (LA Times). Does SB12 earn some extra points for doing THIS ? Yeah Mikki Moore, that just happened.
- Artest was rusty, but produced a line all Laker fans could live with every night– Ron Ron started off his first game in the purple and gold with some obvious nerves, clanking his first few shots. Yet, after hitting a corner 3 pointer, which surprised Artest due to the lack of defense on the play, the game began to flow for him. Artest finished the night with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals. Welcome to the True Warrior! I think Lakers Nation could get use to that type of balanced production. Ariza who…?
- Those who said Kobe Bryant was moving into the twilight of his career– That was a funny joke.