There you have it Laker Nation, the monkey is finally off our backs. After three cruddy performances, we have our first victory of the season. The team that showed up to play Sunday evening at Staples Center was nothing short of impressive. Granted, we did play a mediocre Detroit Piston team, but a win is a win. This was the Laker team that was suppose to roll through the preseason, the team that was going to dismantle a Dirk-less Dallas Mavericks team opening night, the team that was suppose to strike fear in the heart of the league.
The way this Lakers team played in the 108-79 rout of the Pistons, I am not sure the Monstars from Space Jam would stand a chance… okay, let me calm down and not get too ahead of myself.
If you are looking for what went wrong the first three games, it is pretty much spelled out in the box scores. The Lakers allowed the Mavs, Trailblazers, and Clippers to all shoot better than 45% from the field and the combined turnover ratio for these games was not in our favor, 58 to 35. Although turnovers were not as big as a factor in the Dallas game, missing 19 free throws proved enough to cost us the W.
Being that it is the start of the season, teams should have a little rust and not scoring at will. That is unless you slack your first three games in all aspects of your defense as the Lakers did. We looked slow, boggled on both ends of the floor, and simply flat as a unit. This should not be the case when you have the highest payroll in the NBA.
Nevertheless, every game is a new chance to prove what you can do and the Lakers left everything on the court Sunday night. The movement of the ball/ spacing on the court gave hope that this Princeton offense is clicking and could actually work for us out there. The energy output was something we have yet to see this season with our bigs running the floor and our team racking up a season high in fast break points. Mind you, this was without our best ball handler, Steve Nash.
Another positive note, which comes as no surprise so far this season, is the Lakers production in the paint. Over our first four games, the Lakers are averaging 50.5 ppg down low and have out rebounded every opponent. Our Achilles heel, the big question mark this year, is the production of our bench. The second unit (minus Jordan Hill) looked sub par and caused Mike Brown to bring the starters back in the fourth quarter with a 20+ lead. Clearly, Mike Brown does not have full faith in this second unit and wasn’t going to risk a 0-4 start.
No worries, Laker Nation, we can exhale and take a deep breath for now. We have shown just a small glimpse of what this team can (and should) be… and the scary thing is, they are only going to get better.
The Lakers look to pick up where they left off on the road Wednesday evening against the 1-3 Utah Jazz.
… I’m thinking 79-3!?