Playing across the Pacific in China, a country of two billion people, the Lakers took on the Golden State Warriors for the second time this pre-season. Not surprisingly, it was an offensive show. What can you expect from two offensively-minded teams?
The Lakers appear to have found their consistency on the offensive end, putting up an exceptional shooting show for the fans in Beijing…for three quarters, that is. Despite leading by as much as 11-points going into the final quarter, the Laker line-up to finish the game couldn’t compete with the Warriors’ star players and they lost 100-95.
David Lee – It’s only fair to give accolades to the player with the most impressive stat line tonight, and with 31 points on 12-16 from the field, six rebounds, four assists and a steal, Lee takes the cake. He couldn’t miss, scoring 22 of his final point tally in the first half on a hot 9-11 shooting. Fellow Warrior Andrew Bogut led the game with 14 rebounds and Steph Curry finished what was turning out to be a bad shooting night with 24 points on 7-18, but Lee clearly stood out.
Gasol-Kaman – And so the awesome twosome live! Who knew?! With the team set to run Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the idea of two bigs on the floor with Steve Nash didn’t seem like a plausible cog in a system based on speed. But not even D’Antoni can deny the effectiveness of two physically and mentally able big men like Gasol and Kaman. The two have similar abilities (good range of shooting, smart playmaking), and have started for the third time in this pre-season. Clearly this starting combo is a first option (so far) for the Lakers’ coaching staff. Gasol finished with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists in his almost 27 minutes of play; and Kaman rattled off 14 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field, 10 rebounds, three assists and a block in 22 minutes.
Nick Young – He’s looked like a kid in a candy store ever since he posed with that Laker jersey at his introductory press conference. Since then, Young has proven that his excitement and enthusiasm is not all he can contribute to this team. Score, score, score – that’s what this former Trojan can do. And he can not only score, he can score from virtually anywhere. Tonight he finished with 18 points on a consistent 7-10 from the field, including 3-4 from behind the ark. He managed to hand out a trio of dimes and went 23 minutes without a single turnover.
4th Quarter – They closed the third quarter with an 11-point lead, but the interchanging line-ups of Jordan Hill, Darius Johnson-Odom, Xavier Henry, Elias Harris, Shawne Williams, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly just couldn’t close in the end. It took two and a half minutes before the Lakers scored their first points in the fourth, after Golden State had hit two three-pointers to cut the lead to five points. It seemed that for every Warrior make, there were two Laker misses. The Warriors outscored the Lakers 31-15 in that final quarter, which was enough for Golden State to take the game. To be fair, the Warriors played their regular rotation players against the last Laker players who emptied the bench, so it was no contest.
Despite losing the game in the end, the Lakers competed for 36 minutes against a solid Warriors team, and their chemistry off the court (based on players’ interaction on this long journey via social media), seems to be affecting their chemistry on it.