How great was it to see those gold uniforms yet again! Not so great if you tuned in for the first quarter only. As the Lakers were outscored by 21 in the first quarter, one could only be thankful it was only the pre-season. I’m going to pretend the first quarter never happened and go right to the second quarter. Who was going to win the battle—Lakers bench or the Warriors bench? As it turned out, the Lakers bench came through and overcame 27 points and 9 rebounds from Kelenna Azubuike behind great play from their shooters Vlad and Sasha. So let’s get to some analysis of the game:
Lakers top 3 players:
1) Vladimir Radmanovic—Vlad got the start and showed Lakers fans why he wasn’t waived last year. This looked more like the Vlad in Seattle who would drop 8 threes a game against the Lakers a couple years back. Vlad hit 5 threes, including some important ones in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 6 rebounds on his way to leading the Lakers with 20 points.
2) Javaris Crittenton—Javaris came in off the bench and gave the Lakers a solid 15 minutes of play. His 18 points and clutch play down the stretch are what the Lakers needed with Kobe on the bench for the fourth quarter. His crossover in the paint on Croshere wasn’t too bad either. Great first game Javaris!
3) As much as I want to give number 3 to Sasha for his great shooting and drives to the basket, Andrew Bynum looked more like the Bynum we saw in the early months of last season. Bynum scored 9 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in only 23 minutes, including a game-tying alley-oop from Javaris late in the fourth. If Bynum can keep it up, Kwame and Mihm will be the ones fighting for the backup role.
Lakers Smush of the day (Note: Smush of the day is to denote the Laker that looked poorest):
While Farmar, Evans, Cook, and Mihm all struggled, I have to give my Smush of the day to Kobe. Kobe shot 4-11 and had 6 turnovers for the Lakers. Kobe just looked a little careless out there, but it’s nothing I would worry about. When it counts, Kobe will use 2 hands to make those passes and turn his 17 point third quarter into an entire game. You know you’re good when you score 17 points in 21 minutes and still make it to my Smush of the game!
Key play: Javaris oops the ball to Andrew Bynum late in the fourth quarter to give the Lakers their first tie since the opening minutes of the game.
What to look for next game: I wouldn’t look for too much change for the Lakers. It’s still early in the pre-season and every player will get a chance to shine. There is a chance Luke will play, but might not necessarily start.