The Lakers raised another banner, got their rings in a star studded ring ceremony as Lakers legends honored the reigning Champions. The team officially put the 2008-2009 season behind them, then it was just like that Jay Z track “On To The Next One” and began their title defense by dispatching the Clippers.
Pau Gasol sat out with a hamstring injury that will keep him out of tonight’s contest as well. Ron Artest fit in well in his Lakers debut as expected. Kobe led the Lakers with a game high 33 points. Andrew Bynum celebrated his 22nd birthday with a 26 point 13 rebound effort putting aside any doubts about his health.
Despite Bynum’s game and a few nice Kobe Bryant reverse lay ups there wasn’t a lot for the sold out crowd to cheer about as the Clippers kept the game close.
The Lakers bench contributed a full nine points collectively and remains a concern.
The Lakers defense has to improve and get back to a Championship level; it’s early in the season and it’s just not there yet.
Los Angeles faces the Dallas Mavericks tonight, a team that is coming off of a terrible loss at home to the Wizards. The team is still led by Jason Kidd, who is a year older and a step slower but still effective. Dirk Nowitzki was provided front court help with the additions of Shawn Marion & Drew Gooden.
The above mentioned additions will really help Nowitzki by defending and crashing the boards. Whenever he is asked to rebound he appears to wear down.
Last year’s solid five–man nucleus of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Bass is no longer intact for various reasons. The Mavericks can’t match the versatility of the Lakers roster even with the absence of Pau Gasol and their ability to cause match up problems.
Dallas needs someone to take the pressure off of Nowitzki. The Mavericks need Jason Terry’s points off of the bench to be effective. He didn’t give them much in the first game nor did the new additions.
One would think that this game has the makings of a shootout. However the Lakers will start their offense from the inside out by getting the ball to Andrew Bynum early and often and allowing him to go to work.
You should also see Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom spend some time in the post as well. The Lakers have to shoot better and their bench has to step up and contribute. Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Shannon Brown have to knock down open shots and the second unit has to come in and change the pace of the game.
Defensively the Lakers have to control the tempo of the game and play at their pace, own the boards, stop the dribble penetration, limit Dallas to one shot per possession and challenge every shot. I want to see the Lakers play defense without fouling and make it a point to rotate out to three point shooters.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ESPN & FSW (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Dallas: ESPN & TXA 21 (Mark Followill & Brad Davis)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Dallas: ESPN 103.3 KTXA FWB 980 (Bob Ortegal & Chuck Cooperstein)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- SF Josh Howard (Ankle)