During the bloggers forum last weekend at ESPN Zone LALive, Andrew Kamenetzky made what I thought was a very astute point: The Lakers are going to win 20 games or so this season just because they are that much more talented than the other team. The Lakers won’t play bad, they won’t play great, and they’ll get a win because they are just flat out better.
I think game one was the first of those 20. There were a lot of rough edges out there to polish (as JD Hastings put it), but the bottom line is the Lakers got a comfortable win on a night without their second best player (and the one that often makes the offense look pretty). For a first game, you take that. Especially on Ring Night, when a lot of teams look past the game. The Lakers got a professional win.
• As I’ve said, Ron Artest still seems to be thinking and not just reacting yet, he’s still figuring out how to use his aggressive play in the system. Darius expounds on that.
Ron needs to shoot a bit more when he drives the lane. In the 2nd half he penetrated to the middle a few of times and once committed a turnover by forcing a pass to the short corner when that guy was covered and the other time he tried a hand off to Bynum that didn’t do anyone any good at all as ‘Drew found himself with the ball and no where to go with it. Mind you, I’m not asking Ron to be more selfish, but I am asking him to read the play a bit better when he’s creating off the dribble. It’s like he’s trying too hard to conform to the offense. Even Ron mentioned it in his halftime interview “Phil wants me to play my normal aggressive game”. Phil’s right. Take the liberties that are presented to you, Ron. This offense is equal opportunity. When the opportunity presents itself to make a play for yourself, please take it. Believe me, I like moving the ball. I like seeing him as a decisive passer. But there are times when he’s 5 feet from the hoop and looking to pass. Our offense will be much better off if he’s shooting on some of those plays.
• Working with Kareem or no, Bynum is showing a healthy variety of moves in the post and a lot of quickness. If you listened to the ESPN NBA Podcast yesterday, you heard Celtics guy Ryen Russillo say the NBA should be very afraid if Bynum is moving like that. I think people are starting to see what we saw this preseason and what we have hoped for. Darius added one concern (Ryen had it as well):
I still wonder if Bynum can be as productive as he showed last night when Pau returns. I still think their numbers will come at the expense of each other as they have essentially become the same type of offensive player. Yes, Pau has more range on his jumpshot (out to 18 ft whereas ‘Drew is 15 ft and in) and Bynum is not as deft a passer as the big Spaniard. And Pau is more polished (though ‘Drew is growing by leaps and bounds in this area – how about those hard dribbles to the middle from the right block with the smooth left handed finishes?). But both primarily score on the block in post isolations or in attack situations from the elbow. Plus our high low sets work best when it’s Artest or Kobe flashing to the mid-post and looking for the lob to one of our bigs when the defense reacts to the flash – so I don’t expect to see a ton of high low work between Pau and Drew (though there will be some). My point is, while I’d love for both our bigs to be 20 point guys (they obviously both have the talent to do it), I think they’ll share the court too much and it will likely be Pau getting 18-20pts with Drew getting 13-15 points.
• I think we’ll see more high-low than Darius does, but when Pau comes back that is fewer shots for everyone else.
• Am I a bad person for gloating that Shaq was -25 last night.?
• I am very happy for Rambis with the opening-night win.
• Why NCIS Los Angeles? There is almost no Navy presence in Los Angeles. NCIS San Diego makes a lot of sense. LA… not so much.
• While the +/- numbers from the Clipper game were not great for the bench guys, remember that the run that put the game away to start the fourth quarter came with a mix of bench and starters — DJ was out for some of it, replaced by Bynum, they had the Farmar/Brown backcourt for a little bit of it. There were just a lot of different guys all contributing. That is how you win.
• We close with this: