I’m at Staples and I’ll be chatting at ESPN’s Daily Dime live plus posting thoughts on the game here as it progresses.
Pregame notes: Phil Jackson strongly hints that DJ Mbenga will get the start. The key for him, he said, is not to get in foul trouble. He said in the preseason when DJ got a start they joked there was a pool on whether or not he would get four fouls in 10 minutes. He might break that tonight.
Also, Phil said that Artest may get time on Zach Randolph, so at some point the Lakers will go small. As for AI, Farmar will apparently get the first shot but if he can’t stop him Brown will get a chance. 30 minutes left to tip off.
• In the media room pregame, Mitch Kupchak was sitting and talking to the Memphis owner. (Insert your own joke here.)
• Almost halfway through the first quarter, and here’s what I learned: OJ Mayo can’t handle Kobe’s dream shake on the block, and the Grizzlies apparently have a philosophical opposition to help defense.
• I a very touching gesture, the Lakers just officially named the scorer’s table after John Radcliff, the team’s long time scorer and a great man. They also gave his family his championship ring from last season. Classy.
• Not a pretty first quarter of shooting — Lakers not named Kobe were 5 of 14. And it wasn’t the Griz defense that did it.
• Luke Walton gets in the air, without knowing what he wants to do far too often. But this last time he made up for it by not hustling back on defense. But his passing keeps him on the floor.
• Just a bad shooting half for the Lakers. The Grizzlies were by far the worst defensive team in the NBA coming in, but the Lakers shoot just 37.7% for the first half and trail by two at the break. Kobe shooting 50%, everyone else 33.3%. The only thing keeping the Lakers close, they have grabbed 51% of their missed shots for
• 7-0 Lakers run to start the second half changes the feel of the game. For now.
• A Fisher PUJIT makes it 10 for 16 from the floor for the Lakers in the second half, and they are up by 11.
• The Lakers go with the small unit (as I’d wanted, but with Powell as the center instead) and keep extending the lead. Lakers shoot 66% and score 38 points in the third.
• Sorry for the site crash, but we’re back.
• Post game, Phil praises Kobe for his shot selection, and calls Josh Powell the best sub the Lakers have had so far this season.
• In the end, this is what the Lakers needed, a comfortable win. Memphis is not a good team (despite a lot of good athletes) and these are the games the Lakers should win handily. They did. You can’t really knock a 16 point win with two starters out.