As VoR said in the comments, “[there’s] not a lot to take away from the game,” but there was Lamar Odom, especially early on. we’re only three games into the season, but Lamar Odom has impressed as much as anyone in the NBA has thus far. Last night LO was active on the boards, shooting well, passing well and defending well. Odom finished the game with one of his classic lines: 16 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Even better, he got the Lakers off to a great start — scoring on or assisting on four of the Lakers first five field goals — which the Lakers were able to maintain while strolling to a 107-83 victory.
Furthermore, Pau Gasol — like Odom — is averaging a double-double after his 26-12-4 line against the Warriors. The Lakers made a conscious effort in getting the ball inside early and Pau was able to take full advantage of the Warriors lack of size. Andres Biedrins wasn’t able to handle Gasol one-on-one, and when double teams came, it opened up looks for Kobe and Derek Fisher, who also had a huge game.
We’ve been so used to seeing Kobe’s work on the perimeter open up things for other players, but with Kobe’s knee hindering some of his athleticism, the offense has been running through the post. The inside out game really opened up things for Fish, who finished the night five for six with 14 points. He was able to step into a few shots, and knocked down a couple of those shots off the dribble that weren’t been falling for him on opening night. This is the second night Fish has shot over 50 percent this season, and I do believe that as long as the Lakers work inside out, Fish’s shot is going to continue to look better. He’s proven over and over again that when he’s able to step into his jumper, he’s been able to knock it down. Catching passes from the paint as opposed to catching passes around the perimeter makes a world of difference for a struggling shooter.
Kobe was patient and picked his spots nicely. He forced a couple of unwarranted jumpers, but when hasn’t he? I thought he looked good, had some nice feeds to Gasol, had a beautiful move on Monta Ellis on the low block and grabbed a few offensive rebounds he had no business grabbing. He finished eight for 16 in just 27 minutes and had an eFG% of 53.1 percent. What we saw against Golden State is a more efficient Kobe. He deferred to his teammates when he needed to, but was still available to create end-of-the-shot clock field goal attempts and create open looks for teammates by getting in the lane and dishing. He’s allowed Gasol and Odom to establish themselves in the paint, and posted up when he had smaller defenders on him.
Overall, I enjoyed what I saw from the Lakers. They’re playing well as a group. Phil Jackson experimented with some lineups, and not all of those experiments worked, but you can slowly see all of these parts coming together. The Lakers finally looked like the top five defensive team that they were last season. The game wasn’t close, and it was even worse than what the box score will tell you because of some late, pad stuffing buckets from the Warriors reserves. But the Lakers did a great job on the Warriors in the half court, closed out on shooters and kept them off the free throw line.
They’ll have tomorrow off, and will play their first of a back-to-back on Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.