Earlier today, the Lakers took on the European League champion FC Barcelona and lost the 92-88 decision in Spain. While Phil Jackson did put his starters on the floor to end the game, I do not believe the loss requires any cause for concern. Instead of a full on recap of the game, here are a few thoughts on some of the things I noticed from the Lakers second preseason game.
- Pau Gasol played a fairly good game. There were times throughout the game where it seemed like he wasn’t fully comfortable playing as the team’s center. Spain had multiple big bodies they were able to throw at Gasol, actually giving the Lakers a taste of their own medicine. Both Kosta Perovic and Boniface N’Dong are listed as seven footers and spent a considerable amount of time making Gasol’s job difficult and keeping other Lakers out of the paint. With a lot of NBA teams getting bigger this off season, Pau may find himself in situations where he’s going to have to assert himself as the dominant big man on the floor. He recorded a 25 and 10 double-double, but never seemed to be the Pau Gasol we were accustomed to down the stretch of last season. Then again, it is only the second preseason game of this season.
- A lot of attention is going to be paid attention to Kobe’s 2-15 shooting performance and there really shouldn’t be. This is his second actual game time action following a knee surgery and his first game playing some real minutes. Kobe was essentially out there playing on one leg, no explosiveness and no lift on his jump shot. A large majority of his shots were off balanced, fade aways and turn around jumpers. Pete Mickeal, sans one play where he got caught in the air by a Kobe pump fake, did a fantastic job of staying home on Kobe and forcing tough jump shots. Without his ability to get off the ground or get to the rim, all of the footwork in the world wasn’t going to help him get easier shots.
- Lamar Odom looked very good against FC Barcelona. We got to see a lot of his unique repertoire during the course of the game: 18 rebounds, nine in each half; a beautiful coast-to-coast layup; a couple of assists; a monstrous tip dunk — and he stayed away from taking bad shots behind the arch. We know he isn’t always going to have an all around game like this every night, but with the absence of Andrew Bynum for the early part of the season, if LO can just rebound at a high rate, that will go a long way for the Lakers early on.
- Steve Blake, as commenter Namotuman noted during the Preview and Chat of the Timberwolves game, does seem to have a very good connection with Lamar Odom. Watching him, you can tell that he has picked up the nuances of the Triangle, but he doesn’t always seem comfortable playing off of the ball. Blake is more of a natural point guard than what Derek Fisher is at this point in his career, and is used to having responsibilities like bringing the ball up and creating from the top of the key. Within the triangle, he has to play off of the ball more that what a point guard would in other offenses. I’m confident that he’ll be able to pick up the offense and still be affective off of the ball.
- Lastly, I really enjoyed getting a chance to watch this Barcelona squad play. Their ball movement is already in mid-season form and they execute their offense as well as anyone in the NBA does. I became an absolutely huge Juan Carlos Navarro fan during his one year in the NBA and feel it’s a privilege every time I get to watch him in the international game. Even though it was sloppy at times, the game was fun to watch and I enjoyed the competitive nature of this particular exhibition game.
Phil, your comment reminds me of my first lecture in Comp Sci. Recursive, was it? Anyway, that might be better placed in the post before 😉
Phillip Barnett says
Thanks, Harold. Correction made.
This made me laugh. When NBA ass-grabbing goes bad:
Any surprise Reggie Evans was involved in this? In fact I bet that’s why the ref ejected them. It wasn’t the actual act, it was more what he was afraid Evans would try next.
Dave M says
It was great to see the Lakers on the court again (both games) and in europe no less. However, it’s now back to the more serious aspects of camp, namely practice.
Craig W. says
As a followup on you comment about Kobe – I realized how out of shape he was when Derek gave him the lob for a dunk and Kobe couldn’t reach the pass and it went out-of-bounds.
LOL Snoopy, nice reference to Evans-Kaman. I didn’t even think of Evans’ history when I saw this on Kurt’s site. But the ejections weren’t completely unwarranted; that third slap was the one that did them in.
You mentioned how well Steve Blake is doing, but you didn’t mention how well Derek Fisher is handling the “challenge” so far this preseason.
What a great game. The best preseason game Ive ever seen from an NBA team.
The house was packed, and Barca gave them all they could handle. It was a physical, hard fough game with something on the line… even some trash talking to Kobe (of all people).
Navarro is such a great player, really love his game.
Gasol was giving it his all, but he still looks a bit off. He doesnt have the usual smoothness and overwhelming feel and timing.
Odom was a beast again. I love it when he channels his inner Ben Wallace on the glas.
And Blake looks like such a great pickup. He brings everything the bench needs from their PG. Shooting, headiness and someone to set up Odom. This might just keep Odom on his game more often. Now he doesn´t have to sit back any more.
Great game, and respect to Barcalona. This is just a really solid quality team. Ricky Rubio might be their biggest name, but as seen more often, he was outplayed by their backup PG Sada (same in the Euroleague final).
(Rubio still might be the next big thing, but this Barca squad is loaded).
Also their white backup bigman Lorbek gave them some good minutes. I think they would do OK in the NBA… might even challenge for that 8th playoff spot in the East.
Phillip Barnett says
@ Craig W.
I noticed that as well. He didn’t get off of the ground at all. It was a very unathletic play and made me cringe a little bit considering all of the horrible passes in the past that he was able to corral and throw down. Last night’s pass would have been thrown down easily as early as four months ago.
You’re right, Derek Fisher had a very good game last night. He knocked down a few nice mid range jumpers off of the glass and played well defensively for the most part. However, at this point of the season, I don’t really think he’s being challenged for the starting position. The job is his to lose as the course of season goes along. Blake is very happy in his backup roll, and will have to be much more comfortable within the offense before PJ even considers making a move. And to be quite honest, I don’t think Fish is going to lose the job regardless. At some point in the season, there will be cries to move Blake into the starting spot, but I don’t think it’ll happen.
I was somewhat amused by Pete Mickeal going toe-to-toe with Kobe. It reminded me of Ruben Patterson. Hey, anybody know whatever happened to the so-called Kobe Stopper?
10. Even better, check out his hoopshype.com blog is memorializing his Game 7, I mean, Exhibition experience with Kobe and Artest. I mean, nice game Mickeal, but he reminded me of the Pros v. Joes guys who try to take it out on the Pros who really have nothing more to say/do.
Maybe Mickeal will get a shot at the NBA, but his act will get old real quick if he doesn’t tone it down a notch. In the immortal words of Iverson, “we talking about [exhibition].”
dEDGE – Accroding to wikipedia, Patterson was recently charged with a DUI in Ohio …
Dave M says
DY – thanks for linking the Mickeal blog. Guess he’s trying to stretch out his moment in the sun but it’s sure not forward thinking. Then again, I’m pretty sure he’ll never face Kobe and Ron again so talking trash doesn’t have a lot in the way of consequences.
Darius Soriano says
We’ve got a new post up.