(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Once you’ve read Brian’s postgame thoughts and the game chat recap, by all means, take in some movies. Kobe Bryant said the Lakers collectively viewed the Blazers as “a test” for themselves. Safe to say, the quiz was aced. Pau Gasol’s triple-double was an obvious highlight, and Kobe’s praise of El Spaniard underscored just how tough the Lakers are to stop while firing on all cylinders: “Teams have to make a choice [about who to key on], and the way our offense works, you got constant movement all the time. You got shooters. You got slashers. You got great pickers. We have great play-makers, Pau being one of them. When you double team him, he’s able to find guys out of those double teams. That makes us virtually impossible to defend.”
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Before the game, Steve Blake acknowledged he delivered all the inside information at his disposal to his new teammates and coaches before Sunday’s game against Portland, where he spent nearly three seasons before being traded to the Clippers last year. Fair to say the man formulates quite a scouting report. Seen as the first big test of the young season, the Lakers throttled the Blazers, controlling the pace of play on both ends. Offensively, L.A. was in an absurdly good rhythm, particularly in the first half. Everything — and I do mean everything — broke in its direction, whether it was a Pau Gasol pass on the interior tipped high, but still finding Matt Barnes underneath for a bucket, or a Ron Artest layup partially blocked by Marcus Camby but still falling for two.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Perhaps for dramatic effect, the shot took a while before it eventually dropped into the basket. Gasol had just thrown a bounce pass to Ron Artest in the lane and it initially appeared the shot would fall short just like Kobe Bryant’s short-range shot did a few players earlier after Gasol found him open. As soon as Artest’s shot dropped in, Gasol raced back on defense, pumped his fist and high-fived guard Shannon Brown, the nearest teammate in sight. Gasol had just recorded his fourth career triple double and second with the Lakers, and eventually finished with 20 points on nine-of-13 shooting with 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
From Mark Whicker, OC Register: The white pieces, in chess, can reach checkmate in three moves. The black pieces can get there in two. It took the Lakers about a dozen possessions to capture Portland on Sunday night, thanks to the most resourceful piece on their board. Pau Gasol can beat you horizontally, diagonally, vertically, through the air, off the floor, in all four continental time zones in the U.S. and on the Greenwich median. In just the first six minutes here, he found Ron Artest for a 3-pointer, looked opposite and found Derek Fisher for a 20-footer, flipped a little Tim Tebow jump pass to Lamar Odom for a layup, and hit a 20-footer himself. The score at the point was 13-8, close but irrelevant; the Trail Blazers, playing without their centers and having played at home Saturday night, were in no mood to punch the clock.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Seven games, seven victories – five of them blowouts. We couldn’t, without seeming a bit greedy, have asked for a more rollicking start to the season. Tonight’s contest against Portland was supposed to be the sternest test so far, but instead the Lakers wheeled out the heavy artillery and continued crushing and killing everything in their path. A thoroughly dominant first quarter ended with the champs up 13, and from there it only got worse for the Trail Blazers, a legitimately solid team who were made to look like the Bakersfield Jam. The lead became 24 in the second quarter and 27 in the third. The final score of 121 to 96 bears witness to the Lakers’ complete mastery at both ends of the court.