Three games in three nights. Everyone said it would be a tough test for an older team. Or, for an older team with a new head coach and staff, a shortened training camp and the loss of its 6th man of the year. Plus, new roster additions in the form of late second-round draft picks and journeymen role players. Not to mention torn wrist ligaments for the team’s superstar, and no Andrew Bynum due to suspension. Casual, right?
Christmas Day showed gutty if sloppy resolve. Monday was just a mess. Last night was the first “must-win” of the season and the Lakers came through with a blowout, a markedly sharper performance on a night when they should have been playing on dead legs. If there’s a singular storyline so far, it’s that we’re in wholly unfamiliar territory but we’ll gladly take our first win.
At ESPN’s Land O’Lakers, Brian Kamenetzky details five takeaways for last night’s game, including Pau Gasol’s best game of the still young season.
C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll, points out the many ways things could have gone south for the Lakers, and how the basketball gods instead, frowned on the Jazz.
Chris Sheridan at Sheridan Hoops, writes about the calming breeze, now originating from Los Angeles.
Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times, logs the first Staples Center “we want World Peace!” chant.
Also at the Times, Mark Medina from the Lakers blog, points out Kobe’s balancing act – being aggressive at the basket and still getting teammates involved.
Kevin Ding of the OC Register relays Kobe’s assertion that they ‘shoulda won all three’ and that it’ll take some time to break themselves of Phil Jackson-engrained habits.
Over at ProBasketballTalk, Kurt Helin delves a bit deeper into the ‘shoulda’ assertion.
Three losses in a row would have brought out the sharp knives. Observers were beginning to gather and shuffle around before last night’s win. They’ll be tracking the new-look Lakers throughout the season, it’s the nature of the beast. Mike Brown’s candor and determination for accountability have served him well so far. Still, it’s about wins and expectations in Los Angeles and now the Lakers have to do it again against the Knicks, on Thursday night.
– Dave Murphy