The regular season is finally upon us. There’s no more waiting to see what this team can do when the games start to matter. No more waiting for how the players perform when the action turns more serious. No more waiting to see what, if anything, the coaches have held back. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
We’ve talked about the outlook for the team this year. If nothing else, they promise to entertain. The roster has been reconstructed on the fly with players looking to remake their images and reclaim their past glory. It’s a team that has holes and flaws, but one that has shown a penchant to compete and to scrap in the preseason. How far that identity can get them remains to be seen, but each and every night it seems we will get a good effort from them.
Tonight, against the Clippers, that effort will be needed. For the first time in a decade, there’s a role reversal between these two Los Angeles teams. It’s the Clips who have championship expectations and the Lakers who are hoping to avoid the lottery. It’s the Clippers who have the glamor roster and the Lakers who have cast-offs with something to prove. It’s a contrast we’re not really used to, but one that, at least for me, intrigues and is sort of welcome.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer these organizations took to their normal roles and that it was the Lakers who were nearly universally hailed as one of the best teams in the league with their Staples Center counterparts the team grasping for a foothold amongst the league’s better outfits. But since that’s not the case, I’ll happily embrace the lowered expectations and root for a team who looks to overachieve rather than simply meet predictions and plan a parade come June. It’s not ideal this way, but when the ground beneath you shifts, you best shift with it or risk losing your balance and toppling over.
This game isn’t as much a litmus test for where these teams are, but a contest that should have both teams excited to venture on their respective journeys. The Lakers are being counted out by nearly everyone and are seen as the lambs being led to slaughter on the season’s opening night. They face a powerhouse Clippers team (has that phrase ever been uttered?) who are expected to not just win, but win big. They have the tools to follow through on this prediction, but they’ll also be facing a team who has a hunger to prove all the doubters wrong.
It will take more than a hunger to win this game, however. From an X’s and O’s and strategic standpoint, the Lakers must do several things well to be leading when the clock hits all zeroes. The first is to defend at a level they’re not expected to be able to this year. The Clippers will pick and roll the Lakers’ bigs as often as possible, looking to pick on Pau Gasol frequently, force help and then kick the ball out to their shooters. Look for Chris Paul to string out his dribble in an attempt to draw multiple defenders and then either pick out his rolling big man or force the D to collapse so he can pick out his wings camping behind the arc. The Lakers, then, must be sharp in how they cut off the lane from the dive man and then quick in getting back out to the wing to contest shots or to make those wings put the ball on the floor and drive into the teeth of the D.
Another key will be controlling their defensive glass. Rebounding was a problem all preseason and with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan using their athleticism to crash the glass, Pau, Williams, Jordan Hill, and Chris Kaman must be quick to put a body on their man while the rest of the team gang rebounds from the free throw line and down. Once the ball is secured, they can push the ball in the other direction, but attempting to change ends too quickly will only lead to extended Clipper possessions that they’re sure to capitalize on.
Offensively the Lakers must find their balance between working the ball into the paint and shooting their outside jumpers. Whether running the P&R or their HORNS sets, the team must move the ball quickly and decisively in and out of the post to create the types of open shots they’ll need to generate if they hope to produce enough points to keep this game close. Key to this is, obviously, Pau being able to capably establish some sort of post position and/or working the mid-range out of the P&R to keep the defense moving in and out of their rotations. If Nash, Blake, and Farmar can also keep their dribbles live and occupy defenders, the ball can be swung onto the open man. Then, of course, the guys spacing the floor need to knock down the shots afforded to them. Nick Young, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Wes Johnson, and Shawne Williams all need to keep defenses honest by making them pay for leaving them open.
All of this is easier said than done, though. There’s a reason the Clippers are heavy favorites not just in this game, but over the course of the entire season. There’s a talent gap that is noticeable and it will take individual Lakers playing to a level above their reputations, on both sides of the floor, to elevate their team. Whether they can actually do so isn’t yet known, but if there’s one night where they’ll give it their all, I imagine it will be this one where they face off against their cross-town “rival” in the season’s first contest.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
david h says
darius: i’ve always thought of the lakers as being above “intentional fouling” of the opponents worst free throw shooter(s), until now. forwarding thinking, at least for this season, calls for the trench mentality; ie, whatever it takes. so if coach doc is true to his word, deandre jordan will be in late in the game and who better to foul? add a little of that formula to blake griffin and let’s see what transpires. so what that our reputation is a little tarnished, a win is a win. and i’m for winning at least in this regard for this season.
the beauty of the trench mentality is that it can be turned off as well as on at any time.
And I’m the second post, but tradition is traditon: This one’s for Warren!
bryan S. says
D’Antoni on how the Lakers could exceed low expectations: “Xavier Henry has to have a really, really, good year.” Clearly the coach hopes for more than spot minutes from the young fella. Make of it what you will.
The journey begins. Go Lakers.
Here is the Lakers starting 5 tonight, Court Vision, where each is best from the field and not so good from the field.
We control our own destiny for home court advantage throughout!! Have a good season all !!
T. Rogers says
I’m so glad the NBA season is starting up again. I know my Lakers aren’t contenders. They may not even make the playoffs. But I’m just glad to see my boys back on the saddle. This is truly the beginning of a new era. It may be a bumpy road for a good while. But eventually our boys will rise to the top again.
Here’s to hoping they can sucker punch the Clippers in the face tonight!
Finally. Let the grousing commence!
Metta prognosticated a big mid-season trade. Until that transpires, I’m tempering my initial enthusiasm down to expectations of 40 wins. Please, prove me wrong, Lakers.
We get the Clips, GS,SA and HOU on the 1st six game talk about running the gaunlet, a lot of things have to go absolutely right for this team to excel, we know almost everybody roles if Shawne Williams and Xavier Henry somehow exceed expectations we might have a team, we know what everyone else can do, they are the key in my opinion. Lets the game begin!!!
Once again it’s on. Welcome back NBA. You’ve definitely been missed. And although I don’t have high expectations for us this campaign, the 1 thing that I will wholeheartedly enjoy is the journey. Also looking forward to seeing comments from posters within our FB&G Community who have been on hiatus since our 1st round exit in April.
Lakers, 4 Life ..
I’ll just enjoy the game without any wants or needs as far as the final total score goes. Heck, I can root for Los Angeles anyway.
I dont want to join the speculations. I’m still hoping that this team will make the playoffs.
I guess, there will be no more Kobe alert for now.
lil pau says
anyone hear magic on max and marcellus? the guy is my all time GOAT hero, but he makes less and less sense as an analyst. on one hand, he’s talking about the brilliance of pat riley: ‘you know he planned for lebron three years ahead’, and then he offered the same accolades to jerry west and jerry buss for planning years ahead to get shaq… then in the next segment, he’s talking about how bad the lakers are right now and that jim buss ‘needs help’ figuring out how to construct a team without any apparent awareness that this season is exactly what it looks like when one is planning a year or two ahead. c’mon magic!
I can’t believe that the season is already here! Hey Keno- let’s try to dial it down a notch on the tirades this year okay? j/k
I want playoffs or lottery!
When Farmar gets the up tempo D’Antoni style going they should be entertaining and surprise folks with wins. Lakers problem will defending the basket. Playoffs or not hope they are exciting to watch like the Nick Van Exel – Eddie Jones Lakers. If so, staples will rock.
Team development and wins this season combined with shrewd cap space usage can put Lakers in the championship mix for next season.
Lakers are far from dead.
And where was Magic wrong?
Unless you feel telling the truth is wrong.
Good news… Wade looks washed up. Bad news…it looks like Lebron can beat any team by himself at this point in his career.
Warren Wee Lim says
I like what I see so far.
Gasol off to a nice start. He even made a 3
Get Blake out of there!
Nick Young is chucking shots and missing…same old same old.
Great throwback quarter for Pau. But like great for many reasons. It’s everything Pau used to be.
Pau beasting out there, Young needs to settle down, the D is been ok so far , Reddick is just in a zone we need to wait him out.
And we have our first vicarous benching of the year courtesy of Keno. I knew I missed the regular season. By the way Keno—-I keeeed, I totally keeeed
Calling this game now: It’s going to be the classic Reddick-Gasol shootout.
Small sample size, but Pau looks really good.
Warren Wee Lim says
You see that dunk RR? Just messin 😉
So much quicker with Farmer Henry out there.
Two reasons why the Clippers will eventually flame out (and I’ve mentioned this before) –
1. Blake Griffin
2. D’Andre Jordan
Never have been and still am not a believer in either of them.
Lakers bench is going to give teams problems.
Why is Meeks on the team?
I’m enjoying the Lakers’ second unit far more than the 1st unit. – Minus Meeks, of course.
Henry is too eager once he settles down he is going to help same as Shawne, those are the 2 guys that need to breakout if the Lakers hope to survive until Kobe cames back.
Thats why Hill is there, and old Farmar showing up
Lakers need to get back on defense. Clippers getting easy points in transition.
If meeks is unable to make a jumpshot and can’t play defense, then what use is he?
I do find it ironic that now the Clippers want to slow the pace against the Lakers. I remember in previous seasons it was the complete opposite.
Textbook Flagrant 1 by Barnes, and good that they reviewed it. It wasn’t unnecessarily rough, he just didn’t make a play on the ball. I’m glad they didn’t go with the cop-out double technical call.
Lakers bench playing so well those transition lobs had no effect on momentum. Last year we’re down 10 easy.
Great Nike Commercial. Even if it is James.
Nash looks like he is 60. Sad
need to put Pau back in the post. Pau hasnt scored since 6min of 1st.
7 footer to 7 footer lob = fun
That was a bs delay of game call
This new delay of game rule is such crap! Gonna be annoying all season.
Did anyone expect the team to come out and give the Clippers a run for their money? Color me optimistic.
Minus Nick Young who needs to stop overdribbling and taking bad shots the Lakers,offence looks decent. Good ball movement and Pau and Kaman already have way more chemistry than Pau and Howard ever did.
Craig W. says
No real surprises from the Lakers in the 1st half. They are who we thought they would be. Hill needs more minutes if we are ever going to develop any defensive toughness.
there were many delay of game calls earlier in Heat-Bulls game. Yeah, sort of annoying.
Griffin still doesnt have some post moves.
@KenOak i always said this team was better than the naysayers including the ones on this board that called them one of the worst 3 teams in the league. Its the 1st game but there are a lot of encouraging signs that this team is going to be fairly good and should win more than they lose even w/o Kobe.
Pleased with the Lakers so far, the bench has provided scoring that has helped keep the Lakers in the game.
Either Lakers are better then so called experts think or Clippers are not nearly as good.
Did anyone expect the team to come out and give the Clippers a run for their money?
Sure, many guys here did. Also, even those of us who are pessimistic mostly see this as a 30-35 win team, and a team like that will have some good games, obviously, and with emotions running high…a close game tonight was a very reasonable prediction. And, anything can happen in one game.
Finally, as many have noted, and as I noted here once, the Clippers have some D issues themselves, based on off-season personnel moves.
Pau could be on the way to a monster game, now comes the dreaded 3rd quarter. But they been hanging tough so far we have a good bench and Paus play has me really happy
Here it is, the dreaded 3rd quarter
Gosh Nash just doesn’t have it anymore. Another silly TO.
D’Antoni not pleased with the start to the third quarter and calls the time out.
D’Antoni on how the Lakers could exceed low expectations: “Xavier Henry has to have a really, really, good year.”
I’m sorry but this coach continues to put pressure on a player to be his savior. Last year it was “when Nash returns” and this year it’s “Xavier Henry has to have a really, really, good year.” So now he’s resorted to piling pressure on a 3rd year guy that’s just trying to stay in the league. Can one imagine any other coach in the league making such a statement.
Other than that…I like the fight in this team and Pau is demonstrating a bit of his old form.
Lakers really playing together and Clippers offense looks as basic as Doc’s did in Boston except they have no wing creator. Pau playing strong controlling the paint as well as he can.
Kenny T says
The Clippers are gonna miss Caron Butler.
C. Hearn And Henry had 8 points in the 1st half. Phil was a master on putting players on the spot and nobody complained about it. Not comparing them at all just in case but its a coaches tool.
joe smith says
I ve been a huge fan of Steve Nash for many years and I hate to admit the guy is done.
On the bright side 3 years were wasted playing Bynum/Howard over Gasol at the C
I think Doc is vastly overrated as a coach, they sell him like the 2nd coming of Red Auberbach but he only got that one ring with a team really stacked and the vastly favorite to won that year other than that he didnt achieved much with a team with KG, Pierce, Allen and Rondo, Phil would had won 4 championship with that bunch.
New to forum just wanted to join in the converstion. Must say I am just happy to see a team that can run up the floor without it looking like a one legged race. Young legs make young mistakes, but I think I can deal with that as long as the passion stays.
Nash is looking dinosaurusish, prehistoric phase.
Lakers FT shooting not good tonight.
Is this what a team full of D’Antoni type players looks like playing his offense? I like what I’m seeing so far.
@Fern I attribute that championship to Thibodeau’s defense along with that big 3.
Also Clippers are not close to a finals team. Watch tomorrow as GS is much better then Clips.
Great effort win or lose and I stick with my prediction as a 45 or so win team.
Farmar’s absolutely right. That was a BS call on him against Paul.
Love the effort that Jordan Hill is excerting in the paint.
Leader of the new bench mob? Same as the old one.
Wow. Farmar. Wow.
One of the funnest games ive seen in a while.
At least this year will be exciting
Henry creating!! The team looking good, i foud Docs arrogance during that sound byte sickening “we are so good” bleh
Just hope, Man.
Stay positive, we can make it to the playoffs. Just one game but we cant go 82 without 1.
joe smith says
It’s 6 AM here in Spain. I was close to go to sleep at 1 AM without seeing the game because I was pretty scared of a severe beat.
I’m so glad I had enough faith¡¡¡
GO LAKERS GO¡
this bench I loveeeeeeeeeeeee
So. Ride the red hot bench or stick to rotation and bring back starters?
@Darius. The Henry/Hill connection. Pure gold.
Warren Wee Lim says
Lets see if we can hold this lead. Best bench in the league? Reclamation projeect.
So much better chemistry with this team this year than last.
xavier henry playing like ginobili out there.
Lakers bench leading the way, five players in double figures scoring.
plus D’Antoni has had a proper amount of time to implment and personnel to better fit his offence. The bench is suited for it. Good for them –
Holy Xavier! When’s the last time the bench carried us? Amazing what a little bit of athleticism can do. Hopefully the fresh legs can carry over to tomorrow night.
Oh how I’m LOVING this game. Not a Lakers fan but seeing the arrogant and overrated clippers getting their ass handed to them makes me SO HAPPY. Lakers are playing awesome
Edit: LA will always be Lakers town, same way NY will always be Knicks. Clippers and Nets are passing fancies
If they are the 12 best team in the West what does that make Clippers.
Hey Doc Boston doesn’t miss you.
This game’s in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jigglin’!
How about Xavier Henry? 20 points wow i never thought this game would turn out the way it as not in a million years, this team is building its identity.
Reggie Miller – “I see that Blake Griffin didn’t work on his post game during the summer.”
Exactly Reggie. Or his free throws. Still just an athlete.
Bench is on fire and a quiet 10 and 8 from Kaman.
You’ve just gotta love this game.
If this bench takes us out of the top of the lottery ill be very upset. We need To limit their minutes somehow.
yo this is the best bench i ever seen they made clippers starters look like a bench
lol @Aaron saying limit the bench minutes funniest thing i read all day….
Well done fellas golf clap for all, now lets go to Golden State and shock the world.
7 players in double figures and 5 of those 7 were bench players. Wow. Great game!
Kenny T says
Cover THAT up, Doc!!
we can’t afford to beat good teams if we want to get in the lottery.
Jerke is right on in regards to chemistry – crazy high this year
I feel like we won the NBA finals. 4 games with Dwight last year and average lose in 4 games 11 points against Dippers
Ahhhh we miss your bricks and turnovers Dwight?
Wow I haven’t been this excited over one game since Game 7 vs Boston in 2010. Don’t care about anything else but this victory…Smart move (am I really saying this) by D’Antoni resting the “old” guys…definitely need to give them time off when he can…fine line between going with the hot hand and knowing when to put the starters back in…MDA did a good job with this.
Lets go Lakers!
Alright. That was the funniest comment of the night. Limit the bench minutes so that we can get a top 3 pick. lol
I’m in shock right now. How did the Clippers lose to the Lakers by double digits with their bench scoring 46 points? I think most people have underestimated this Laker team, including me.
I’m in shock right now. How did the Clippers lose to the Lakers by double digits and allow the bench to score 46 points? I think most people have underestimated this Laker team, including me.
I knew everyone underestimated us we have chemistry that goes further then talent
man o man I love this bench…..I want to wear all their jerseys right now
Quite a performance. Credit to the team and the coaches.
Aaron if you were on the Titanic you would be made because you missed dinner.
Give up on that lottery junk.
can they keep it up?
if healthy, yes.
even though the content of this team is much maligned, they all are pretty good players. there are enough of them that there’s always someone who’s hot. the Lakers’ advantage is depth right now. they need health to maintain that advantage.
this team looks well coached. if they continue to work hard, they can do very well. we’ll see if they are serious about keeping up the work soon enough…
Aaron you need to be quiet im sick and tired of your comments it would not matter if they tank or not like ypu like since you think we are getting Lebron, Melo, Wilt and Jerry West next summer. One of the most rewarding wins in a while after the wreckage of the summer, after all the negativity from everyone, enduring the crap Doc pulled on our banners, watching this team tonight, especially on the 4th quarter against the damn Clippers and wipping that smug look from Doc’s face was pure joy, i know its one game but i think we be seeing this guerrila kind of team, kudos to MDA for being flexible and sticking with what it was working, some days will be the starters other days will be our bench wich is shaping up to be not good but excellent, we have the potential to have 4 guys avg double digits coming of the bench, that is huge, Mitch once again worked his magic, its waaayy. To early but judging from the last 2 games in the preseason season and this game im starting to see a pattern about how good our bench can be, Xavier Henry is a keeper. The rumors of the demise of the Lakers have been greatly exagerated. I been saying it.
I say keep all the bench
pat oslon says
NEWSFLASH: THE CLIPPERS ARE STILL THE CLIPPERS!
@Mud thats the key words here, depth and health, i been saying it with the personnel we have if healthy we have a good team and if this bench production becomes the norm and Kobe comes back close to his former self we go from good to dangerous.Kudos to MDA for a well coached game he looked calm and collected while Doc was almost hysterical. I bash MDA sometimes but credit when its due, good job.
Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina
If only Kendrick Perkins were healthy, the Clippers would’ve been able to win this thing
pat oslon says
NEWSFLASH: LAKERS OWN L.A. FOREVER;)
pat oslon says
4TH Quarter: Bench Mob – 41 Clips 24. How sweet it is:)
T. Rogers says
Thank you Lakers! Thank you for slapping those arrogant smirks off of Doc’s and CP3’s faces (at least for now). Thank you for reminding them that they are not yet ready for prime time. All I wanted was a great effort tonight. And you guys gave me a double digit win over a team that is supposed to be a title contender.
Consider my night made!
Tomorrow on the road against GS, no rest for the wicked…
Wow. A few days ago, I said the game would be close…but I was wrong. It wasn’t close. The Bench Mob was amazing.
A few stats Re: the Lakers’ bench:
76 pts. (!)
5 players in double figures
Xavier Henry–high point man with 22
Who would’ve thunk it?
I thought the bench looked great…even Meeks. Now, can they do it again?
That was fun, last year rarely seemed fun, even when winning. For one night, that’s enough.
Still laughing at “If only Kendrick Perkins were healthy..”, that’s a great line.
Somebody just got bench slapped!
Lakers for the Championship ..Pro. Xavier for mvp ..lol. Love these guys!
To quote Winston Wolf: Lets not start sucking each other’s d***s just yet.
With that said, hey we’re on pace for an 82-0 season. 😉