What’s that you say? The NBA is back? THE NBA IS BACK.
While my expectations for this Lakers’ season aren’t what you could call optimistic, that doesn’t change the fact that today is one of the best days of the year for me. Few things can compare to a fresh campaign with a new team to watch and fresh stories to tell.
With that, I’m going to keep this short and sweet so we can all just relax and wait until the games tip. First things first, let’s get some of the news of the day out of the way:
Expected starters tonight: Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 28, 2014
Byron Scott said Ronnie Price and Xavier Henry could play tonight
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 28, 2014
While the news of Lin starting is only a recent development over the last couple of days, I am quite happy that Scott has put him with the first group. The reserves can certainly benefit from Lin’s playmaking and ability to organize the offense and that, in and of itself, may have been reason enough to keep him coming off the bench. But the starters can benefit from those skills too and with this team short on talent I’d like to see the best players on the floor as often as possible (within any minutes restrictions, of course) to try and impact the game. Lin should be playing 30+ minutes a night and that should allow him overlap with both units and allow him to help both groups offensively.
As for Henry and Price, it’s nice to have both available, though it’s doubtful either will have much impact in this game. Price may serve as Lin’s backup and having his defense on the floor would be nice in certain situations. But I would just as well have Clarkson play some back up PG minutes (12-15 of them, depending on how long Lin can go) and call it a night. Henry, however, isn’t likely to see any time at all after not practicing over the last couple of weeks and not seeing any action this preseason. That said, with Young, Ellington, and Kelly (who could serve as a SF this year) also out, Henry could find his way to the floor in an emergency situation.
With that news out of the way, I turn my focus to tonight. Well, mostly tonight.
The Rockets come in as one of the top five to six teams in the West this year. They have all-NBA players in Dwight Howard and James Harden, brought in Trevor Ariza to replace Chandler Parsons, and are expecting growth from Patrick Beverly and Terrence Jones among others. If all goes right for them, they can press for a top four seed in the conference and can bubble up from fringe contender to conference finalist where anything can happen. They will represent a huge challenge for the Lakers in this game. And while some of that will mitigated through the adrenaline of a home opener on the first night of the season, talent will usually trump all and Houston has more of that than the Lakers.
This will be a trend for the Lakers this year and you will likely be able to lift sentences from that paragraph above and drop them into any game preview I write all year. But, in saying that, I think it is important that fans understand that even in a season that will challenge our patience, that we try to enjoy the journey and take what positives we can from the process of what this season will offer.
Rooting for the Lakers this year will be less about the big goals of a playoff berth or a parade at the end of the season and more about the little things that might occur in any given game or over the course of the season. Enjoy Kobe Byrant’s skill level and shot making. Enjoy the growth of Julius Randle and his multi-faceted offensive game. Enjoy how Ed Davis moves defensively and how he challenges shots at the rim. Enjoy Jordan Hill’s hustle and offensive glass work. Enjoy Jeremy Lin’s fearless drives to the cup. Enjoy Nick Young…well, being Nick Young.
Maybe your list is different. But these are the things that will keep me afloat this year and keep me invested in what happens next and how the team is coming together. The season will be long and, at many times, frustrating. But over the course of the year try to find the things that keep you happy and looking forward to the next moment. The Lakers won’t always be bad (seriously, they won’t be) and, if history has any part in determining the future, things will start to look up in the coming years.
So, in saying that, enjoy the ride you guys. Another season is upon us. Basketball is back. This really is the best time of the year.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm tip time on TNT. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
Chris J says
What a cruel twist of fate… on the one hand, I’m totally excited to see the Lakers back in action. And on the flip side, tonight’s matchup means being subjected to Dwight Howard and his ball-stopping, free throw-missing clown act — made all the worse by the fact that he’ll probably go for 30 and 15 tonight given the Lakers’ small front line.
On this point, and perhaps only this point, do Bill Simmons and I wholly agree: “I don’t enjoy watching Dwight Howard play basketball. It’s that simple.”
always a triangle fan says
can’t be worse than last year (I hope!) Hoping for swarming D, balanced offense, good coaching and team chemistry, and please – no more injuries! go lakers
Kobe Alert: Wow – It has been too long. I think last season was a trial run to see how we will all be able to cope without Kobe, 5 years from now when he retires. However – we will not think about that too much now. Rather we will focus on what Kobe has done and what he will do, as he continues to climb the ladder towards the greatest player of all time. Let’s start with some longevity records. At tip off tonight, KB will enter his 19th campaign. This will vault him past Reggie Miller, Hakeem, and Derek Fisher, and into a tie for 4th all time with the likes of Shaq, the Mailman, and a number of others. Only three players have played more than 19 seasons (Parish, Willis, Kareem). Kobe will also tie John Stockton as the only two players in NBA history to play 19 years with one franchise. Kobes is currently 25th on the games list and needs 10 more to move by Paul Silas for 24th. He needs 138 minutes to cruise past Robert Parish and into 12th on the all time minutes list. I am hoping it takes 5 games to get there.
While #24’s longevity is extremely impressive, the area where he is simply a joy to watch, is scoring and shooting (especially those double teamed, turnaorund, fadeaways). Kobes needs 276 more FGs to move by Shaq for 5th. He needs just 163 attempts to get past MJ for 3rd, and like the minutes list, I am hoping Kobe does this in 5 games : ) Kobe is 3rd in free throws made and 5th in free throws attempted, trailing Moses on both lists. He is a ways away in both cases, but word has it that Kobe is going to wear an LBJ mask during games this year in an attempt to actually see the foul line a little more often. He needs 50 more free throws to give him 8,000 for his career. Kobe has scored more points just from the line, than Norm Nixon, AC Green, or Michael Cooper did from anywhere on the court during their tenures with the Lakers. Kobe has 419 – thirty point regular season games (5th) and 120 – forty point games (3rd).
In other regular season categories, KB is a respectable 57th on the all time defensive rebounds list; He needs 15 dimes to move by Sam Cassell for 32nd, and 26 steals to catch Isaiah Thomas for 14th.
In spite of the fact that Kobe has sat the last two post seasons, he ranks as follows on the all time playoff lists (amazing): Games: 5th, Minutes: 3rd, FGs: 4th, FGAs: 1st, 3 pointers: 3rd, FTs: 2nd, Dimes: 7th, Steals: 5th, Forty point playoff games: 4th; Thirty point playoff games: 3rd. Kobe ranks 3rd in all time playoff points (MJ + KAJ).
We are not the only ones who notice how great KB is: His all time ranks for cumulative awards earned: Most times named All NBA (15): tied for 1st with KAJ; Most times named an All NBA starter (11) : Tied for 1st with K Malone; Most times named All Defensive Team (12): Tied for 2nd; Most times named All Defensive Starter (9): tied for 1st with Garnett and MJ; Most times named to the All star team (16): 2nd behind KAJ with 19; Most times named as an all star starter (16): 1st; Most times named as All star MVP (4): Tied for 1st with Bob Pettit. He is at least top 3 in All Star history in minutes, FGs, FGAs, 3 pointers, 3PFGAs, and steals. He is the all time leading all star scorer.
Kobe has 5 rings. The only ones with more in the modern era are Robert Horry, KAJ, MJ, and Pippen. Kobe has been to the finals 7 times. the only players who have been more in the modern era are all Lakers (Horry, Magic, KAJ, M Cooper).
Kobe Bryant needs 593 points to move by Michael Jordan for 3rd place on the all time scoring list.
He needs to do nothing to cement his legendary status in NBA history.
So glad preseason is over, “let the games begin”. No more “it’s only the preseason” excuses. Time to take a look at the schedule. In the NBA, I like to do that in groups of ten games or so.
Six of the Lakers 1st ten games are at home, however six of their 1st eight games are back to back games. Yes, six of their 1st eight are back to backs. Seven games are against playoff teams from last year, plus two vs the Suns and Anthony Davis’ Pelicans in New Orleans.
game 1- 10/28 vs Rockets
” 2- 10/29 @ Suns (1st B2B)
” 3- 10/31 vs Clips
” 4- 11/1 @ Warriors (2nd B2B)
” 5- 11/4 vs Suns
” 6- 11/9 vs Hornets
” 7- 11/11 @ Grizz
” 8- 11/12 @ Pelicans (3rd B2B)
” 9- 11/14 vs Spurs
” 10- 11/16 vs Warriors
Realistically, I see them going 3-7 at best.
Really interested to know how those who see the Lakers making the playoffs see the outcome of the 1st ten games.
#KobeAlert!!!!!! Five years from now 🙂
It’s been too long, Robert, so excited I haven’t even read your post all I saw was Kobe Alert!
the other Stephen says
Such Lakers. Much anticipate. Wow.
Robert, thanks for the all time stats on Kobe. For me Kobe like Jordan before him will always remind me of just pure intensity and offensive firepower. Kobe was just plain out a scoring machine, but unlike so many other players that use all their energy on O and slack on D, his mental toughness and relentlessness extended to the defensive side (like Jordan).
Kobe has the chance to help a group of gritty underdogs overachieve this year. That’s something new given the Lakers perennial playoff/championship caliber teams. Just making the playoffs this year would be truly amazing, given that the Western conference is a beast.
BigCitySid, looks like the same post as previous. I stick with my best case scenario 5-5, figure 3-7 as well as realistic. I think the Laker’s can fight for the last playoff spot this year, and beating the Rockets may well be the way to do it. I think the Rocket’s will be fighting for the 8th seed this year, let’s hope the Laker’s blow the minds of the talking heads this year. I would love to see Charles Barkley eat crow with his “last playoff game Kobe will every play” comments.
The first 10 games are a guantlet, aren’t they? This could be a really tough test for our beloved Lakers. I think they’ll need to hit on all cylinders just to win 3 games out of the first 10 (let alone 4 or 5).
Let’s offer some sacrifices to the basketball gods and hope for the best.
Having said that, I expect today’s game to be competitive. (But the next 3 really scare me.)
Thomas Rickard says
While I expect the beginning of the season will be filled with loses, once Swaggy is back and Kelly finds his niche, the team will see more wins, the most important thing about this year however is showing enough talent and potential to draw better players next year, a chance to be part of Kobe’s last year, and become part of the future
@ Robert: “the area where he (Kobe) is simply a joy to watch, is scoring and shooting (especially those double teamed, turnaorund, fadeaways)”. Honestly, I’ve rarely been a fan of those. Especially when he played with offensively talented low post 7-footers (Shaq, Bynum, Gasol) who only had one better position and opportunity to score. It’s the main reason Kobe never shot 47% from the field. And unless I missed it among your list of accomplishments, I see nothing pertaining to assist.
Both MJ & Kobe played in the triangle under Phil. And even thought Kobe played with superior low post players than MJ ever did, his assist per game in both the regular season and post season were lower than MJ’s:
regular season: Kobe, 4.76 career apg (#116), MJ, 5.25 career apg (#85)
postseason: Kobe, 4.73 career apg (#54), MJ, 5.71 career apg (#36)
Crazy turnaround jumpers while double teamed will do that.
In other news: Rockets have a couple of players who probably have some extra motivation tonight. I’m sure both D12 & Arizza want to show their former employer their current skill set.
Let the season begin.
That Kobe-alert was double-teamed, turnaround, fadeaway dagger. Thanks for the extended remix, Robert.
T. Rogers says
Wow, Robert! Your Kobe alert may end up being the highlight of the Lakers night. It will be good watching #24 do his thing in games that matter again. It’s been a long time. Too long in fact.
I’m pacing myself this season and taking it one game at a time. I hope to see Randle get a double double tonight. I hope to see Lin be the oil in the offensive machine tonight. I hope see him moving the ball and scoring when its there for him. I hope to see Kobe striking from the elbows early and often. I’d also like to see Kobe play no more than 30 minutes tonight.
I’d love to see a win, too.
Good work, Robert.
I think the Lakers actually match up well against Houston.
Kobe potentially can cancel out Harden, since Harden plays crap defense.
Hill and Davis combined can equal Howard’s production or a bit better, and the Rockets back-up center is worse than Sacre. Power Forward, Boozer or Randle in different ways are at least as good as their PF’s. I’m not too high on Ariza, but he’s solid, Johnson can definitely play him well if he doesn’t have another mental fugue.
Lin is better overall than Beverly and his offense will beat Bev’s D. And even with injuries our bench is better than Houston’s. So the only way we lose is if Howard/Harden just go off in an epic manner and our team plays afraid or something. Rocket’s team D pretty much stinks, despite have a few good individual defenders.
Let’s shock the NBA and go 12/20 from 3 tonight, and have Kobe skip pass to the weakside for open Corner 3’s!?!
lil pau says
Robert: Great work. Thanks.
I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game. What a challenge for Hill and Davis, but the stage is set for them to pick up some serious hero points if they can somehow hang with Howard.
Any further news re: X and Price?
Kobe will outscore Harden…other then Howard the Lakers match up well with Houston.If we can keep Howard from having a monster game …the Lakers will Win!!!!
I’m so excited for tonight, even though I have to watch Dwight’s weak game. I just want to see the team play hard, do something we haven’t seen in two years… play defense.
Although I don’t expect much from us this year, it definitely feels good having the NBA back. A few things that I’m hoping for this season –
1. Kobe having a healthy & productive season.
2. Jeremy Lin re-establishing himself as a quality starting PG. Not just laying back, deferring to Kobe.
3. Julius Randle & Ryan Kelly getting the majority of the mins at PF and not Boozer (who, dating back to his Blue Devils days, I’ve never been fond of).
4. Lineups in which Kobe & Nick Young are sharing court time.
5. Clarkson learning to be a PG.
6. Getting lucky in the Lottery/retaining our pick.
* Not necessarily what I’m hoping for, but more like what I’m expecting to see: Bulls vs Spurs for the 2015 ‘Chip … Actually, I am hoping that Chicago gets there.
Won’t change a thing.
Be yelling at someone Friday from section 111.
Go Lakers. Trip over the baseline Dwight!
Ariza is gonna guard Kobe, Harden on Wes since Wes really not a threat on O…
vhanz – Exactly what I was going to say. I can’t see then sticking Harden on someone who’s actually a threat in a variety of ways.
We’ll get to see how well Ariza remembers the “Kobe System”.
Clarkson in the game early. I expect the Lakers to get whistled for a tons of fouls early on as they establish their physical style of play.
This offense is painful to watch.
this is gonna get ugly as it looks right now…..hope our O will turn it around, lin with a couple of stupid TO’s, boozer seemingly doesnt want to bang as he settles for jumpers, and our D looks just bad….anyway GO LAKERS!
Not impressed with Boozer’s play. Time to put Randle in and see what the rookie can do.
What does Boozer offer other than uncontested rebounds and lots of shouting?
That’s ridiculous to play Henry without practice first. That’s the same thing they did to Farmar last year and he endured injuries the entire season. Shaking my head.
A second-round rookie guarding James Harden. Jesus wept.
This season I just hope Kobe stays healthy and can provide more career highlights for us to watch. This Lakers team is going straight to the lottery.
I am 78, 5-3. i can still shoot from 6-8 ft pretty good. How do you get in the nba, be 6-8 ft and cannot shoot. Seriously how did these lakers get here and not be able to shoot. P.s. boozer is embarrassing, hill not much better.
first quater over….keep davis in there instead of boozer please….sensational block….
clarkson taking stupid shots like those last 2 will cost me another 5 years of my life if he keeps this up all season
Clarkson looks like a 2nd round draft choice.
Boozer a 3rd.
Clean it up
Lakers should sign a young PG with upside.
Ronnie Price has none and should be cut immediately.
Ed Davis should be starting by 2015.
Where’s the passion and fire? Hill acts like he’s intimidated. Boozer is Boozer. Jeremy is….
Great to see the Kobe Alert again – thanks Robert (the LBJ-mask quip was good for a giggle!)
let´s make a push in the 2nd half fellas, come on Lakers! (i know..I know…)
Well, so far it is the worst case best case scenario. Kobe looks healthy and good, Lakers are terrible. Why is Sun Yue back with the Lakers? Oh sorry that’s Jeremy Lin doing his best Sun Yue impression. Is Carlos Boozer taking his name literally this year? He is playing like a man who is actually intoxicated.
Per Treylake’s comment they need to get rid of Price. Sign a guy like Ish Smith or Elliot Williams off the waiver wire.
I like Henry but putting him in right now is a joke, it looked like he wasn’t even sure what team he was on, that’s how lost he was.
@joel: he should be starting by now, alongside hill, that would give us some defensive stability…..offensively, i think boozer showed that he hasnt got much left in the tank, i really hope he will get his act together, but it just doenst seem like that to me…..he settles for those jumpers most of the time….
game not over yet, would never thoght that my lakers could hold on…..but now that we’re in it, lets go get that W, lin has got to start scoring and we will be alright, just give kobe some help on O and we got a chance to grab a huge upset…..GOOOOOO LAAAAKERS!
I think our protected draft pick is safe.
How much did they give Hill?
Must be a Jimmy thing.
The team just has to be competitive!
Let’s go Lakers
Nice Kobe alert Robert! At least the team looks semi-competitive in spurts… James Harden is pretty much the most dislikeable player in the league. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the refs reward his flopping year after year with free throws.
Why the heck is X getting pt after not playing all preseason?? Those minutes should go to Clarkson. I would like to see Lin, Kobe, Randle, hill, and Davis on the court together.
Wes Johnson and Jordan Hill are worthless tonight.
Any that’s 40% of your starters.
Can they fire Jimmy and send him Alaska?
Get Kobe out NOW, before he tries to prove something!
T Rogers says
SMH at Harden. It must be nice to have 32 points on 17 official shots.
S-O-F-T! That’s what Kobe said to Dwight.
Lol @ ronnie price. Uhhh randle just broke something.
It figures. SMH.
The Lakers are officially the Clippers from seasons past. Injury prone.
Please tell me Randle didn’t just break his foot????
Julius Randle is hurt. Really hope the rookie is okay. Horrible way for the season to start. It does not look good.
damn. First pro game. arch
I was going to say X has to play to get up to speed, but now I’m just worried about Randel.
Since Jimmy took over it bad luck after bad luck. This team is cursed.
Dwight Howard is pathetic.
This is pretty much the worst opener possible. Here’s to a speedy recovery for our rookie.
Multiple reports Randle has a broken leg.
So much for the future. Randle getting carried off in a stretcher. The injury bug just won’t leave us alone.
Makes you think what goes behind the scenes in our training facility.
pat oslon says
This is beyond unfortunate for Randle & the Lakers. The team is already not the most talented team and now we lose our top pick. Unbelievable. Praying JR has a speedy and complete recovery.
The season just got longer…more pressure has just been laid at the feet of Jimmy B & Mitch. Down a big in Randle & a small in Nash. The next move belongs to the front office.
the other Stephen says
I want to throw up.
The only bright plot lines of the season are to watch the rookies develop and players potential players like Ed Davis and Wesly Johnson develop. This is tough… Well I guess Clarkson is going to get a lot of attention form us Laker fans now.
How can you manufacture W with less talents and lots of injury? Good news there are still 81 games to adjust, bad news Lakers became a D’League team after three seasons.
Non basketball point: I think we have to sacrifice jimmy to the erupting volcano in Hawaii to stop all of these injuries.
Only 81 games left.
This may go on for a while, folks. No light at the end of the tunnel. It was fun while it lasted, this could be like Celtics of ’93 thru 2000, just awful. Wonder what is running through Kobe’s mind? Should have retired? Should have gone to a contender for a final year?
Don Ford says
Just -stunned- about Randle.
Hard to imagine worse news, except maybe Kobe going down again.
I turned off the game and headed to bed just before the injury. I’m sick. This seems like some twisted joke. Hopefully JR will heal up and come back twice as strong with twice is much will to win. F%^&