Maybe both the Lakers’ preseason wins will have asterisks next to them. After beating a non-NBA team for their first W, the Lakers beat the Warriors 85-70, but in a shortened game when the refs and both head coaches decided to call the game after wet floor conditions caused multiple players to slip and fall over the course of the game. Player safety is still king and, while unfortunate to the fans who showed up, ending the contest was the right move.
The game itself offered some good moments for the Lakers, however. And while the Warriors by no means whole — Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut all sat out — Steph Curry still had a fantastic game and offered a nice counter to the good the Lakers were able to accomplish. All in all, then, the fans who went to the game might not be happy about the ending — even with an ability to get a refund — but the game still offered plenty of entertainment for the time it lasted and gave us a couple of other evaluation points on some players.
On to the notes…
*As noted in the preview, I was looking forward to the Julius Randle/Draymond Green match up and it did not disappoint. Well, at least if you’re a Randle fan. The 2nd year forward seemed extra motivated to go up against Green, taking it to him at every opportunity. Randle only played the first quarter, but had 14 points on 4-8 shooting (6-7 from the FT line) and 3 rebounds. On one play in particular, Randle got the ball way above the three point line and drove right at Green, crossing over from left to right, getting by Green, and then getting fouled at the rim. He didn’t make the shot, but the intention was clear. As were his words after the play when he mouthed “he can’t guard me”. For one night, at least, Randle was right.
*Marcel Huertas made his preseason debut and he made it a memorable one. After airballing his first shot from the field, Marcelinho quickly found his bearings and looked like the “Brazilian Nash” he’s been called over the course of his career. He hit two running, one legged jumpers along the baseline to score his 4 points and dished out 6 assists too. His dimes were especially impressive, many of them the type of reads only guards with tremendous feel can make. A sampling:
He only played a quarter, but after his play I don’t see how Huertas gets cut. His presence slots the rest of the players on the 2nd unit correctly and the team’s depth at PG is just too shallow without him.
*Larry Nance Jr. ended Festus Ezeli with a monster dunk. Who’s going to write the obituary?
*D’Angelo Russell landed lock-legged on an offensive rebound attempt and came up limping afterward. He stayed in the game, but did look a bit gimpy afterwards.
*Speaking of Russell, he again played a lot off the ball even though he started at point guard. He also didn’t shoot too well, making only 1 of his 6 shots (and both of his FT’s). One thing I do want to see more from Russell is coming off screens with more purpose. When he comes off picks he almost always looks to keep his man on his hip rather than trying to burst into open space. If he tried to do more of the latter, he’d probably find himself with more space and more of the floor would open up for him.
*Jordan Clarkson, on the other hand, looked great as a shoot first guard and did well as a ball handler to start possessions when looking for his own. He finished with 17 points on 7-9 shooting and looked under control all night. What he did not have, however, was an assist. This isn’t a big deal per se, but I found it interesting especially after the last game where he was similarly hunting for his own shot.