I’m going to be honest here. The dentist just ruined me today (for the 2nd time in 3 days) and the Lakers are less on my mind than the fact that I’ve looked like Harvey Dent for the past several hours.
In saying that, the Lakers do play tonight and they face off against a super intriguing Suns team that added Chris Paul and Jae Crowder during the offseason. The Suns are a team that I expect to do very well this year, challenging for a playoff spot and, potentially, a trip to the 2nd round if certain things go in their favor. With Paul joining Devin Booker in the backcourt and more gains coming from former #1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton expected this year, this is a team on the rise.
That said, whatever interest I have in watching the new look Suns is dwarfed by my interest in watching LeBron James and Anthony Davis return to the lineup and make their preseason debuts. Frank Vogel said he expects Bron and AD to see some “first half minutes” which is just fine by me. Let them get their feet wet, but do not exert them. In the big picture, they’re two of the 5 best players in the world and I expect they’ll be ready when the time comes to compete in games that actually matter.
This game, does not matter. So…yeah.
Well, I take that back. This game matters in the sense that it’s another opportunity for us to watch 2nd year sensation Talen Horton-Tucker to see what he has in store next for us. I get tempering expectations and I’m all for that. But this kid just had a 33 point, 10 rebound double-double which also saw him hand out 4 assists and tally 4 steals. He did a fair amount of this work against Clippers rotation players, including top end starters Kawhi and PG.
This kid can really play and while building on that performance doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive in the boxscore (that would be difficult), it does mean continuing to show he belongs out there with quality NBA players. Because, if he does that, the claim he’ll make will be for a permanent rotation spot and not just fleeting headlines or preseason respect.
As far as the rest of the team, I’m interested in how they play offensively — particularly from a style standpoint. In game 1 vs. the Clips, the Lakers played a lot of P&R and ended a lot of possessions via isolations. In the 2nd game, they played a much more fluid style, running offense through the high post where their big men (mostly Gasol, but also Harrell) used handoffs and crafty passes to set up teammates for open shots.
The best of what the Lakers will have to offer on offense will be a blend of both these styles, particularly with Bron and AD back in the mix, but how things skew in a game where the stars are back could offer just a sliver of insight into what may be preferred — at least early in the season.
Beyond that, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this one. At least as much as I can while I have a cold compress on my jaw. Ya’ll be good. We’ll have more after the game.
Where you can watch: 6:00pm start time on Spectrum SportsNet and NBA TV.