The Lakers went to 0-5 in the preseason on Friday. The Lakers as a whole played decently, but ultimately poor transition defense and turnovers did them in, in the second half.
-The offense looked rather fluid tonight. They ran a ton of Princeton sets, most likely on purpose, instead of pick and roll with Nash, probably to get a look an extended look at how well they could run it in-game. And it turned in good results–as the Lakers finally shot over 40% for the first time this preseason, posting a 46.6% from the field.
-Kobe looked really good tonight. Of all the Lakers, Kobe seems to be benefiting the most from the combination of the Princeton offense and Steve Nash. He shot 7-12 tonight and made 8-11 free throws on route to 22 points. The good thing about that though, was that most of those shots came off of cuts to the basket and in transition. And when there was a Kobe isolation, it was on a smaller defender, either Isaiah Thomas (5’9″) or Marcus Thornton (6’4″) and it led to him getting to the free throw line.
-Devin Ebanks. OR SHOULD I SAY THREEBANKS??? Devin Ebanks was extremely impressive tonight, scoring 20 points on 7-10 from the floor, including 4-5 from three and two very impressive layups off the dribble, that we’ve never really seen Devin be able to do before. He looked much more under control and chose his spots. If he can do half of what he did tonight on a consistent basis, it would be a major help to the Lakers bench
-Pau looks really slow. Mike Brown gave Pau the night off on Tuesday against the Jazz….and now we know why. Pau not only looked very slow, but also very in-explosive, not being able to dunk or even put in a lot of easy ones at the rim. I’m not sure if this is a result of him not being in shape, or just old age. If you look at the box score, you’ll see Pau had 20 points on 8-15 shooting and 6 rebounds. But believe me, it was quite the poor game from Pau Gasol.
-The Lakers got killed in transition. The Lakers gave up 28 fast break points. Ultimately that was the deciding factor in the game, as the Kings were continuously grabbing long rebounds and pushing the ball down court. The Lakers were only out rebounded by 2, but it seemed like a lot more than that. The 18 turnovers the Lakers committed certainly didn’t help the cause either. Simply put, the Lakers just didn’t make it down court fast enough.
-Dwight Howard makes his return. Sunday the Lakers take on the Kings once again, this time at Staples Center–and most likely with Dwight Howard. I don’t expect Dwight to come back and play like the dominating force he was before the injury right away. It’ll probably take him a couple of games to shake off the rust. Which is exactly why getting some preseason action will be so important for him. I expect him to play somewhere between 15-20 minutes Sunday. Mike Brown also said that the starters will end the game on Sunday if it is close. Don’t be surprised if Mike Brown ends the game with Sacre, not wanting to over-do it with Dwight.
Sunday night at 6:30 P.M. PST at Staples Center, the Dwight Howard era begins for the Lakers.