The Lakers started off preseason with a win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. It was an altogether strong showing for the Purple and Gold in their first contest of the season.
The night started off with something that is becoming quite a phenomenon in pro sports. The Lakers began the game by interlocking arms during the national anthem. What first started with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national Anthem to protest police brutality has led to numerous players across the NFL and now NBA using some form of protest to bring awareness to the issues at hand.
While the game may have started out in a serious tone it sure didn’t end that way. Through 3 quarters the Lakers were getting open and overall playing more fundamentally sound but weren’t executing.
But early the fourth quarter the Lakers went on a 23-1 run. They exploded offensively and locked down the Kings to win 103 to 84. They may not win a lot of games during the season but the Lakers looked much better playing under Luke Walton.
The Lakers are an interesting team with a big spotlight on them and Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell have the most attention on them as #2 picks. Luckily both were getting open, passing the ball, and looked good in Walton’s new system. However, they just couldn’t hit the mark as they only made two of 13 shots. While Ingram only scored two points, the latest #2 pick still made an impact elsewhere, blocking shots and disrupting the Kings’ offense.
While he may not have had the biggest light on him, Larry Nance, Jr. had the biggest impact on the court as he filled up the box score with nine points, four rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and two steals. He was everywhere on the court with an abundance of energy playing extremely smart basketball.
Tarik Black and Jordan Clarkson were also extremely impactful. Black scored 15 points, grabbed five boards and a couple steals, blocks and assists. Meanwhile, Clarkson scored 12 points, grabbed six boards and dished out one assist and steal. 50 Shades of Shade has officially begun for Black, and Clarkson showed great defensive improvement from where he was when the season ended. I’m looking forward to more Pick & Rolls from them.
Some H=honorable mentions from today’s game should include Julius Randle, Timofy Mozgov, and Anthony Brown. The Lakers’ front-court racked up a good amount of rebounds, and scored a combined 12 points while playing well defensively. But what stood out to me was Anthony Brown shooting four of four from the field, including two three-pointers, and getting a few rebounds. Sure it was against the Kings’ reserves but making open shots is what he needs to do and he executed.
The Lakers may be young and inexperienced but they are learning a brand new system which is completely different from Byron Scott’s, and they’re taking it in stride. They don’t look ready for the regular season, but they showed some positives to go with the negatives and it will be an interesting journey to see them progress throughout the preseason.
Make sure to catch the next Lakers game at 7:30 PST this Friday against the Denver Nuggets.