Preseason wins usually mean nothing as they they don’t count and teams have players on the court who won’t be on the roster in a couple weeks later. But with the Lakers, it’s a little different. They’re going from the worst season in franchise history to a season filled with hope and renewal, and the Lakers winning against the Denver Nuggets 124-115 felt good.
D’Angelo Russell was the hero on Sunday and I have a feeling that will happen almost every night in the upcoming season. D’Angelo exploded for 16 points in the first quarter, eventually sitting down in the late third quarter. It looked like he was done for the night but he got back up late in the fourth and finished the night shooting 13 for 19 for 33 points with a 79% true shooting percentage.
D’Angelo wasn’t the only one looking good out there as Jordan Clarkson had a quietly good game. He finished with 12 points, making two of four three pointers and racking up a couple of assists.
After all the talks of trading Nick Young, the forward showed why the Lakers might have kept him. He scored 14 points, and surprisingly had four rebounds.
Lou Williams scored 25 points with 72% true shooting percentage and showed exactly why he was 6th man of the year in 2014. He may not provide great defense but he will score a lot when needed this season.
Larry Nance, Jr might have stolen the show Friday night but Julius Randle was in the spotlight this time. He has improved each preseason game and tonight was no different. He scored 16 points while shooting over 50%, but the biggest takeaway from the game was his passing. He has five assists and he looked more involved in the passing game leading the team on many fast breaks.
Tarik Black continues to stand out with five points, five rebounds, two steals and one block. He has easily taken over the backup center spot and may start to play in the first unit if he keeps it up.
Brandon Ingram had another quiet day. He only scored four points and most were from free throws in which he only made two of six. While he wasn’t making shots he made a difference on the defensive end as he blocked three shots and had one steal and only one personal foul. His offense may take a while to take shape but his defense and length will continue to bother opposing Forwards.
Some of the biggest takeaways are that the second unit looks like the best lineup when playing. They are the most fun lineup to watch as they’re all athletic, long and play really good defense.
And in terms of fit Nick Young looks like he fits better than Lou Williams as he doesn’t need the ball long to score. Most of his points came off catch and shoot opportunities.
Preseason wins aren’t that important but Sunday’s win felt good. Fans were able to see the improvements that the Lakers made and not just what reporters and writers have told you about. The young guys looked good and the vets were impressive. This looks to be a much better team.
Catch the next Lakers game this Tuesday @ 7:30 PST against the Portland Trail Blazers.