Lakers Roll Past Soncis
Great game, guys. It was only our first victory in the preseason, but nontheless it felt great to come out on top with all the Kobe drama. The players proved that they could keep their poise and not allow this situation to become a distraction.
Vladimir Radmanovic- Vlad never got going in this one. While everyone who played seemed to perform well, Vlad just couldn't get into any type of flow. He needs to realize how dangerous we would be if a guy like him would give us something, anything. He may struggle finding his role this year, but games like this one is what gets everyone worried.
Ronny Turiaf- How can you not love this guy? We started out of the gate a little flat, allowing Seattle to jump ahead by 9 early. But Ronny was the one who gave us the energy and got the team going. This is why Phil is considering starting him, his energy will be a huge plus when we start to struggle at a certain point during the game.
Kwame Brown- It's good to see Kwame back. He probably realized that he had better return quickly and show everyone something if he still wants to start. Difficult to get into a rhythm if you only play 9 minuets, but hopefully that will increase as we move forward. Of course, the only reason his minuets are so limited is because of his injuries. That's another reason why I personally don't like him starting. We need to start someone who we can depend on to play more than half the season. He still has a decent amount of time though to prove why he deserves that starting spot.
Kobe Bryant- This new role of his as facilitator is starting to grow on me. Over the summer, I contemplated often of how Kobe would work best this season offensively. I started thinking about Bynum developing into that big guy we can throw the ball to and get results, about Lamar being hungry and having that season we've been waiting for. I like this role for Kobe.
He didn't get off to such a hot start. Bad passes, fumbling the ball, etc, but he picked it up well enough in the second half to get an A- from me.
Derek Fisher- Not one of Fish's better games, but of course it's no big deal. We really need to see what we can get out of our other 3 point guards, we already know what Fish will provide. He's open to coming off the bench, but I like him as a starter. I just feel a lot more comfortable having a player with experience starting in the backcourt with Kobe. We've somehow survived Atkins (of course he isn't young, but he certainly played like it) and Smush. Having Fish is like a breath of fresh air. He'll be fine.
Luke Walton- I loved the way that Luke lead the bench. Farmar seemed to be the primary leader, but Luke took charge in the second half also. He said during the summer that he'd like to become a leader, and I think he just might be able to do that with the second unit. They need someone out there who knows the offense.
He was a little more aggressive than he normally is, but I liked that a little bit. His jumper is as fluid as it's ever been, and as I said, he lead the second unit. Strong performance for him.
Andrew Bynum- This is what we've been waiting for. I knew after the way last season ended for him, even before the Kobe video, that this would end up being his breakout year. The year he gives us a near double double every night. Not every once in awhile.
19 points and 10 rebounds? I can get used to that. The guards feeding him more consistently? I can get used to that too. That was something they didn't do well the first two games. 11 shots is good. That's about how much he should be getting during the season when Lamar is back, as long as he's making the most of his touches. Great game, Andrew.
Brian Cook- It's about time Cookie woke up. He recognized that his minuets were in jeopardy when we re-signed Mihm. I loved him in this game. He stayed under control and was a key part of our bench onslaught. He looks a lot slimmer this year and he's moving better. This is what we need from you this year, damnit!
Jordan Farmar- Jordan was great tonight also. He, along with Cookie, was key for the bench in this win. I love him being the backup point guard this season, and he showed why. Fans can say what they want about him having a "boring" game, but it's the exact opposite for me. Any pure basketball fan loves to watch him play when he does well. He controlled everything and led the way when we blew the game open in the 2nd. He was both passing, scoring, and coming up with steals while the team benefited to a great deal. For the love of God, play like this all season.
Phil has some decisions to make. Based on how they played, it'll be a tough call determining who starts, the rotations, etc. Everyone is looking good. Kobe playing facilitator, I think, will be a much needed boost. The players really benefited from what he created for them and it will only get better once the season starts. He and Lamar are basically switching roles this season, and just imagine what moving Lamar to the wing and focusing on scoring will add. That's a scary thought.
The players played a lot smarter offensively in this one than they did the first two games. A basic play at first was Kobe bringing the ball up, then finding someone for a quick jumper. You aren't going anywhere with that. That was why the bigs couldn't get involved in the offense. They weren't getting the ball enough and they weren't even all the way back by the time someone took a shot, so they couldn't get rebounds either.
But in this game, however, they didn't make themselves so limited offensively. Instead of just rushing up a quick shot, they ran the offense. It was still a fairly quick pace, and they were still able to feed the bigs (namely Bynum) enough. If they run the offense that smart all season, wow...
Let's still not forget, though, that Seattle is still one of the worse teams in the league. We looked great, but the defense was still porous. Seattle didn't have any player to go to on a consistent basis outside of Durant, yet we still gave up 100. That's not good. AT ALL.
Once again, Phil has some tough decisions to make. I like Ronny starting at PF and Bynum as the center. What does that mean for others like Vlad, Kwame, Crittenton, and Sasha? It means to step up to the plate and show us why you're the one that we need to start. Bynum, Farmar, and Cookie have polished their games so well, you can see yourself in them. If we play all season the way we played Thursday with this lineup:
We'll be a lot better than people think.