The Starting Five
With Kwame again out with an injury, it was Chris Mihm getting the start. Chris was one of three Lakers with a double double. Mihm added two blocks to his 10/10 game in 21 minutes. He looks to be getting back to his old self, which is a solid player. Odom made his debut and while skinny, he was still effective, as he tossed up 18-10-2. He worked on the defensive end, showed some energy. Turiaf was spectacular on defense. He is the best defender not named Kobe and he looks to get better and better. Although he had just 2 boards, he added 11 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, and two blocks in an all-around solid effort. Kobe and Fisher were solid as usual despite a lot of TOs. Kobe finished at 30-7-7 and 4 steals while Fisher added 11-9 and a steal. Fisher didn't look very good on offense against Telfair when Telfair got hot, but Fish did a solid job against a much larger Jaric.
The Pine Riders
Get used to hearing this: Andrew Bynum was impressive. Another double/double and 3 blocks in 23 minutes. Solid D from Bynum, one of his best efforts I've seen from him. Walton provided some amazing passes and some boneheaded plays. I like him with the second unit. Vlad and Sasha are the same player: they shot 9 times in a combined 16 minutes, scored 10 points, and did little else. Farmar showed glimpses as usual, but his overall line is not going to impress anyone. He is going to learn to run that offense with such a temp it is going to be incredible, but he has to shoot something other than a three pointer.
What did I like?
Just 65 points yielded over the last three quarters of the game and LA looked like Showtime for a good four minutes in this one. That's saying a lot. LA handed out 28 assists, got to the line for a ridiculous 41 FTA, blocked 7 shots, and recorded 10 steals. Lots of nice, crisp ball movement out there, lots of positive reinforcement, lots of smiles.
What did I dislike?
Still an inability to cover the three-point shooter (8-21 for Minnesota), which should be a concern going forward. Add that to 18 TO and that's a recipe for a loss against any quality team.
This team is absolutely better than LA's team last season. Absolutely better. Four days of rest and strategy before a road trip that begins with a showdown of THE measuring stick in the NBA: San Anton. LA fans should be thankful for the beautiful display of ball at times tonight. A work of art. And three double doubles.