And finally the pre-season is over and the games can start to count again.
The Lakers closed out their annual pre-season tour with a 6-2 record after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-94 on Friday night in Ontario’s brand new arena.
The Lakers closed their eight-game slate with a six-game winning streak to equal their best pre-season record since the 2005-06 season.
After a dismal defeat to the Clippers in Fresno everything started to click for the team’s second unit. Led by Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza, the reserves started running other team’s backups off the floor (kinda like the end of last regular season). Farmar ended up as the team’s leading scorer in the pre-season, averaging 12.3 points in just over 21-minutes per game. “He was really a spark plug for us this pre-season,” said head coach Phil Jackson.
Other pre-season notes: (ones off the top of my head, if you have others send us an email)
As the pre-season went on Andrew Bynum continued to find his rhythm, getting better with each contest. He looks ready for the season to start.
Pau Gasol shot a silly 64% from the field, actually lowering his percentage by going 3/5 last night.
Sasha Vujacic got his one game in. After going out on the first day of training camp, and subsequently being shut down for a week, it was nice to see the Slovenian sharpshooter get in some live action before the real thing starts. He also dominated the crowd before last night’s game. Don’t give Sasha a mic unless you want him to rock it.
Lamar Odom settling in with the second unit has been fun to watch. Only Phil Jackson knows what the Lakers rotations will look like on opening night and beyond, but if Lamar comes off the bench six-minutes into the game he’s going to cause a lot of problems for the opposing squad. His abilities shines in the open floor game that Farmar and Ariza have been leading and Odom’s overall talent is head-and-shoulders above most of the players he’ll be matching up with.
Bynum and Gasol have been starting together and getting better, but as Mike Trudell pointed out last night, the ability to rotate the two talented bigs in-and-out with different lineups is a “nasty” option to have.
More than anything, NO MAJOR INJURIES… Kobe bumped a knee, but showed last night that he’s good to go. Sasha returned and is ready for the regular season. Josh Powell should be ready to go for Tuesday after being held out of the past two games with a tweaked hamstring. Jackson said that this is the hardest he’s worked a team since he returned to the Lakers and pretty much everyone has come away better for it.
Sasha also told Mike Trudell last night that he elected himself President of the training room during this pre-season…
Even though they’ve played five games in the last seven days, the team will return to the training facility for practice today.