After two weeks of training camp, NBA players want nothing more than to see a different color jersey. As it were, a given player spends each day draped to a teammates’ hip, challenging his every move, trying to earn his minutes.
But then, mercifully, another team comes along; in this case for L.A., it’s Golden State that comes along, three times.
In 13 days.
That’s why it was no surprise that neither team came out playing like it were the preseason, instead exchanging (the opposite of) pleasantries in a hotly-contested first quarter. The first salvo was Kobe Bryant inspired, leading to a 17-4 Lakers burst behind six straight Bryant points to start the game. The Warriors, however, were sick enough of watching L.A. score this preseason to battle back and trail by just eight at the quarter’s close, 29-21.
Then in the second quarter, the intensity flared to the point that L.A.’s Josh Powell and G.S.’s Anthony Randolph fought for a loose ball for a full four seconds after the whistle was blown for a jump ball, neither willing to cede an inch.
Where’s the Dalai Lama when you need him?
Eventually, the teams would calm down (a bit) and play some basketball, the Lakers holding onto a slim lead until Golden State jumped ahead for the first time halfway through the third quarter when Anthony Morrow – last season’s leading three-point shooter as an undrafted rookie – hit back-to-back triples.
Punching back was the Lakers’ second unit, sparked by the athleticism of Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown, as they collectively led an 11-2 run to close the third with a 84-79 lead. Yet Golden State wouldn’t wither away, instead opening the fourth on a 7-2 streak to again tie the game.
Next, Farmar was at it again, setting up three buckets and scoring five points in the first six minutes of the period to swing the pendulum back in L.A.’s favor, the home team posting a 98-92 lead with 6:00 to play. Stepping up when Farmar went to the bench were Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison, who knocked home back-to-back buckets in the final minutes, allowing Lamar Odom (who came off the bench when rookie Tony Gaffney had to leave after falling on his back) to nail a dagger three from the top of the key with 1:05 to play, sealing L.A.’s fifth preseason win in six attempts.
Good thing these teams don’t face off until Nov. 28th in Oakland … They need a bit of time to see some different colored jerseys.
4 Threes made for Warriors second-year guard Anthony Morrow through three quarter, the same amount as L.A.’s team (4-for-13).
8 Lakers players to notch an assist in the first half, as the team dimed on 15-of-19 field goals. Ron Artest led the way with five of his own, and finished with a team-high eight on the night in 28 minutes.
20 More points for Andrew Bynum, now averaging 20.3 for the preseason, good for third in the NBA. He needed just 11 field goal attempts and six foul shots (making seven and six, respectively) to get there in 30 minutes, adding nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a terrific effort.
21 Team-high points scored by Kobe Bryant, who made 7-of-12 shots and all six free throws in addition to five rebounds, three assists and three steals in nearly 29 minutes.
50.6 L.A.’s field goal percentage on the night.