We followed along throughout L.A.’s Purple vs. White open scrimmage at USC’s Galen Center, with some comments for each quarter.
Purple Starters: Blake, Bryant, Barnes, Gasol and Bynum
White: Morris, Kapono, Walton, Artest and McRoberts
10:00 Just because the white team had no way of dealing with twin 7-footers Bynum and Gasol didn’t mean the starters were going to lay off, with Gasol getting a 17-foot jumper, then 1-of-2 free throws and finally a tip in to open the scoring at 5-0.
8:30 Much to the dismay of the Galen Center audience, Jason Kapono stripped Kobe on the way up for what looked to have been a powerful two-handed dunk. Kobe laughed as Kapono gave him a quick arm hug heading back up the floor. Meanwhile, Barnes answered the first white bucket, a three from Kapono, with a corner three of his own to make it 9-3.
1:06: Bynum, the early star of training camp if you ask assistant coach Chuck Person, dominated in the first quarter, leading purple with eight points and three boards, helping the starters towards a 27-13 lead after one.
10:00 Quick line up notes: Bynum switched over to the white team so he and Gasol could guard each other and make things at least somewhat fair, while Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris came over to the starters. Ebanks continued an impressive scrimmage by hitting his third jumper, this time off a curl, with Bryant providing the assist.
8:00 A three-pointer from Steve Blake – who started the game with (healthy) Derek Fisher resting due to a full practice that day – went straight through, to be countered by a pretty baseline jumper from Kobe. Blake looked good running the first unit, feeling much more comfortable heading into the season as he’s simply more familiar with the personnel.
5:50 Gasol continued to look terrific, this time bringing Bynum out on the perimeter before floating a jumper. He’d converted an and-1 on the previous possession to reach a game-high 12 points. We shouldn’t forget that he’s the NBA’s most skilled big man.
0:00 One takeaway from the first half: L.A.’s three stars all looked very strong. Bryant moved very well (we’d all heard about how “great” his knee felt thanks to some offseason treatment in Germany), and both Gasol and Bynum did whatever they wanted inside. Other standouts were Barnes, looking fully healthy for the first time since injuring his knee in January, and newcomer Josh McRoberts, who showed how valuable his activity off the ball and on the glass can be.
11:00 As promised by Mike Brown, Metta World Peace got several post up opportunities as the leader of the second unit. So strong on the block for really any other NBA small forward, MWP this time scored over Bryant.
7:33 Those that took the time to watch the L.A. D-Fenders open 6-2 in the D-League got to see Zach Andrews get all nasty on a bunch of dunks. He here added a few more, highlighted by a sick baseline reverse that came just after former NBA dunk champ Gerald Green missed his own attempted hammer dunk on the other end.
4:21 Enjoyed this: after Bynum and Gasol both dove on the floor for a loose ball, Barnes came over to help them up. But the collective weight of the two 7-footers actually pulled Barnes to the floor. Nice. Meanwhile, the man with the NBA’s sixth highest career three-point field goal percentage (.437), Kapono, nailed another bomb. Moments later, Kapono actually passed up an open shot. Mike Brown: “I didn’t bring you here to pass it.” Same possession: Kapono swishes a three.
0:00 Bynum, Gasol and Kobe all finished with 14 points in the three quarters, Kapono and Ebanks had 12 apiece and Barnes added 10. There would be no fourth quarter, as you can see when there’s no coverage of a fourth quarter below. Mike Brown was impressed with his small forwards and bigs, and said “Kobe was Kobe.” Mistakes were plentiful at both ends, as the bigs were able to catch too easily and transition D was lacking, but all in all, a solid debut scrimmage for a hungry-looking group of Lakers.