Sessions Strong in Lakers Debut

Despite arriving in Los Angeles on Friday morning without the benefit of a single practice, Ramon Sessions kicked off his Lakers debut in style.

In the 10-minute stretch surrounding the first quarter break, Sessions scored six points on 3-of-5 field goals — including two blow-by layups that had Staples Center buzzing — with two assists to Matt Barnes for three-pointers, plus two rebounds. Over that period, the Lakers outscored the Wolves by 14 points, opening a 42-27 lead when starter Steve Blake checked back in.

“When you have talent like we have in this locker room it makes (getting comfortable) easier for me,” said Sessions. “I did send out an email last night to get some plays … just in case I did play so I was able to know a few of them and it kind of worked out for me.”

Sessions finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting with five assists, four boards and three turnovers in 19 minutes.

“They told me to be aggressive and just attack on the pick and roll, so that’s what I did,” said Sessions.

Kobe Bryant was pleased.

“He’s extremely fast and extremely crafty,” said Bryant. “The conversations I had with him out on the floor about execution and things like that, he seems to have a really high basketball IQ.

“He can score. He can obviously get into the paint as you saw tonight. He’s going to be a feature for our team that opponents are going to have to prepare for, they’re going to have to talk about it and they’re going to have to do something to try and slow him down.”

Bryant acknowledged that Sessions’ ability to get into the paint and create offense takes pressure off him, as No. 24 had been L.A.’s only penetrator from the perimeter before the acquisition of the team’s new point guard.

“Absolutely, you saw that tonight,” Bryant said. “You saw glimpses of it tonight where he handled the ball and got a lot of pick and roll situations, got into the paint and got guys a lot of easy opportunities and broke down the defense.”

Returning to the bench after his opening session, Sessions sat next to assistant coach Quin Snyder to go over play sets, all new to him, on a clipboard. He’d to the same for the first seven minutes of the third quarter, before checking in with 3:30 left as Blake went to the pine with an effective six assists without a turnover.

His first two passes in the period resulted in Kobe Bryant three-pointers, his fourth and fifth of the night to match a season high, getting the Lakers to a 74-58 lead.

Sessions held up fine on defense, spending some time guarding both point and shooting guards, which his solid 6-3 frame allows; his new coach felt like he showed what he could do in a few areas.

“You can see his quickness,” said Mike Brown. “He has a second, third and even fourth gear where he beat everyone down the floor. We put him in the pick and roll, and he was able to get into the teeth of the defense. It was good to see.”

Sessions found an instant connection with Matt Barnes, whose basket cut Sessions rewarded with a pretty pass for a layup that had Barnes to 12 points on 5-of-7 field goals. Barnes would finish with 17 points, matching a season high, and the bench totaled 31 overall.

“I thought Sessions did a nice job in the 19 minutes he played to get the ball to different people,” said Brown. “He got Matt a couple of wide-open looks with dribble drives and (kick out passes).”

He’d be replaced for good by Blake at the 6:15 mark of the fourth quarter, his career record with the Lakers at 1-0.

Saturday’s practice was for Sessions a continued crash course of the team’s plays and play calls on offense, and he stayed afterwards first to go through sets with four teammates and assistant coach John Kuester, then further pick and roll work with Snyder and coach Ettore Messina.

Up next for Sessions and the Lakers is a Sunday evening contest against Utah at Staples Center.