Below is a running diary of L.A.’s preseason opener from Fresno against the Warriors, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Sacre*
Warriors: J. Jack, K. Thompton, B. Rush, D. Lee, F. Ezeli
*Dwight Howard (back) sat out the first game.
Welcome back, folks! Glad to have you back in the mix for another Lakers season, one that promises to be intriguing with one of the best offseasons in NBA history, in which a two-time MVP and 3-time Defensive POY join Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the rest of the gang. We’ll have a running diary in case you miss anything from the games, or to supplement the broadcast, every time L.A. takes the court.
6:00 Behind some pretty Steve Nash passes and just as aesthetically pleasing Pau Gasol finishes, the Lakers opened with a 16-6 run to start the preseason. Dwight Howard looked on from the bench, smiling while sporting a bow tie … the fact that rookie Robert Sacre and not Jordan Hill started is likely good news re: Howard’s back, as Mike Brown wants to keep the rotation as is perhaps because Howard won’t be out too long.
0:00 The player Mike Brown seemed most pleased with in the first week of camp? If you get past the starters, it was certainly Jordan Hill, who came in for Sacre and promptly hit a 20-foot jumper, something he said he worked hard on in the offseason. The Lakers closed the quarter with a 26-17 lead, if against a Warriors team missing its two best players (Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut).
9:20 While Steve Blake, Antawn Jamison and Hill will be staples of the second unit, the backup two guard spot will see some competition between Devin Ebanks – who got the nod here and put L.A. up 10 with a corner three – and Jodie Meeks, with Andrew Goudelock also potentially factoring in. Meeks is a more natural two, so Ebanks may see the court as a three when Jamison plays four. This is what preseason’s for, to see who’s going to earn some regular season burn. Unrelated: MWP had three steals in the first quarter.
4:30 The second World Peace three of the quarter came thanks to Hill’s work on the O glass, and he followed with a nice cut to the hoop to draw a foul on the next possession. Two makes got him to 10 points to lead all scorers early, L.A. holding a 46-37 edge. Golden State got a late three from Klay Thompson to cut the lead down a bit, but the margin was 56-49 at the break, the starters likely done for the evening after a pretty solid overall performance.
8:22 If you love scoop shots, finger rolls and floaters from weird angles that usually go in, you’re going to enjoy watching Jamison play. A step-through finger roll off glass put L.A. up 66-58 early in the third, with the starters all resting on the bench. And that would be the last time the Lakers reserves would score in a while…
4:38 Our first look at Jodie Meeks and Earl Clark, both new to L.A., came with Golden State on a Lee-inspired run that opened a 74-66 lead. The run kept going until back-to-back Thompson threes capped a 22-0 run, putting L.A. in a 14-point hole.
9:41 The Warriors run, literally, went all the way to 35-0, with Golden State playing its usual second unit against a group of LAL reserves that had literally never played with one another: Darius Morris, Meeks, Clark, Reeves Nelson and Sacre. We’d gone 10 minutes without a point.
0:00 The final: 110-83, thanks to that massive second half run against a Lakers team that saw all 20 guys see game action, and no starters play after the break. After the game, Mike Brown offered his takeaway from the first half: “We’re going to get some great shots.” Indeed, the Lakers got a lot of wide open shots, a product of Nash pick and rolls in addition to flowing offense out of Princeton sets. If nothing else, that’s a nice positive to take out of Fresno, particularly when L.A. has seven more preseason games to fine tune everything … not to mention – at some point – welcome Dwight Howard back.