The Los Angeles Lakers lost Kobe Bryant due to an injury to his left knee that he suffered against the Memphis Grizzlies. Many started to think and talk about the Lakers having to tank now. They have no point guards and Bryant is expected to miss six weeks.
It did not matter against the Minnesota Timberwolves because the Lakers played an impressive game to come out on top 104-91. The Lakers lost their first meeting with the Timberwolves back when Nash only played 13 minutes before sitting out the game due to back issues. Even though the Lakers have been hit with big injuries they managed to move on and show that they can still be entertaining and stay competitive.
Pau Gasol had a big game with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists, even hitting a big three in the fourth quarter to push the Lakers lead. Both Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry also hit double digits in the starting lineup. Meeks hit some difficult shots in the game to give him 17 points while Xavier Henry started at point guard and finished with 21 points and 4 assists. Off the bench, Nicky Young provided some great energy and offense with 25 points to lead his team in scoring, and hitting a total of four three-pointers. It was a great team effort and it was the second game in a row with Pau having a great offensive game after struggling a few games ago.
The Lakers did sign a new point guard in Kendall Marshall, a former Phoenix Sun lottery pick, but he did not play in the game. Chris Kaman, who had fallen out of the rotation played 16 minutes and finished with six points. The team will be on the road again and will face the Golden State Warriors tomorrow, in a game that can put them back over the .500 mark.
By Kevin R. Linares
After defeating their crosstown rivals in what was a big win to start off the season, the Lakers could not get a win in their first road game of the season. The Lakers lost 125-94 to the Golden State Warriors who had control of the game throughout the night.
The Lakers did not look nothing like the team that had just beaten a Clipper team that is expected to have a promising season. It was a second game of a back to back against a talented team but no Laker played more than 28 minutes in the game against the Clippers. Steve Nash did not play in the game because the Lakers will be looking to rest him on back to back games throughout the season to prevent any setbacks.
Jodie Meeks was added to the starting line-up while Steve Blake moved to the point guard position. The Lakers could not get a rhythm going and played with a lot less speed and aggressiveness than many expected after seeing the bench score 76 points on opening night. Meeks and Xavier Henry both led the team in scoring with 14 points each while Pau Gasol did not have his best game scored 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
The Warriors looked like a team that was having fun shooting a total of 15 three pointers and had the Lakers struggling on both ends of the floor. Klay Thompson grabbed his career high scoring 38 points while David Lee added 24. The Lakers return back to Los Angeles on Friday and will play against the Western Conference champions San Antonio Spurs.
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers entered this season with a lot less expectations than they faced last season. Dwight Howard is in Houston, Metta World Peace is in New York and Kobe Bryant is still recovering from his injury. Many people were just hoping the Clippers would not embarrass the Lakers on opening night. A starting line-up that featured a player that did not play at all last season and an aching Steve Nash would be no match for stacked team in the Clippers.
When the final buzzer went off and you looked at the scoreboard it said 116-103, in favor of the Lakers. A line-up that did not have the big names (other than Gasol and Nash) some might have hoped it would but had plenty of young players wearing the purple and gold for the first time had Laker fans smiling and Doc Rivers frowning. The Lakers bench was a big factor in the game scoring a total of 76 points, the third highest in team history. New Laker Xavier Henry led the team in scoring and posted his career high with 22 points coming off the bench. The next player with the most points was Jordan Farmar with a total of 16 points adding six assists.
The team came into the game playing with fast pace but the Clippers were looking like they could control the game. Blake Griffin was a handful and with a smaller starting line-up the Lakers were having trouble getting rebounds and protecting the rim. The game stayed close the whole way and it seemed as if perhaps Chris Paul will just take over the game and the Clippers would walk away with the win. Pau Gasol, who finished the game with 15 points, seemed to be the only player in the starting line-up to have a good game going leading to Mike D’Antoni giving the bench players an opportunity they gladly took. All of the bench players that played scored, five of them finished the game in double digits.
Nick Young struggled offensively in the first half but found his rhythm as the game went on scoring 13 points. Wes Johnson, who is expected to play an important role off the bench this season did not have a big impact in the game only scoring 3 points but it did not matter because his teammates picked it up. Farmar showed he can take control of a game as he did a few times in the preseason having a few big plays.
The Lakers will take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow in what will be a similar match up as the Clippers in terms of their roster and style of play. The purple and gold will look to continue with the same energy and aggressiveness they had today and beat another team that is expected to be in the top of the Western Conference standings.
By Kevin R. Linares
Since injuring his Achilles there have been many reports of Kobe Bryant being well ahead of schedule. The normal time table for a player coming back from an Achilles injury is 9 to 12 months and so far Kobe has shown great signs of recovery since the injury that took place in the final week of the regular season back in April against the Golden State Warriors.
Bryant has allowed fans to view some of his progress on social media website Instagram. He posted a video of him doing toe curls using marbles and of him running on a anti-gravity treadmill. Now he has posted his first Vine video: https://vine.co/v/hiYWqAIuLlB . The video shows Bryant jumping off a diving board which again indicates how far he is coming along during his rehab.
With the NBA season approaching it is a great sign to see Bryant’s recovery come along quickly but it is still not certain that he will be ready for the preseason or even the first game of the regular season that will take be against none other than the Los Angeles Clippers. A game that he will more realistically be and definitely want to be ready for is against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets in November.
Whenever it is that Bryant returns to the court it will be best that he makes sure he is fully recovered. Bryant is now 35-years old and next season will once again join teammates Pau Gasol and Steve Nash who were not 100 percent last season. With the Lakers picking up younger players this free agency it will be interesting to see if Kobe will continue to try and average the same minutes he has been in games or if he will allow for his minutes to be slightly reduced.