The Lakers start off the 2016-2107 season 1-0 with a 120-114 win over the Rockets. It certainly was not pretty, but the Lakers got the job done.
Luke Walton opted to go with a starting lineup of Russell, Young, Deng, Randle, and Mozgov. It was surprising to see Young get the start over Clarkson, but it panned out very well. Young despite an off shooting night was very active on the defensive end. He pressured Harden full court and was relentless coming off screens.
Clarkson was spectacular off the bench. He continues to make his case as the best player on the Laker. He scored 12 of his 25 in the fourth quarter and helped the Lakers secure the win.
Russell, Randle, Mozgov, and even Ingram all had very productive nights. It was a group effort, as the Lakers showcased their immense potential. They were active on the glass and the defensive end and shot the ball very well.
Defensively, the Lakers still have some work to do. They allowed 114 points and at times looked lost as they gave the Rockets several easy baskets. However, they put the clamps on the Rockets when it mattered. The Rockets only scored 18 points in the fourth quarter.
While todays starting lineup could very well change, I think it is an effective lineup. Clarkson can be that huge spark off the bench and if Young can continue to provide the defensive effort as he did tonight then I see no reason to change the lineup.
The Lakers next game is on Friday against the Jazz, who will be playing without Gordon Hayward and maybe even Derrick Favors. 2-0 could very well be possible.
The Los Angeles Lakers won their preseason opener over the Sacramento Kings 103-84. The score indicates a blowout, but the Lakers were down 13 at one point. A 20-1 fourth quarter run helped the Lakers secure the win.
Tonight, fans got a real good look at their Lakers team. They might not have a star studded starting lineup, but they are immensely deep. Coach Walton went with a lineup of Russell, Williams, Deng, Randle, and Mozgov. It surprised many to see Clarkson, arguably the team’s best player, come off the bench. The starting 5 was solid. They struggled a bit on offense with the turnovers but managed to keep it close with their defense.
The star of the show was Tarik Black. Clarkson did well with 12 points, but that much was expected given how talented he is. Black, on the other hand, surprised many with his play. He finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds. He was too fast for opposing centers and too strong for the forwards to guard. The Lakers are very deep at the power forward and center position. If Black wants to get minutes, he will need to keep up this kind of play.
The newly added veterans had solid performances. Mozgov and Deng are talented enough players to keep the Lakers competitive in more games than not. Jose Calderon impressed with his veteran presence. He was directing traffic and helped orchestrate the 20-1 run.
The big three of Randle, Russell and Ingram were slightly disappointing. They showed flashes of brilliance but had mediocre games.
Anthony Brown and Thomas Robinson were spark plugs off the bench. They played 7 minutes each; Brown had 10 points of 100% shooting, and Robinson had 8 points and 7 rebounds.
The Lakers turned in a great overall effort. Luke Walton’s philosophies of ball movement and defense were evident in today’s game as well. The Lakers’ staggering depth along with Luke’s coaching will definitely help the team win more games than last year.