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.