LAS VEGAS — This definitely was a preseason game.
Being a preseason game, it’s just difficult to completely break down this game as it is all about getting reps and developing good habits. Plus we saw a different starting line-up in this contest: LeBron James and Austin Reaves returned to start with Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell. Taurean Prince was the fifth starter. And what we saw on the offensive end for the Lakers was extremely encouraging.
What stood out the most for the Lakers was the amount of three-pointers they put up (20/55!, .364). The way they were putting them up, you would think they’re the Golden State Warriors dynasty or something. I don’t expect them to put up 50 every game but the three could be an actual weapon this season. Because we know how the Lakers are historically when it comes to the shots from distance. The Lakers scored 75 points in the first half.
What also gets Lakers fans excited is the playmaking this team can do. LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell are great in that department but it felt like all of them can make the good extra pass. The chemistry between LeBron and Rui Hachimura is off the charts and no wonder LeBron wants to recreate The Karate Kid with Rui (no, not the Jaden Smith/Jackie Chan version).
And yes, it’s the preseason but it’d be fantastic to see this kind of balance in L.A.’s scoring: 8 players scored in double figures! We know what LeBron can do. We also know what Anthony Davis can do. We just hope they stay healthy. D’Angelo Russell was hot and we hope we can stay consistent with his outside shooting. Reaves wasted no time getting into the swing of things; he had a bit of a three-point duel with Cam Thomas (yes, the Cam Thomas that scored three straight 40-point games last year). Taurean Prince had a much better outing on both ends of the floor. Rui Hachimura led the team in scoring (19) and he came off the bench. Christian Wood showed his scoring prowess. Max Christie has such poise for a young dude. Gabe Vincent gives them more depth at guard. Jaxson Hayes was a great energy guy. Jalen Hood-Schifino will get better; he’s already good at making the right pass. And Maxwell Lewis made some threes and some highlight dunks:
Granted, the defense wasn’t the greatest; the Lakers had a 19-point lead and it dissolved at the end of the game. But it was good to see the young Lakers make some big plays at the end, hold on to the lead, and get the win. The Lakers were 4th in defensive rating after the all-star break last season so that defense will settle in and get better as the season rolls on. Anyway, Brooklyn had a chance to tie the game at the end but Armoni Brooks missed a three.
Of note, Jarred Vanderbilt and Cam Reddish (who sprained his ankle last game) didn’t play in this one.
The Nets were led by Cam Thomas with 26 points while ol’ Laker chum Lonnie Walker IV put in 14 points.
The Lakers resume their preseason against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. They will duke it out at Honda Center in Anaheim.