LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers are now 2-2 in preseason as they lost to the Golden State Warriors once again, 129-125. The Lakers are now 0-2 against the Dubs in this session before the season.
But as I’ve reiterated many times, it’s not about the result of these games as the real thing doesn’t start until the 24th when the Lakers take on the defending champion Denver Nuggets. It’s about how the chemistry and continuity of these Lakers and it’s about getting run for the younger guys.
The one thing that stands out the most is D’Angelo Russell continuing his stellar play. On both ends of the floor, mind you. It’s great that he is still shooting the ball very well and has been aces on setting up his teammates. But the fact that he stays in front of his man and has gotten some good steals on the defensive end is extremely encouraging. If he’s able to be, at least, decent on that part of the floor, the Lakers might be an even more challenging team to beat.
It’s looking more and more likely that Taurean Prince might be the fifth starter on this team. Prince usually doesn’t go beyond what he can do and that’s a skill in itself. He knows that it’s his role to sink the threes and play hellish defense. Well, he caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 12 points and making all four of his field goal attempts. Knowing he can provide that sort of ammo will really help the Lakers.
It was a bit intense in that game as Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves each received technical fouls. In the very next play after getting teed up, Austin faked a handoff and took off for the two-handed slam.
Austin Reaves with the SLAM🔥 pic.twitter.com/bwNfkLQKQk— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) October 14, 2023
Maybe giving Austin Reaves a tech also gives him a +10 on his dunk rating. Also, Reaves was all over the place defensively as well. He had one steal at halfcourt and, before he fell out of bounds, was able to somehow throw a lob pass to Jaxson Hayes at the rim. Hayes missed the lay-up but it was an incredible play by Austin.
It’s good to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis out there, too. We saw a bit more playmaking from Davis as well as a couple of three-point attempts.
Speaking of threes, the Lakers made 10 of them in the first period. They ended the game at 16/36 (.444) but just the fact that they’re capable of making that many threes is salivating.
Unfortunately, the Lakers did fall short against the Warriors. The Lakers had a chance to tie the game as they were down three with 10 seconds left but the young Lakers really rushed everything. D’Moi Hodge missed an erratic near-30-footer and while they got the board, Alex Fudge stepped out of bounds on the sideline as he frantically tried to get a shot off.
Amongst the young Lakers, Colin Castleton really stood out to me as his hustle (8 points, 7 boards) kept the Lakers going. Jalen Hood-Schifino continues to struggle on the field but he’s making the right passes (5 assists). We’re going to see most of this youth in their G-League team, the South Bay Lakers.
All Laker starters had double figures; they were led by Taurean Prince with 17 points. Christian Wood had a good game off the bench with 13 points and if he can stay focused, he’d be such a bonus for this team. This Lakers depth seems to be getting scarier the more I watch them play. As for the Warriors, Jonathan Kuminga led them again with 26 points while Stephen Curry scored 18. Draymond Green didn’t suit up as he is out with an ankle injury until probably the end of the month. And it is still weird to see Chris Paul in a Golden State uni.
The Lakers will get the new-look Bucks on Sunday before finishing up their preseason against another team that acquired a high-scoring guard in Phoenix. We can hardly wait for the regular season to begin.