SAN FRANCISCO — The session before the season has started as the Los Angeles Lakers played a preseason game against the team that they defeated in last year’s playoffs, the Golden State Warriors.
I feel like this has to be said every year but this is the preseason. It would be nice to win the game but ultimately, it doesn’t count since it’s not even the NBA regular season yet. But what does matter is how they looked on the court; the results are irrelevant. By the way, the result was that the Dubs defeated the Lakers, 125-108.
LeBron James and Austin Reaves sat out this game. But as we’ll find out in our season preview right before the regular season starts, the Lakers are a deep team. Much deeper than they were at the start of last season.
Being the preseason, we weren’t going to see the stars for the whole game. But this is where teams tinker with their line-ups. In the first half, the offense was carried by Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell. The other starters for the Lakers were Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt. It was nice to see Vanderbilt make some corner threes. Davis also made back-to-back threes himself. Russell also did a great job playmaking (5 assists and 0 turnovers) in that first half. So the big men shooting threes might be a little something to watch for this season. D’Lo didn’t have the best postseason last year and he’s certainly capable of more. At least, head coach Darvin Ham gave him the confidence to be the starting point guard once again.
Other notable notes? Goodness, the Lakers are a big team. It’s one thing when we’re talking about the acquisitions being made but it’s another to see their players on the court. Davis may not be the biggest at center at 6’10” but Vanderbilt (6’9″), Hachimura (6’8″), Christian Wood (6’10”), and Jaxson Hayes (6’11”) will flank him. Those are some large dudes. And they’re all very mobile, too.
The Warriors built an 18-point lead in the second quarter before the Lakers cut the deficit to 7 by the halftime break. D’Angelo Russell made an unbelievable three-quarter court shot that was after the buzzer but bizarrely, the refs had the teams play the last 0.6 seconds of the first half before the third quarter commenced.
The Dubs then broke it open with a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter as Jonathan Kuminga showed out. As expected, the stars didn’t play in the second half but it’s good to see the supporting cast on both teams and show what they’re capable of. And on kind of a hilarious note, new Laker wing Taurean Prince fouled out in under 13 minutes of play.
Three Lakers had 15 points to lead in scoring (D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Davis, Max Christie). Max looked very comfortable out on the court as he’s put on some meat in the summer to withstand the rigors of a long regular season. Rui Hachimura was the only other Laker that scored in double figs with 12 points. Every Laker that got on the court scored. Also want to make a note that Jalen Hood-Schifino got better on the court as time went on but we’re going to see some rookie jitters early. Cam Reddish also injured his right ankle in the fourth. Hopefully, he’s all right.
The Warriors were led by Jonathan Kuminga with 24 points; he looked really good out there. Moses Moody scored 15 points while first round pick Brandon Podziemski had 11. It was weird to see Chris Paul in a Dubs uni and it’s going to hit even harder once the regular season starts.
Like I said, the results don’t matter here. The coaches and players are all feeling out the process. The Lakers will play five more games in the preseason before the real thing starts on the 24th.
The Lakers will play in Las Vegas against the Brooklyn Nets. Perhaps LeBron James will play in this game and it’ll be his chance to feel things out as they ease into the regular season.