The defending NBA World Champion Los Angeles Lakers are good. I mean, really good! In beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-99 the Lakers set the franchise record for best road start in their history. That is a history that started in 1947! Believe me when I say that there have been some very good teams that wore Lakers jerseys in all those years, but none started 7-0 on the road. The skeptic might say that toad games are different this season, and they would be right. But games still have to be won and the Lakers continue to do just that!
Star of the Game
Lets be honest, LeBron James could be inserted into this space every time for every game. He’s that good. Even at 36, he’s that good! Tonight, he contributed 26 pts, 6 rbs and 7 asts. So, ya, we could absolutely call this the “LBJ Star of the Game” and maybe we should! But, it’s good to shine the star-light on others from time to time and yesterday that light shines on Montrezl Harrell. He had a complete game with 21 pts and 6 rbs. Most impressive for the reigning Sixth Man of the year is how he got his points. Yes, he bullied people under the rim, as he is known to do. But, he also put in turnaround jumpshots and driving twisting layups that highlighted his versatility. Much like the Lakers, Trezz seems to have improved over last year. Last year was pretty good for both the Lakers and Trezz. so imagine thats ahead!
When the Lakers did this to the Rockets in their game before this one that team blew up. They traded their best player in James Harden and decided to start-over. The humiliation the Lakers put on them must of had something to do with that decision, right? So, the biggest concern after this game is for the Thunder. Are there any rumors that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is available? Might they relocate to Vancouver? I hope not! The Thunder have a nice future ahead of them despite the Lakers destroying them. They shouldn’t take it personal, its just the Lakers way!
When we created this template for game recaps we envisioned “Surprise Contribution” to be the place where we wrote about a rookie who got time and did well. Maybe a veteran who was pining away in the G-League who got minutes and did well. It was never meant for anything other than the positive. But, personally I’m surprised at Marc Gasol‘s game. He got a lot of heat from Lakers fans because he doesn’t do what JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard did for the team last season. In general, that’s true. Gasol can’t jump like Howard, in fact I’m fairly certain I have a higher vertical than he does. He doesn’t block shots with the enthusiasm of McGee. Gasol plays a different game.
The surprise to me, the pleasant surprise, is watching him adapt to this role. He takes smart shots, although not a lot of them come his way. He rebounds well enough, defends well enough and even blocks shots, well enough. In short, he doesn’t do what the other Lakers bigs used to do as well as they did it, but he does do those things. Additionally, he is a better play-maker than either of those two guys. In short, Gasol is a great fit for this Lakers team which, at this point in the season, don’t seem to have many (any?) flaws.
New Orleans Pelicans, Friday, January 15th
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