These were the themes that I wrote about all last season: The Lakers played the worst team defense in the NBA and they had the worst bench in the NBA, while conversely, the Clippers had the top group of reserves in the league, and played dominant team defense.
These were the themes that I wrote about during the offseason: Contrary to the experts, replacing the overrated and ego-centric Deee-Wight Howard, the meta psycho artest thingy, Antawn Jamison, and others, were major improvements. I love the new players brought in by the Lakers, especially Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman, Xavier Henry, and Wesley Johnson, and these guys need playing time, over some of the holdovers such as the ailing, aging Steve Nash, the streaky Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and the one new guy I do not like, the one-dimensional, super-streaky trojan brain surgeon, nick young. On the
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|other hand, contrary to the experts who love the changes made by the Clippers, I think, other than at head coach, they have regressed. While I do think a lot of Darren Collison, losing Eric Bledsoe is a major step backwards for the defense, adding Antawn Jamison is a major error, and Jared Dudley is a downgrade from Caron Butler.
Needless to say, experts gave the underrated Lakers playing without Kobe Bryant no chance over the super Clippers in the season opener. Not so fast! On my tv, it was the Lakers dominating the Clippers, 116-103.
While many of the wrong guys started for the Lakers, in particular young and Shawne Williams, coach Mike D’Antoni quickly saw what needed to be done, and after a pretty even first half (57-55 Clippers), relied on the bench for much of the game. In fact, no starter played even a single minute in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers’ second unit dominated the Clippers. The Clippers took a four point lead into that fourth quarter, and the likes of Farmar, Henry, Meeks, Jordan Hill, and others, out hustled, out shot, and thoroughly outplayed the Clippers in the final period, 41-24.
Last year, I lamented game after game as the Lakers’ bench was outscored two-to-one, or three-to-one, on a regular basis. In last night’s opener, the Lakers’ bench outscored the Clippers’ bench, last season’s NBA-best talent-wise, 76 to 34. Lakers’ subs almost
three-pointers). His only failing was at the free-throw line (3-or-8). Farmer was the floor leader for most of the game, scoring 16 (including 2-of-3 on three-pointers himself) and leading the team with six assists. Another one of my favorite new guys, Chris Kaman, played well early, but both he and Pau Gasol seldom saw the floor in the second half, as Jordan Hill became the dominant big for the Lakers, pulling down seven offensive rebounds in only 18 minutes. The Clippers team only had 10 OREBs.
I wonder how many points the Lakers would have scored in the fourth quarter if former Laker new Clipper no defense Antawn Jamison had gotten into the game?
All these experts who said that the Lakers likely would start the season 0-3 were pretty far off base.