My beloved Lakers kicked off the 2009-2010 season with a great tribute to their past during the ring/banner ceremony and proceeded to kind of dominate the Clippers. They pretty much owned the Clips in the 1st and 4th quarters (despite a plethora of turnovers in the 1st), outscoring them 55-39 in those two sets. The Clips mounted a good charge in the middle quarters (most of which I missed due to work), when the Lakers looked sloppy on offense and lazy/slow on defense, giving up way too many easy, open buckets. The outcome was never really in doubt, though, even when the Clips whittled the Lakers’ lead down to 1 to close out the 3rd. Too much talent and firepower in gold. I’ll accept the 99-92 victory, considering we were without Pau and had bling in our eyes.
Some quick thoughts…
- The ring/banner ceremony really was impressive (to a long-time Laker fan, anyway), if a bit extravagant. It was wonderful to see the greats from the past championship teams receive another curtain call, then greet the 2009 champs one-by-one as they accepted their rings. The unveiling of the banner was accompanied by “I Love L.A.”, of course, which got me thinking: whatever happened to Dancing Barry? Bill Plaschke wrote a nice column about it all, which ends on a very fitting point.
- Kobe looked good, repeatedly posting up a shorter Eric Gordon. He made his normal array of impressive shots from inside and out…and missed quite a few shots, including some chippies. He ended up with 33, but it took him 26 shots to do so. He added 8 boards, 4 steals, and a blocked shot. Not a bad start to the season, other than the 15 missed shots.
- Bynum had a great line: 26 points (on 9/15 shooting), 13 boards (6 offensive), and only 3 fouls in 38 minutes. He looked really active and healthy in the post, showing off quite a few moves. I would’ve liked to see more blocked shots (he had just 1) and he still drops a lot of passes — some due to him not anticipating them. He did give up 18 points and 16 boards to Chris Kaman, but I’ll let that slide for now. I’m just happy he’s healthy.
- Odom was very productive and made some big plays in the 4th to seal the victory. You could argue he had the best all-around performance last night: 3rd in scoring, tied for 1st in rebounds, 1st in assists, 1st in blocked shots, tied for 2nd in steals. Welcome back, Lamar…glad you re-signed.
- Artest had a solid game. He was not the offensive black hole people were fearing, doing a decent job of keeping the ball moving (he did hold the ball a bit longer than anyone other than Kobe should, but it wasn’t excessive). He missed most of his shots (mostly 3s) and was horrible from the line (3/7), but he did a good job guarding Al Thornton and ended up with the best +/- in the game (+14). So far, so good.
- Not a whole lotta production from the bench…not surprising since Lamar made the start due to Gasol’s injury (please come back soon, Pau; we woulda won this game by 30 if you were around). The one thing that sticks out in my mind is Shannon Brown showboating on a breakaway dunk attempt and screwing it up. He was bailed out by a foul, but made only 1 of the 2 FTAs. As much as I like Shannon, guys who play less than 10 minutes a night shouldn’t showboat, even if they have ridiculous verticals.
- Little Piper watched her first real Laker game! I was so proud. She didn’t make it to the end, but it wasn’t that exciting of a game anyway…