The season opener! It was finally here! …and it was kinda anticlimactic. The Lakers lost 99-91 to the Dallas Mavericks. It’s only game 1 of 82 though, and we know it will take time to get this team clicking…
I loved how Pau Gasol played tonight. He was very aggressive on the offensive end. He was scoring on the block and was hitting the open midrange shot. He also had a nice three-man game going with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the first quarter, but it kind of faded as the game went on.
When Nash runs the pick-and-pop with Pau, teams have to decide whether they help on Gasol – and leave Howard open – or let Pau take the shot. Pau either hit his own shot when running this play with Nash, or found Dwight for the easy dunk. We need to see more of that.
As a whole, the ball moved pretty well for the majority of the game, as the Lakers went on to make 38 field goals – 24 of those were assisted.
I also really liked Kobe Bryant‘s game tonight: he shot 11-of-14 from the floor for 22 points in 35 minutes.
The Lakers gave up 46 points in the paint, with most of the points going to Brandan Wright, Eddy Curry and Elton Brand. That can’t happen when you have Pau and Dwight patrolling the middle.
L.A. also only shot 3-of-13 from downtown. It’s hard to try and outscore opponents – if you’re not going to stop them on defense – if you can’t make a bunch of triples.
For once, it’s not the turnovers (they only had 14 tonight, which is low compared to recent outings) but it’s the free throw shooting. They shot 12-of-31 from the line. If they make just 9 more of those, they win the game.
Hill had a great game off the bench (9 points and 5 rebounds – 4 offensive – in 14 minutes) but he also shot just 1-of-6 at the line. Howard went to the line 14 times but made only 3 shots there, one of those makes being an unintentional bank.
The game basically came down to the missed free throws, though the defense was obviously a problem as they gave up 99 points. The Mavs managed to get a lot of three-point plays too, which really helped their cause.
The Lakers will be looking for their first win of their 2012-13 campaign (they’re currently 0-9 including preseason play) tomorrow night when they head to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers at 7:30pm PST on NBA TV.