Not a great way to start the season for the Lakers, although I'm sure that most fans were surprised to be up in this game at all. A new coach, a new offense, and new players only had a couple of weeks to put it all together and take on one of the better teams in the league. Don't forget that Bynum's absence really cost the Lakers as well, who need the big guy in the middle eating up rebounds. It was a tough loss, but signs of a decent team are there. Here's the transcript from my running diary of the Lakers opening day game:
Had some internet issues but we're finally up and running.
The Lakers start the season with the worst roster since the Kwame Brown years, with almost no depth on the roster.
Anytime you're starting Josh McRoberts, it's not going to be a good year...
A low scoring 1st quarter sees the Lakers down by two, 22-20
Back and forth first quarter, with nearly all of the points coming from Gasol and Kobe. This second quarter will really be the true test, as Laker fans will get their first look at a second unit that will be giving them nightmares all year long.
Derek Rose is 0-1 with 0 points after a quarter. Expectations are going to be pretty high for him after winning the MVP last year. The Bulls are also a trendy pick to with the title because of some of their recent additions.
Love the Rip Hamilton pickup, but they're really going to need Carlos Boozer to step up this season if they're going to beat the Heat in the playoffs.
As for the Lakers, watching Troy Murphy actually get playing time for this team is sad.
Blake, Murphy, and Gasol are all on the floor right now. Add Walton and McRoberts, and they could have the rarely seen all-white NBA lineup.
They should go all Kentucky from back in the day and wear short shorts and high socks, just to freak everyone out for a game.
Derek Rose just tip-toed the sideline, behind his back and made an acrobatic layup. Nearly impossible to guard when he's attacking the hoop. Don't know if he'll win the MVP again, but he's the only reason that Chicago is relevant.
Murphy and McRoberts are just terrible defensively on the inside.
Kobe just hits an impossibly hard mid-range shot. With his hurt wrist and a ton of games in a short period of time, it's hard to envision what type of season Kobe is going to have.
His turnovers will be up, his minutes down a bit, his defense lacking, but man, he can still score when he wants to.
Luol Deng's hair and goatee combination is a bit creepy. He looks like a Nigerian terrorist movie villain.
Pau gets stripped inside after failing to go up strong. I might be the only one, but I just don't get the Gasol thing sometimes. Don't get me wrong, he's a great player, has some great post moves, and can hit an outside shot. But iIf I had to pick one, I'm taking Bynum over Gasol.
McRoberts throws down a hard dunk. Great to see someone other than Kobe attacking the basket.
Rose hits his second three from straight away. If he can gain some consistency with his outside shooting, he'll be truly unstoppable.
Fisher stupidly takes a charge inside of the restricted area. Count the bucket and the foul with 1.4 seconds left in the half. Fisher will no doubt be the scapegoat this season for Lakers fans frustrations this season. It's been that way for years, but this year feels like one season too many for Fisher. I'd love to see him on the bench as a coach instead of on the floor.
A 9-2 run by the Bulls at the end of the half see them take the lead 56-49.
To be honest, without Bynum and with this roster, this game is a lot closer than I expected it to be.
Great early game this morning, with the Knicks taking down a Celtics team. Garnett goes nuts and tries to choke Bill Walker at the end of it. What a mess, the Celtics might be worse than the Lakers this year, especially with Pierce hurt and Garnett up to his old antics.
As for the Mavericks/Heat game, I'm sure that everyone (including the TV crew) is already crowning the Heat as NBA Champs.
To me though, the Mavs are back to their old ways of taking aging superstars and trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Instead of good chemistry guys that they had last year, they've got Odom (who got ejected) and Vince Carter. Tough to see how their chemistry could be high after a non-existent pre-season and a whole crop of new players.
LeBron played well today, but like always with him, let's see how he's playing if he's playing in June.
Back under way in the second half. Fisher misses a three to start the half, not sure that he can make those anymore...
Of course then he comes back and takes a charge on Rose. At least he's still the best at that.
Really missing Bynum today. Chicago looks small, and we're having some trouble finishing inside and rebounding on defense. I just get the feeling that Bynum would be dominating this game.
Nice move and throwdown from Pau. Clearly that's when he's at his best. And throwing down on Joakim Noah is always good fun.
Ebanks can really run the floor. I like what I've seen from him so far, teams always need a guy like that he can hit a three here or there, play some defense, and run the floor effectively.
Fisher just had one of the most disgusting transition plays I've ever seen. Tried to take it on Rose in the open court and just fumbled and stumbled. It's getting sad at this point.
Couple of great defensive plays lead to some fast break points. Those seem like they're going to be hard to come by this year for the Lakers.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand D-Rose is on fire. Can't miss from three.
The game is livening up here, some back and forth action and some heated defensive plays. Seems to favor the Bulls though as Rose and Deng can really get up and down.
Artest is just garbage. I forget that he's on the team, and then frown when he comes into the game. Something needs to be done with him soon.
Blake has missed his like hundred shots or so, or maybe it just seems that way...
Blake gets fouled at the end of the quarter, but no call. At the end of a fun and frantic 3rd quarter is 69-68 Lakers.
A yes, Mike Tirico just said, "When we come back, a little more Beiber." Yippee
If you haven't noticed, BIG things are coming from the NBA. Just don't know what they are...
3rd quarter interview with Mike Brown. Just remembered that he's the Lakers coach. Not really. But kinda.
Goudelock hits his second three, just as pure as the first. This guy can really shoot.
No Kobe in to start the 4th quarter. Let's see if they can extend a lead.
Artest just literally falls over in the lane and the balls rolls to Murphy who drains a shot as the clock expires. Crowd goes wild. Their really into it at this point.
Blake finally hits a shot after an offensive rebound. Crowd explodes again. Bulls TO. Feels like the old Staples Center.
Speaking of Staples Center, there's literally no different NBA experiences than going to a Lakers and Clippers game. It's the same building, but it's completely different. The Lakers seem to get everything right, while the Clippers game feels like a minor league baseball game. To me, that says just as much about the organization as anything. Lakers are professional, Clippers not so much.
8 minutes left in the 4th, up 6, gotta get Kobe get back in the game.
And right on cue, Brown puts him in. Phew.
After a horrible shot by Kobe, he comes back and takes it to the rack for a bucket.
You know it's not coming that often, but it feels like old times when Kobe is attacking the rim.
Nic Cage is back! Ghost Rider 2!
"Hell Yes!" Awkwardly amazing.
Hubie just said to watch out for Milwaukee in the East? Somebody get Hubie back to the retirement home...
Bulls are shooting something like 18% this half. Don't think they can keep this up. The Lakers need to extend this lead a little bit.
And they do with a weird turnaround from Artest. The crowd ooh and ahhhs. Partly because of the play, but also partly because they were so scared when he started dribbling.
Great Lakers crowd on Christmas Day today. Booing a bad call by the refs vehemently.
The Bulls literally just got 15 different shots at the basket on one trip down. 4 total shots and about 1 tips. Lakers need Bynum to grab a freaking rebound.
Under 4 left to play, Lakers up 9, and the lineup is Blake, Bryant, Pau, Artest, and McRoberts. Never thought I'd see the day.
Kobe with an acrobatic layup that gets the crowd on their feet. Even though you know that he's getting older and worn down, it seems like he can make plays like that forever.
Horrible possessions by Kobe and Pau back to back followed by two straight buckets. Time out. 5 point game with 3 minutes to play.
Here's where it gets tough for the Lakers. Pau isn't going inside and if it doesn't go to him, then it sits in Kobe hands for the entire possession until he attempts a difficult shot. If they go in, we win. If the don't, we lose. Seems like that's how the last three minutes are going to play out, right?
Huge 3 from Blake! Great ball movement, Kobe with the final pass.
6 point game after free throws. Finally Pau gets inside and gets some free throws. That's what we need.
Don't need 2 missed free throws though...
Nothing more frustrating that missed free throws.
Christ almighty. McRoberts misses a free throw.
Make that two.
Somehow the ball goes out off of a Bull. And our first replay of the season! Get excited! NBA replay!
4 missed free throws in a row, should be an 8 point game.
Huge bucket by Kobe. Vintage KB24.
One stop to win the game.
Missed 3 by Deng, and yet again, no Laker can get a rebound. Deng grabs it and gets the bucket and the foul. 3 point game with 45 sec left.
Missed shot followed by a foul. Not the best ending to this game.
1 point game after the free throws, 20.4 seconds left.
Bulls have to foul, gotta make free throws from here on out. Lakers are 11-20 on the day. NOT GOOD.
Kobe throws the ball away. Rose makes an incredible shot. Lakers down by 1. Utterly ridiculous.
4 seconds left. We all know who the ball is coming to.
Kobe gets blocked. Horrible play. Should've shot it sooner. Horrible plays down the end by the Lakers. Some bad calls, some poor shots, and some horrendous turnovers.
But for me, the missed free throws and poor rebounding cost the Lakers down the stretch. A sad ending to what could've been a great win for the Lakers. Some signs of hope from this rag tag Lakers team, but at the end of the day they couldn't get it done.Back to the Los Angeles Lakers Newsfeed