NBA preseason basketball is in the eye of the beholder. At least that's what the Los Angeles Lakers will tell you after Monday night's game at Staples Center. The Lakers were blown out by the Los Angeles Clippers 114-95 in the exhibition opener for both teams.
While some might see a changing of the guard in Los Angeles, the Lakers would be wise to remind us that Monday was merely a preseason game, one that doesn't count for anything, except perhaps perception. There were some good and some bad points for the Lakers on Monday.
Kobe Bryant looked good. After offseason knee surgery, Bryant looked to have freedom of movement and was active, especially in the first half. Bryant scored 22 points on just 10 field goal attempts, though he did have seven turnovers.
Andrew Bynum is ready to play. Unfortunately for the Lakers' center, he will miss the first five games of the regular season thanks to his suspension stemming from his playoff hit on J.J. Barea. Bynum played 33 minutes, more than any other player in the game, and contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.
The three-point shooting was good. The Lakers not named Metta World Peace (see below) made seven of their 11 three-point attempts. That could end up being a strength of the team this season.
Metta World Peace has yet to make a shot. The former Ron Artest scored just three points in his ... minutes, and missed all seven of his field goal attempts, including four from three-point range.
Free throw shooting was bad. The Lakers made just 28 of 41 (68.3%) from the charity stripe, including just five of 11 from Bynum. The Lakers made just 13 of 21 free throws (61.9%) in the second half.
The defense. The Clippers had free reign on offense, getting easy trips to the basket or wide open jumpers. Part of this was thanks to Chris Paul, but the Lakers didn't exacly put up much of a resistance.
Then again, that's what the preseason is for, to iron out the kinks. But with just six days left before the regular season opener, there might be a slight sense of urgency in Laker land.
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