by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) / Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
LOS ANGELES – While they struggled in anOpening Night loss at the hands of their hallway rival Clippers, the Lakers quickly rebounded with some nice wins over the Utah Jazz,Charlotte Hornets, and Memphis Grizzlies.
That first week of the season told us a few things. The first it’s too premature to press the panic button after a loss to a very talented and more cohesive Clippers team. The Lakers are obviously going to need time to gel as a team, not to mention get healthier as both Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo continue to recover from their respective injuries.
The second is this team is still very talented led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James dropped 32 points and 10 assists in the win over Utah and Davis had a monster game of 40 points and 20 rebounds through three quarters in the win over Memphis (with a sore right shoulder no less).
They have a solid supporting cast which has the potential to go off on any given night.
Danny Green went off for 28 points against the Clippers, keeping the Lakers in that game. Troy Daniels dropped 15 off the bench in the win over Utah, and Dwight Howard, in his second stint in Los Angeles, had 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in the win against Charlotte.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this team’s success is their ability to play good team defense. They were bad against the Clippers surrendering 112 points on 52 percent shooting, but set a better defensive tone against the Jazz, Hornets, and Grizzlies.
The Lakers held Utah to just 86 points on 41 percent shooting. Then after giving up 62 points in the first half to Charlotte, they cracked down defensively in the second half holding them to just 39 points. It was a similar script against Memphis as they held them to just 32 percent shooting after a slow first half.
There are areas the Lakers definitely have to improve on, such as defensive rebounding, less turnovers, and not falling behind early in games.
What’s important is the purple and gold continuing to improve with each game; specifically their chemistry and developing an offensive identity. Even though the sample size is small, fans can get excited about the potential of this Lakers team.
*Kyle Kuzma is scheduled to return to the Lakers on Friday against the Mavs in Dallas.