The Lakers’ season opener was remarkable, although not for the reasons they had hoped. They were embarrassed 99-91 by a misfit Mavericks’ crew that included 9 new players, none frontline stars. And Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman, sidelined by injuries, were not among the Mavs in uniform.
“We got to remember that we have 81 more games left to play,” Howard declared. “Rome wasn’t built in just 1 day. That is what somebody told me.”
One the largest concern entering the season for the Lakers was chemistry, which was clear the preseason did not offer them enough time to develop it. Injuries limited the Lakers’ starting 5 of Bryant, Howard, Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace to playing just one of 8 preseason games together. Brown claimed it might take till Christmas before the Lakers are ok with each another.
When asked how long it would probably take for the Lakers to jell, Gasol said, “It’s hard to say. The earlier, the better, but you know it is not going to happen right away.” Betting lines
The Lakers’ offense seems to need the most work. After one game, the players seem to still be grasping the offense’s Princeton principles.
The Lakers moved the ball readily in the 1st quarter when they’d 10 assists, but totaled just 14 more the res of the game. During his days in Phoenix and Dallas, Nash became one of the game’s greatest point guards by controlling the offense and speed and finding teammates for open shots. But with the Princeton offense, the ball was sometimes out of his hands. One of the best passers in NBA history finished with only 4 assists.
Lakers assistant coach Eddie Jordan, who implemented the Princeton offense, stated that he wasn’t certain when the team would feel at comfortable.
“The ball came to a standstill and the ball stopped,” Brown related. “We failed to move bodies like we did early on and our guys started thinking a little too much and our execution wasn’t quite there like it was at the start of the game.”
Brown recounted Nash has the freedom to run pick-and-rolls instead of the offense, but Nash opted not to do that much on first night. An NBA scout offered these words of caution: “The Lakers’ offense is the best defense ever played against Steve Nash,” he announced.
“It takes the ball out of his hands.”
Howard, in the meantime, needed only 1 game to show his free-throw issues from last season haven’t improved with a change of views. He missed 11 of 14 foul shots against the Mavericks, including one attempt that banked off the backboard and brought a laugh from the crowd and disappointment to Howard’s face.
“I’m upset at the line. I got to stop thinking so much,” Howard related. “I got to stop thinking. I am getting up there and I am thinking too much about, ‘I got to make it. I got to make it.’ I end up bricking.”
Howard reminded everyone it was just the 1st game. But Howard is also new to L.A. He’ll soon understand it’s truly never only one game with Bryant and the L.A Lakers.