The Lakers' opening night ended in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, 121-114. There are a handful of reasons the Lakers lost this game, despite leading for a large portion of it.
The Warriors shot 25-30 (83%) from the line, whereas the Lakers shot 9-19 (47%) from the line. In a game where the margin of victory was 7 points, the Lakers could have a tie game if they shot 16-19, an 84% mark. While Anthony Davis was one of the few Laker bright spots, his 2-7 performance from the line was disappointing.
The Lakers committed 25 fouls compared to the Warriors 18. A few bewildering calls from the officials, but truthfully nothing egregious. There were some bad fouls from the Lakers, particularly from Dwight Howard who after 15+ years in the league, has absolutely no control of his elbows.
The Rest of the Bad
The Lakers were outrebounded by the Warriors, 50-45.
The Lakers were out-assisted by the Warriors, 30-21. The Warriors ball movement was a clinic compared to the Lakers. The Lakers' lack of cohesion as a team unit was visible in the second half of the game.
The Good Stuff
The Lakers shot 35% from outside. This isn't setting the world on fire, but from a team who has a lot of question marks around outside shooting, this was encouraging.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James made his first 6 shots and looked as fresh as the other side of the pillow. Coming into his 19th season, James looks as good as ever. His mid-range game was Kobe-esque. His outside shooting was clutch. His passing and court vision was well, LeBron-esque. His line was 34 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists on 13-23 shooting.
Davis' final line was 33 points, 11 rebounds, on 15-26 shooting. His free throws were ugly, but that's an aberration, hopefully.
The Bad and Ugly
Russell Westbrook. Every Laker fan and blog is going to dump on Westbrook's first performance as a Laker. It is mostly understandable. It also won't tell the entire story. Let's get the ugly numbers out of the way. Westbrook had 8 points on 4-13 shooting, 4 fouls, and 4 turnovers, and he had a +/- of -23. Sure, a bad game for Westbrook. The overreactions of the public are inevitably going to focus on the poor shooting and spacing, but that doesn't quite cover Westbrook's game. Most of his misses were wide open. That's unfortunate, but it means he took the right shots. He made a lot of passes that were purely ancillary, meaning he wasn't assist-seeking. He made the right pass almost every time. His game was unselfish. He just had a clunker from the field. He'll have shooting clunkers, but Laker fans should take away from this game that Westbrook played an unselfish game. The approach was right, the results will come.
The Lakers take on the Suns at Staples Center on Friday, October 22nd at 7 PM PST.