When it’s too easy, you can’t take too much out of it. The Los Angeles Lakers won their first game of the season, taking off tons of pressure from everyone’s shoulders; from Mike Brown to Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. The weak, surprisingly soft Detroit Pistons were exactly what the doctor ordered.
It ended 108-79, and it wasn’t even that close. The Pistons didn’t show up, and the Lakers just flew across the court to a 34-13 lead in the first quarter. Game over after 12 minutes of basketball. Playing with the second and third stringers late in the game helped the Pistons made the score look better than the night actually was for them.
Was it the Princeton, motion offense everyone on the Lakers wants the rest of the world to appreciate? Probably not. Just a good game of basketball from a very skillful set of players. Maybe that’s the way to go? Simpler offense that utilizes the skill set of the guys on board, instead of trying to tie everyone to a new concept that doesn’t necessarily fit a group of veterans who have seen it all?
After taking 23 shots in the loss to the Clippers, Kobe Bryant took it easy. The Lakers had a chance to run and run, and Bryant wasn’t too far from a triple double, finishing with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. He made 5-10 from the field, and he’s amazingly 59.7% from the field so far this season and over 50% from beyond the arc. There’s no doubt that he’s trying to make a change in his decision making and style, but it’s easier when you’re not about to lose. We saw what happens when he feels that if it’s not for him, the Lakers are heading for a loss.
Another man who was thoroughly enjoying the game was Dwight Howard, finishing with an almost flawless 12-14 from the field, scoring 28 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. He didn’t have to do much but hover around the paint and dunk the ball against a non-existent Pistons interior, taking the game off from the first moment.
The game seemed to be mostly about relief, venting out some steam and lowering the pressure levels. Now they can go back and talk about improving and facilitating the new offense with just a bit less of criticism from the outside, having a win, finally, in the bag.
We needed this bad, just to change the mood and give us some of that feel-good feeling. Losing games was tough. I guess we did a good job of staying positive, but it feels good, that’s for sure.
We weren’t perfect offensively, but I think everybody — including us — got a good taste of what it can be like. We’re just barely scratching the surface on where this thing can go. Obviously, we needed a win. Every win we get gives us a little more belief on both ends of the floor.
The Lakers believe they have something very special going for them, they just need to find the right way to tap in and let it all out. Maybe the game against the Pistons was the beginning of taking the right course, maybe it was just talent beating inferior skills, and Brown and his crew need to follow what they see, not what they believe.