The Lakers had been met Friday with “Bridge Over Troubled Water” all through introductions, and come what may the observe used to be too upbeat for what would spread over the next 48 mins.
Coach Darvin Ham cashed in a few of the credibility he constructed with Russell Westbrook, convincing the former MVP to come back off the bench, handiest to peer him injure his hamstring 5 mins into his first stint as a reserve.
Between Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota and Friday’s preseason finale with Sacramento, 3 rotation gamers, together with All-Star ahead Anthony Davis. had been dominated out as a result of harm.
The 133-86 loss to Sacramento to finish the preseason will have to reason severe alarms to head off.
Shooting woes adopted the crew via a lot of the preseason, identical to ultimate season, sufficient misses on just right seems to be to wonder whether this used to be simply greater than a chilly spell. Injuries, some other one in all the defining storylines from ultimate season, saved the crew from logging significant mins in combination. Despite a mandate for day by day growth and constant competitiveness and effort, the Lakers two worst performances got here of their ultimate two video games sooner than the common season.
Internally, the Lakers are projecting calm — even exaggerating it in a single example.
“No frustrating part of the process,” Patrick Beverley informed The Times after the sport Friday. “Nothing’s been frustrating. Everything’s been perfect.”
But the Lakers went 1-5, the wins and losses more straightforward to depend than Ham’s most well-liked measuring gadget of “wisdom and lessons” — the Lakers appearing sufficient now and then to praise optimism sooner than heading into the season with none momentum.
“We had some great moments, some good moments, some not-so-good moments, but we’re a team that’s going to continue to learn from each other,” LeBron James mentioned after the loss. “Every day, we’ve got to stack days. We’ve got to get better every day either in practice out on the floor or in film sessions or whatever the case might be, move forward. But it begins now. The season is here. We’ve got to get better.”
James indexed a gaggle of Western Conference groups that’ll input the common season with extra continuity than his Lakers, a listing goodbye that he forgot to incorporate the protecting NBA champion Golden State Warriors. How this crew finally ends up competing with them, although, is up in the air.
One trail is dependent upon inner expansion, the crew depending on Davis (again) and Lonnie Walker IV (ankle) being able for the opener with Dennis Schroder (finger) and Troy Brown Jr. (again) ultimately becoming a member of them. While Westbrook might be reevaluated Saturday, Ham mentioned the nine-time All-Star guard used to be constructive about his hamstring postgame.
“The biggest thing is for us to get back whole.” Ham mentioned. “I really feel like we made some really good strides and implementing our new system offensively and defensively. And once we get our main guys out there together in rhythm, things will be a little bit different for sure. And again, we’re at the starting blocks of a marathon.
“It’s going to take some time.”
Yet what’s the abdomen for early-season lumps, a tricky time table paired with a brand new trainer and intense scrutiny and hypothesis on Westbrook, both in regard to his function on the Lakers or in a business out of L.A.?
Moving him to the 2nd unit, despite the fact that it used to be simply an experiment, wasn’t an inconsequential resolution. Westbrook got here off the bench for the first time after he took over for the Thunder 17 video games into his rookie season in 2008.
For now, Ham mentioned Westbrook treated the transfer gracefully. While it used to be only a blink Friday, he did appear extra competitive than he used to be Wednesday when he meekly tried simply 3 photographs.
“We discussed it yesterday and it’s something we’ve touched on during the summer here and there,” Ham mentioned pregame. “He’s been a pro, man. Russ is one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever come across in this business, on and off the floor. He totally understood. Totally looked me in the eye and said, ‘Yeah, coach, whatever you need me to do.’”
That more or less transfer in most cases calls for effects, and it’s honest to marvel how working out any individual could be in Westbrook’s place if he’s coming off the bench and the crew remains to be suffering.
At least for one evening, none of this counted — actually as a result of a technical glitch knocked out the NBA’s statistics gadget leaguewide. The postgame field ranking used to be a photocopy of the respectable handwritten scorer’s ebook.
By the time the season begins Tuesday, possibly the gadget might be again up and operating.
The Lakers? That may well be some other tale.