Another preseason game, another victory. Despite their own best efforts to the contrary, the Lakers just can't seem to lose a game. Tonight it was no bigs, no problem. Gasol missed another game with a sore hamstring (more on this later) and Bynum took the night off with a strained shoulder. So what happened? Our 2nd string Center and 3rd string power forward outplayed the Nuggets starting Center and PF.
Some other thoughts and details
-Tonight was Mbenga time. 7 blocked shots, a couple of 18 foot jumpers, and a ton of fan appreciation. Mbenga really got after it tonight, and showed that, aside from his penchant for fouling, he might actually be our best defensive option at the pivot. Not that it matters, he still won't see the time of day, but he certainly knows how to deter shots.
-Here's a stat that should make everybody smile. Average starter's +/-: 4.6, average bench player's +/-: 10.6666 (not including Tony Gaffney, who played 3 minutes). Preseason disclaimers aside, any game in which the Lakers bench plays well like this, its nearly impossible to imagine them losing
-I've never seen Lamar Odom be that aggressive from the outside. He was taking ridiculous, silly three pointers ... and making them. He was 5-6 at one point, including some attempts that can only be described as heat checks. Save some for the season, my man.
-The Nuggets were incredibly sloppy with the ball, turning it over 26 times, good for 35 Laker points. Victory explained.
-If you haven't heard, PJ said that Gasol's injury might hold him out of the season opener, which is mildly concerning. I had been of the opinion that Gasol's injury wasn't even real, just an excuse to keep him out a couple weeks since he's had a busy summer. I guess I was wrong. I don't think Pau's presences is absolutely vital against the Clippers, but it's starting to get me a bit nervous.
- One man's opinion: Farmar is starting to pull away in the discussion of which point guard should get more time off the bench. He's back to 100% quickness, and his explosive first step is allowing him to be a play maker for the 2nd unit, often creating quality shots for himself and his teammates. Shannon Brown just doesn't have that capability, and it is a dynamic which is very important on a 2nd unit that might otherwise fail to create good shots. As many have said, playing time may be determined more by matchups than anything else, but all things being equal, I'd rather have Farmar playing with the 2nd unit than Brown. Although I'd still prefer both of them. I'd rather have Brown playing with the starters, if the need arose.