The Los Angeles Lakers opened the season on the highest of high notes, taking down the Los Angeles Clippers 116-103. Xavier Henry put up a career-high 22 points, Jordan Farmar chipped in 16 points of his own, and the purple and gold capped off the feel-good-great-amazing-incredible win riding a bench unit through the fourth quarter that deserved a standing ovation.
The reserves scored a monstrous 76 points through the game with five players reaching double-digits.
The pace through the game was frantic. Possessions blew by at the blink of an eye or, as these things go in today's world, the send of a tweet. And then the final quarter came and the Lakers just kept pulling away. Jordan Hill kept grabbing offensive rebounds. Henry was making plays all over the floor. Farmar was getting to the rim at will, using his athleticism to blow by' defenders. The Clippers couldn't withstand the Lakers new-found "bench mob" and were sent packing to their side of the hallway.
And then it was over. Steve Nash body bumped with his teammates. The crowd roared. "I Love L.A." blared through the arena. Yeah, that's how you start a season with tempered expectations.
Pau Gasol opened the game strong for the Lakers as the immediate answer for offense in the new starting five for Los Angeles. He worked in the low-post through the early stages of the first quarter and even finished one of these bad boys from deep off a Steve Nash dish:
Gasol was also great on the glass, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds and scoring 15 points. Hill finished with 12 points and eight rebounds (seven offensive).
The Lakers hit the road to visit the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night, but that's tomorrow night. Tonight, we enjoy a game that showed just how much fun this team can be, win or lose. Tonight it was a win, tomorrow it may not be, but this group played their asses off for head coach Mike D'Antoni and it's an effort we can all appreciate.
Honors of the night go to Xavier Henry, though, who went 8-of-13 from the floor while putting up his career game. He slashed, he finished at the rim and he drained three of his four three-point attempts. Oh, and he brought the hammer down on this thunderous drunk after Jodie Meeks passed on a fast break:
This? This was fun.