ONTARIO -- The Los Angeles Lakers were mopped up and down the floors of Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, but there wasn't frustration in the locker room following the game. Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott heaped praise at a Golden State Warriors team that has the luxury of continuity and elite talent rather than hanging their heads over a preseason contest.
"Those guys have been together for a few years, we've been together for a few weeks," Scott said following the game when asked what he felt the biggest problems he saw were during the blowout. "I thought our effort was better. I think, again, when they start making shots early we get a little discombobulated,"
"They've got some phenomenal players. That's a problem for some of the top defensive teams in the league," Bryant said of the backcourt-led Warriors. "For us, just acclimating to how we want to play is huge challenge to take on."
The Warriors started off the game picking up where they left off on Thursday, bombing on the Lakers from beyond the arc. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson each completed four-point plays in the early moments of the game, combining for 22 points and six-of-nine shooting from deep in the first quarter alone. It's no surprise the Lakers were "discombobulated" when the Warriors came out firing mortars at their battered and beaten roster. Golden State's offense was surging, building a 39-13 lead through the first 12 minutes and never looking back.
"As you saw tonight it was tough to get our legs underneath us. We've been pushing pretty hard," Bryant told media when asked why the Lakers couldn't keep pace with Golden State. "We haven't started tapering down yet [in training camp]. Once we do, I think you'll see everyone having fresh legs."
That big lead became insurmountable over time, amplified by the Lakers complete lack of three-point shooting. Los Angeles shot just three three-point attempts on the night and missed each of them, shrinking the floor Golden State had to cover defensively and forcing the Lakers into a shootout they forgot to bring ammo for. "Spacing wasn't that good," Scott said when asked where the Lakers' offense needed adjustment.
Kobe didn't have much to say regarding the lack of perimeter shooting, saying the Lakers aren't "particularly a three-point shooting team."
The Lakers horrid outing clearly wasn't just a case of lackluster defense. They started the game shooting 2-for-23, failing to find any easy baskets while Kobe and company shot long-two after long-two. Kobe joked about the slow start when asked if he'd ever played on a team that shot so poorly in the opening quarter, saying he "might have started a game like that by [himself]."
Laughter abound from media following some classic Kobe Bryant dead pan, but this loss was no laughing matter to anyone watching. Preseason represents a chance to see a team, and players, progress through the process together. The Lakers looked like they regressed together Sunday night, completely outmatched on both ends of the floor and never looking competitive. Instead, they looked close to what their worst-case scenario as a team may be, and that wasn't a pretty sight.
Sunday night was all about horrible offensive spacing, non-existent defense and no in-game adjustments that could have saved a roster with one too many bumps and bruises to take on a engine in need of minor tune-ups like Golden State.
The good news for Los Angeles? They're off until Thursday now, giving them three days to regroup and adjust before playing a much-less established team in the Utah Jazz twice in a row.
Kobe's rough night
Kobe Bryant had his worst game of the preseason, shooting 3-for-13 while scoring six points, and coughing up the ball four times in the process.
"I was sh*t. I mean, seriously," Kobe said when asked to evaluate his performance. "Can you print that? Digital media you can, you can get away with that sh*t."
Yes, we can.
Byron Scott was less critical of Kobe's third game back, saying his effort, especially on defense, was unbelievable. "I thought he was fresh but just couldn't make shots. Defensively I thought he was all over the place. He was trying to guard everybody," Scott said.
The Black Mamba may not have had a great, good, or even average night, but he still found some enjoyment battling with Steph Curry. He scoffed at the notion they were "jawing" at each other, instead saying he was challenging Curry in the spirit of competition.
"That's what competition is all about. He made some phenomenal shots because he's a phenomenal offensive player."
It's no secret how much Kobe Bryant loves to take on a challenge, of course. "Even at this age that's one of the things I thrive on the most. Trying to keep up with these young bucks."
Unfortunately for Kobe Sunday night, those young bucks galloped right past his Lakers and kicked dirt up into his face while doing it:
Mama there goes that man.
Julius Randle ready for more
Julius Randle had a quiet four-point, six-rebound game and is clearly still learning his way around playing basketball at the highest level. Still, the 19-year-old rookie seems to say all the right things and has the kind of mental make-up Lakers fans can certainly get behind.
"I feel like I know what I can do better, every game," Randle said when asked where he can improve. "I probably took a step back, and that's why we've got another day to work. Work on your game, do better, add to the next one if you can."
"That's the good thing about basketball, you've got the next day to practice so I can improve, get better, and put this one behind me."
Where does he feel his biggest areas for growth are? "Taking what the defense is giving me and being patient. Understanding the game."
Randle's conditioning has been a point of criticism from Byron Scott and an area he knows he has to continue working on, but he's not having any trouble adjusting to a more compact NBA schedule. "I like playing games. I'd rather play a game than practice any day," Randle replied when asked if playing three games in a one-week span has been difficult.
He's yet to put together a full-game of brilliance, but the flashes on and off the court continue to be promising. Putting it all together, though, is no easy task. Much like Randle, patience is something fans and analysts will need to exhibit as the seventh-overall pick develops through his rookie season.