The Los Angeles Lakers finally broke the seal on season victories Sunday but now must hit the road for a pair of tough back-to-back games. First up, the Memphis Grizzlies in the same venue Kobe Bryant injured his knee last December.
The Lakers' attack was much more balanced Sunday, moving the ball and ending the night with five players in double-digit scoring. There are still plenty of problems that need to be sorted out, but finally earning one of those elusive wins -- and free tacos -- was a nice change of outcome for Lakers fans. Doing so on the road against Memphis would be shocking, but let's forget about winning and losing for a moment.
A win could be Wesley Johnson playing like a "wild man" he said he would be heading into the game Sunday. Watching Wesley on the court, he seemed to be anything but, going invisible throughout possessions. It's not just his inability to get on the scoreboard, but in 35 minutes of playing he grabbed just three rebounds and one steal. If he's going to soak those kind of minutes -- and right now the Lakers really don't have much of a choice anyway -- he needs to make some sort of impact on the game, even if it's just pulling down boards, boxing players out, playing tight defense .... literally anything, instead of literally nothing.
A win could be Xavier Henry performing like a basketball player again. If Wesley Johnson is doing nothing, Xavier has been in the negative as far as productivity is concerned. He looks like a player who missed all of training camp and preseason and is still tentative about his health, probably because that's his exact position right now on the Lakers.
A win could be the Lakers offense tightening their execution of an offense that looks archaic when the players aren't running it as crisp as they need to. Reverses and off-ball screens only work when the execution and timing is there, and that's where the Lakers really need to hang their hats on offense and improve.
Enjoy the game. Let's see if getting that first pesky win out of the way helps re-focus their energy, and what kind of momentum there is to build on following the win over Charlotte.
Time: 5 p.m.