Well, there you have it. All is lost, as the Los Angeles Lakers fall in their first game with LeBron James to the Portland Trail Blazers. Cancel the season.
The thing is: Just about everyone predicted a Lakers loss. Hell, on this very podcast over the course of last week I thought the Lakers were going to lose. All I really wanted was a close game and, well, that’s what we got.
Still, it was the way the Lakers lost that might have some people a little more nervous than they’d like to be. After a full offseason of hearing about how terrible the offseason signings were, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley confirmed those pre-conceived notions. After months of concerns regarding the Lakers possibly not having enough shooting, they waited until midway through the third quarter to hit their first three. After what feels like ages of making the case for Lonzo Ball to start over Rajon Rondo, the latter vastly outplayed the former.
Also, the Lakers somehow turned Nik Stauskas into Klay Thompson, which brings me to my main takeaway from opening night: Weird stuff happens opening night. That’s a Newtonian law in the NBA. It’s just how things work.
There’s plenty of reason for optimism, though. For one thing, role players tend to play better at home and, based on what we saw from the Houston Rockets in their home opener, there are going to be plenty of open shots to go around. Lonzo also can’t play any worse, so at least there’s that.
Hell, even LeBron James played a little more passively (especially late) than I would’ve imagined. It felt a lot like the beginning of his second stint in Cleveland, where he spent the first few weeks feeling out teammates and letting them make the same mistakes that made them one of the league’s worst teams before his arrival. At some point, he decided enough was enough and we’ll see how long that takes with this Lakers group.
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