After dropping their first preseason game to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday in San Francisco, the Lakers will travel to Las Vegas where they will play their second exhibition match against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. It’s another opportunity for us to learn more about this Lakers team before the regular season commences in exactly two weeks.
At the risk of overreacting to Saturday’s loss, there were a couple of key takeaways from the Lakers’ first preseason game. For one, we were reminded that Anthony Davis is still very much the dominant player that he's always been after tallying 15 points (including two three-pointers) and five rebounds in 12 minutes. But what was even more encouraging was that he looked healthy and in tip-top shape.
We also learned that D’Angelo Russell seems to always play well against the Warriors, as he had another exemplary game with 15 points of his own while dishing out five assists in 16 minutes of play. The other starters, specifically Jarred Vanderbilt (who also knocked down two three-pointers, which is a good sign), Rui Hachimura and Gabe Vincent looked good and appear to already grasp what their corresponding roles are on this team.
On the flip side, however, new Lakers like Cam Reddish and Taurean Prince both had debuts they probably want to forget. The former couldn’t buy a basket all night after going 0-7 from the field and worse, left the game with a sprained ankle, while Prince couldn’t see much action because he committed six fouls in 12 minutes.
Then, there was rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino who had an up-and-down performance but played a team-high 23 minutes. The Lakers’ 2023 first round draft pick spent most of his time on the court with sophomore Max Christie, both the team’s bigs namely Christian Wood and Jaxson Hayes.
It was clear that Darvin Ham approached the Lakers’ first preseason game by giving the young guys and new faces on the roster the opportunity to get as many reps as they could. After all, this is what the preseason is really about. It’s not for us to overreact about what’s happening in these tune-up games but to learn more about the team and what could possibly be in store for them as the real games begin in exactly 15 days.
That said, it’s going to be interesting to see how Ham approaches this game against the Nets in Vegas. Will he shift gears and let the starters take most of the minutes in this one? Will the sophomore head coach experiment more with his potential lineup combinations and rotations? Or will this be all about the rookies and new faces on board once again?
We’ll get our answers on Monday, when the Lakers take on the Nets.
Notes and Updates:
- This will be the first preseason game for the Brooklyn Nets, who will participate in only three tune-up matches before their season commences. There’s a good chance that most of their core pieces, particularly Mikal Bridges, Ben Simmons, Nic Claxton and our old friend Lonnie Walker IV will see action.
- The Lakers did not put out an injury report for this game, but one could logically assume that LeBron James (rest), Austin Reaves (rest) and Cam Reddish (ankle) will all have their statuses at least somewhat up in the air, as might Anthony Davis and D'Angelo Russell, who both sat the second half of Saturday's game.
- As for the Nets, Cameron Johnson (hamstring) and Dariq Whitehead will not see action.
The Lakers and Nets will tip off at 6 p.m. PT on Monday, Oct. 9. The game will be televised locally on Spectrum Sportsnet.
You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani