After starting the season off with a 4-6 record, many have begun speculating whether or not this team is a joke or for real. Though it’s only been the first 10 games of the regular season, it has definitely been eventful and there is no doubt that there are many takeaways from all ten games. Starting the season off, the Lakers have disappointed some but have surely exceeded expectations due to their tough schedule.
Nobody wants to admit it, but the Lakers have exceed expectations. Sure, 4-6 might sound not too good, but overall, the players on the team are all getting to know each others games more and getting more adjusted. When superstar LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, they started 11-7. When he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, they started off 17-20. This is a process and it’ll take some time.
Game 1: Los Angeles Lakers, 119 @ Portland Trail Blazers, 128
Right off the bat, we saw multiple things from this season opener which featured the Lakers and the Blazers. This game was played in Portland, a place where the Lakers have always struggled playing in regardless of how good the Blazers are. They lost 15 straight games to them and that game was no different. The Lakers had multiple chances to win the game, however, experience took the win at the end. Josh Hart shined and LeBron was definitely trying his best to get more involved with his teammates. Nobody panicked at this point because we all understood how good of a team Portland is at their home stadium and how the Lakers are just getting started.
Game 2: Los Angeles Lakers, 115 vs. Houston Rockets, 124
With the Lakers having their home-opener against the Rockets, the lights were brighter than ever. Just like the game against Portland, the Lakers had many chances to win this game and ultimately make a statement. However, the Lakers got frustrated throughout the game due to many calls that the refs were giving to both Chris Paul and James Harden. A scuffle occurred which included Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo punching Chris Paul and eventually led to suspensions for all the players involved. Though this was a loss, the Lakers hung in there throughout the game and showed to the league that despite their young age, they’re not having it with being mistreated.
Game 3: Los Angeles Lakers, 142 vs. San Antonio Spurs, 143
Once again, the same narrative. Could’ve but didn’t. The Lakers once again had many chances to win the game, however, with the inability to close out games, the more experienced team in the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a one-point victory. LA was up 6 points with about a minute to go in overtime as James failed to make the correct rotation to guard Rudy Gay for three and missed two straight field goals. He also missed both free throws as Patty Mills proceeded to hit a game-winning mid-range jump-shot which forced the Lakers to drop to 0-3 for the season. This was a disappointing loss and many were beginning to panic as nobody really knew what to make of this team.
Game 4: Los Angeles Lakers, 131 @ Phoenix Suns, 113
The doubters were out with full force after this game. “It was just against Phoenix.” Every team in the NBA is in the NBA for a reason and that reason is that they have the ability to compete in every game. Just because the Suns aren’t as good as the Warriors or Celtics, it doesn’t mean that they’re pathetic. As all good teams should do, the Lakers took care of business against a rebuilding team. Just like last year, the Lakers first win of the season came against the Suns and this win was good to get because if they had ended up losing this game, then there definitely would be some trouble in the locker room or in the front office.
Game 5: Los Angeles Lakers, 121 vs. Denver Nuggets, 114
This was easily a statement win. The Lakers and Nuggets have been brewing up a recent rivalry which included Jamal Murray dribbling around Lonzo Ball after last year’s victory in LA and the Laker fans booing Murray every time he touches the ball. With the Nuggets being one of the most improved teams this season and poses as a threat to some of the better teams in the league, beating them was no joke. The Nuggets are currently sitting at 9-1 and their only loss was to the Lakers. The Lakers played good overall basketball as 6 players scored in double-digits. This was a much-needed win for the Lakers moving forward as every game matters in the Western Conference.
Game 6: Los Angeles Lakers, 106 @ San Antonio Spurs, 110
The Lakers once again failed to close out the game against the Spurs. This has been an ongoing issue for the team this season as we have seen that the Lakers aren’t able to close out games and secure rebounds. After having a double-digit lead in the third quarter, that quickly faded away as the Lakers allowed San Antonio 56 points in the second half points as opposed to their 46 points. Balanced scoring was the story of the game for the Spurs and the Lakers have been losing games to the same issue. But now there’s a lot of speculation whether or not Coach Luke Walton should be fired.
Game 7: Los Angeles Lakers, 120 @ Minnesota Timberwolves, 124
First game back after Ingram’s four-game suspension and he failed to disappointed as he posted 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. Despite the runs and ability to stay in the game throughout the first three-quarters, the Lakers failed to perform at a high level in the fourth quarter as they were outscored by five points in the fourth. Jimmy Butler had three 3-pointers late in the fourth which eventually sealed the deal for Minnesota. Once again, we were seeing the same issues for the Lakers occur over and over. Lack of rebounding, defense, and our inefficiency in the clutch moments. Luke Walton is definitely on the hot-seat now and the Lakers drop to 2-5.
Game 8: Los Angeles Lakers, 114 vs. Dallas Mavericks, 113
Many will complain stating that the Lakers didn’t deserve to win this game. After all, they were up by 20 and once again, almost choked the lead and the game. The Mavericks outscored the Lakers in the fourth quarter 32-20 and the Lakers almost dropped to 2-6. Thankfully, the Lakers were able to seal the deal and even if it’s just a one-point win against a rebuilding Dallas Mavericks team, every win matters in the Western Conference. This was definitely the most ugly win of the season, but the Lakers were able to get better and learn from their mistakes after this close game.
Game 9: Los Angeles Lakers, 114 @ Portland Trail Blazers, 110
For the second time in 9 games, the Lakers are back playing against the Blazers in Portland. With more playing time together, the Lakers were able to break their 16-loss streak to the Blazers and win in Portland. This was a great win despite the lead being cut in the fourth quarter. Portland was never able to get momentum throughout the game as the Lakers did a good job overall defending consistently and ran the fast break constantly. Defense was definitely the main factor for the Lakers win in Portland as JaVale McGee led the way with 7 blocks. When the Lakers play good defense as they displayed it against Portland, this will be a tough team to beat.
Game 10: Los Angeles Lakers, 107 vs. Toronto Raptors, 121
Probably the most pathetic Laker game we have seen was this game against the Raptors in LA. Off a back-to-back, the Lakers weren’t expected to win this game despite Kawhi Leonard’s absence, however, the disgraceful performance from the Lakers in the first half was absolutely disgusting. The Raptors went up by THIRTY points in the first quarter and never looked back as they were able to hold on to their lead throughout the game. The Lakers were able to make a small comeback late in the fourth quarter but it didn’t matter much. Probably the most disappointing loss of the season as the Lakers will be taking on the Timberwolves hoping for redemption.
Say what you want about the Lakers starting 4-6 in the regular season. Out of the first 10 games that they have played, 7 games were against opponents that had made the playoffs just last year. The Lakers schedule has been brutal, but should lighten up as they will be playing the Timberwolves, Kings, and Hawks in their next three games. They need to get better on defense and rebound the ball better. With the addition of Tyson Chandler, that should help the Lakers in the rebounding department tremendously.