12/19/2011 - Clippers (a) win 114-95 - Yahoo! Sports Box Score
12/21/2011 - Clippers (h) win 108-103 - Yahoo! Sports Box Score
Yes those pesky neighboring Clippers swept the Lakers in both preseason games by a total margin of 24 points but do realize Clipper Nation, 'tis the [pre]season so don't start your yapping quite yet.
Here's a friendly reminder for those over zealous Clipper fans, these were two exhibition games that do not hold any competitive value and are nothing more than a set up to the highly anticipated 66-game 2011-12 NBA season.
I'm not going to highlight notable stats (just click on the box score links above for that), I will however talk about how these two losses give Laker fans light at the end of the tunnel and something to smile about.
We've all heard it, the weakest link for the Lakers is at the 1 and 5. Lakers need a point guard who can quickly push the ball forward while having the capability of scoring to assist Kobe and a big man who isn't afraid to pound it inside. Thanks to these last two preseason games, the Lakers are not in as tight of a pinch as we'd thought.
POINT GUARD WORRIES NO MORE
Rookie Darius Morris made the most of his (just under) 24 minutes in the 1st preseason game by going 5-9, adding 11 points off the bench. He was electrifying and became a quick fan favorite by making several long distance buzzer beaters in the 1st half. He is a spark off the bench and shoots the ball with veteran-like confidence but also reminds fans of his rookie-like shot selection. Roll the clip.
Steve Blake played exceptionally well in the 2nd preseason game. He went 6-9 in FG's and 5-7 behind the arc, scoring a total of 20pts. coming off the bench. This is a very good sign for Laker fans. If Blake can continue to shoot this well, not picking up CP3 this past off season will be nothing more than an afterthought. There's even talks about Blake starting over Fisher.
WE HAVE OUR BIG MEN, WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Andrew Bynum had a double-double in both preseason matches, scoring a total of 37 points and bringing down 23 rebounds. The bigger highlight for me personally was the fact the he played over 30 minutes in both games and showed no visible signs of any aching knees. In fact, outside his big offensive numbers, defensively he was a presence too by blocking a total of 4 shots. His preseason performance should shine light for a promising regular season.
Pau Gasol was among the top 3 Lakers scorers for both exhibition matches. He scored 16 then 13 the following game. His numbers could be a little better but Pau's hesitance to shoot the ball has clearly gone away. He went 10-17FG and 1-2 long distance. Ha ha, only in the preseason would Gasol attempt a 3-pointers in consecutive games.
I'm not going to talk about Kobe's wrist injury because its simply just his way of saying, "I need a break" from all the drama surrounding his personal life and that's okay. Him missing a preseason game is fine by me. Lakers cannot afford to see him land on his behind like he did twice in the first preseason game. He'll be ready for the season opener.
The only concern I have for the Lakers is at the SF starting spot. I feel that Barnes would not be the best candidate for the starting role and I feel the same for World Peace. I've said it before, Matt's temper will hurt the team and Ron's shot is as predictable as Cali's next big earthquake. Ebanks looks good. He only missed 2 of his 9 FG attempts in the preseason. Coach just needs to give him more minutes. Maybe he can be the teams starting SF. You can call me crazy. I just think Artest needs to be less "stiff" and Barnes less "reactive". Again, I know it was just the preseason but Ebanks looked cool and collective on the court with his limited playing time.
On a personal note - I want to thank my good friend Norman for inviting me. I had a blast!