Steve Nash directed the offense well in the first half, scoring five points… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
FRESNO — Particularly for those who couldn't watch the game because you're not a Time Warner Cable SportsNet subscriber, below are five things to take from the Lakers' 110-83 preseason loss Sunday to the Golden State Warriors:
1. The Lakers exhibited strong chemistry in the first half. Results don't matter in preseason games, so don't suddenly demand that the Lakers should blow up their roster after losing to Golden State without center Andrew Bogut and shooting guard Stephen Curry. But when the Lakers played with their starters in the first half, they showed that their chemistry looks strong. Steve Nash (five points, three assists) looked unbelievable throwing a cross-court, no-look pass to Kobe Bryant, who then connected with Pau Gasol on an alley-oop play. Nash also broke some ankles by shaking Jarrett Jack with a crossover that nearly made him fall before nailing an open three-pointer.
The Lakers also ran the revamped offense that includes elements of the Princeton system with fluidity. Rarely did they ever go into isolation sets. Each player appeared intent on following Nash's lead and finding the open player for a shot. Bryant, who posted 10 points on two-of-seven shooting and three assists, appeared intent on facilitating. The Lakers set strong screens and actually played off them.
They routinely covered for one another on defense. The floor spacing gave plenty of room for Metta World Peace to operate outside and score 10 points on three-of-six shooting. It's fair to say that this reflects how much calmer and easier it's been for the Lakers to absorb Brown's teaching concepts with more time and a solidified roster. As a result, the Lakers look a lot more exciting and fluid on offense than last year.
2. Pau Gasol played with purpose. He became the Lakers' go-to man by default without Dwight Howard in the lineup. But he became the focal point on offense because of his aggressiveness and fit in well with the new offense. Gasol's nine points on four-of-seven shooting, including an eight-point first quarter, reflected everything about his versatility. Gasol sank turnaround jumpers and hook shots. He canned an open jumper after running a pick-and-roll with Bryant, who drove through traffic and threaded the needle perfectly for the Lakers' forward.
3. Robert Sacre provided good energy as the starting center. Laker fans may not exactly frame the boxscore, marking Sacre's debut where he posted six points, on two-of-three shooting, and two rebounds. But he handled his sudden role into the starting lineup with the right approach. He simply hustled. Because of the team's mind-set, that set up Sacre for plenty of opportunities. Nash's first assist as a Laker came off Sacre hitting a bank shot in the lane. He also converted on a hook shot in the post. Sacre logged five points and two rebounds in his first seven minutes. Sure there were some mistakes: a few missed defensive assignments and a travel. But he filled in fairly well.
4. Jordan Hill has expanded his game. He may have taken a few too many jumpers. Remember, the Lakers don't need anything more than solid energy from him. But Hill knocked down a series of hooks and midrange shots and finished with 10 points on a five-of-11 clip. One notable play involved Nash setting up Hill where he spun into the lane and finished with a hook. He's sure come a long way from when the Lakers considered him an expiring contract only six months ago. It's a worrisome sign, though, that Hill sat on the bench in the fourth quarter holding a pad on his lower back.
5. Jodie Meeks didn't play much. Don't read too much into the Warriors coming back in the third quarter and scoring 28 unanswered points. Consider the entire Lakers' starting lineup (except Sacre) didn't play at all in the second half and that some of the reserves won't even make the final roster. But it's fair to wonder how the backup shooting guard spot will turn out. Many presumed Meeks would have it because of his strong three-point shooting, a quality the Lakers severely lacked last season. But Brown insisted he's also looking at Devin Ebanks and Andrew Goudelock. Brown used the first preseason game playing mostly Ebanks at that spot, while Meeks didn't enter the game until the second half.
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