Los Angeles Lakers: Three takeaways from opening night loss to Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers won it all in 2020. But their reign didn’t last long as they were eliminated in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Los Angles Lakers: Three takeaways from their season-opening loss to Golden State Warriors

On the heels of an active offseason, the Lakers assembled a roster they felt is capable of competing for a championship. That being said, it’s only fitting that their first game of the season was against the Golden State Warriors. After all, the Warriors are not far removed from a stretch in which they went to five straight Finals series.

Not only that, but the Dubs also won three titles during that stretch. So how did the Lakers respond to their first step on what they hope will be a climb back up the NBA mountaintop? Not very well. They surrendered a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, which resulted in a 121-114 loss.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Warriors.

3. Warriors bench showed up big time

As expected, Stephen Curry fueled the Warriors’ offense. He dropped a triple-double that included 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. In addition to that, the Warriors got multiple contributions from their second unit.

In fact, the reserves scored 55 of the team’s 121 points. No that is not a misprint. Nemanja Bielica scored 15 points on an efficient 6-for-7 shooting from the field. Andre Iguodala — who was an instrumental cog of those championship teams — also chipped in with15 points. And thanks to these contributions, the Warriors reserves outscore their counterparts by a 55-29 margin. The performance of the second unit was not lost on Curry.

“We kept our composure and didn’t turn the ball over in the second half, which was a huge benefit to just maintaining the pace and giving ourselves some looks,” Curry said, via ESPN. “But the fact that everybody who was on the floor contributed in a meaningful way kind of speaks to our depth and how we want to play going forward. We’re excited about that and it’s good to be 1-0.”

It should be noted that Warrior forward Draymond Green stated that this team isn’t a championship team as of yet. However, if their bench is able to play at this level for a good portion of the season, they definitely have more than an outside chance of making it to the playoffs.

2. Russell Westbrook Lakers debut was one to forget

The Los Angeles Lakers added a number of players to their roster during the offseason. But none of them was more notable than Russell Westbrook. He plays at a frenetic pace and he is a triple-double waiting to happen on any given night.

This is supported by the fact that he has averaged a triple-double in four of the past five seasons. However, Westbrook didn’t have a positive impact in his first game with the Lakers.

He scored just eight points on 4-for-13 shooting from the field, and he missed each of his four attempts from beyond the arc. Furthermore, he recorded as many turnovers (four) as he did assists.

To be fair, Westbrook has never been an overly efficient shooter. And it was his first game in a new system in which he isn’t one of the top two players on the roster. While his debut didn’t go the way he and the Lakers had hoped, it’s just one game out of 82. Given his talent, he will figure things out as the season progresses.

1. LeBron James is off to a solid start

LeBron James sustained a high ankle sprain towards the end of the 2020-21 NBA season. That and Anthony Davis nursing a groin injury contributed to the Lakers’ first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns.

So, in the first game of his 19th season, James proved that he’s still one of the best players in the league. He scored 34 points on 13-for-23 shooting from the floor. James also tallied 11 rebounds and five assists. He also shot a respectable 5-for-11 from three-point range

If there was any concern about whether James could still play at a high level in Year 19, he put those concerns to rest. And as history has proven, a team that has a healthy LeBron James is always in the championship contender conversation.

 

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