The Los Angeles Lakers showcased why they are the favorites to win the title again this season. After a couple of dominant performances on Christmas Day against the Dallas Mavericks and last nights outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves, they showcased the potential they have as a unit.
Sunday Night Victory
Los Angeles defeated Minnesota 127-91 in a controlling fashion, not faltering the lead at any point. Not to mention they did it without All Pro Anthony Davis who was unavailable with a calf contusion. Davis suffered the injury in the season opener agains the Clippers and reaggravated it during the Mavs contest.
“We’re going to approach each one throughout the whole year on a case-by-case basis,” Vogel said. “And with the expectation that our guys will play both games, unless there is a reason otherwise. And in this case, there is a reason otherwise with Anthony’s calf. We’ll just continue to evaluate that throughout the year.
The Timberwolves came into town on Sunday 2-0 looking to improve to 3-0 but had one problem. All-Star Center Karl Anthony-Towns was unavailable for his team with a sore wrist. Without their centerpiece of the offense it would be a difficult task for the young Timberwolves.
Marc Gasol Arrives
Marc Gasol found his rhythm last night going for a stat line of 12 points eight assists and seven rebounds. Gasol was a marksman from three point territory making all three of his attempts. Gasol even made a 32 foot bomb from downtown. However even though Gasol finally found his shot, it was his playmaking that was noticed. The simple give and go play with him and whoever initiates the pass has been a go to this year. Marc is a talented passer in his own right putting the ball right where it needs to be.
LeBron James Schools the Young Wolves
LeBron James was in control of the game the entire time. Registering 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes of play. Now in his 19th season, James knows exactly how to defeat young teams who have lesser talent, gets stops, run and move the ball. Entering this year, It has been a focus for Frank Vogel to preserve James’ minutes at any given opportunity. James sat out for a majority of the fourth against the Clipper, and sat out of the entire forth against Dallas and the Timberwolves. The Finals MVP will be turning 36 on Dec. 30 and the Lakers want to keep him as fresh as possible for the postseason.
But it was Kuzma who had himself a night out, starting off hot in the first quarter and not cooling down in his 29 minutes. Kuzma got the nod to start in place of the injured Davis and ran away with the opportunity. Kyle had 20 points and came out firing from the field. The fourth year forward was 8/12 from the field and 4/6 from behind the arc. To go along with the 20 points, Kuzma also had three assists, three rebounds and three blocks.
After signing an extension with Lakers before the season began, Kuzma is showing his worth in hopes of staying in Los Angeles past his new deal. Kyle has been better on the defensive end as well as his shot selection in these three games. Should Kyle continue his play this just gives another weapon to an already dominant Lakers team.
Sunday’s victory was a result of a complete team victory. The ball movement was excellent throughout the game with everyone giving the extra pass, lanes were filled correctly in the fast break, as well as everyone talking on defense and dead ball situations.
The Lakers were firing from all cylinders on Sunday night, shooting 55.6% (50/90) from the field, draining 13 three pointers (37%) and being complete demons on defense holding Minnesota to 36% (38/109) shooting from the field.
The Lakers are averaging 124.7 PPG in their first three games of the season, but has yet to have anyone on the roster score 30 points or more. This just goes to show the amount of depth that Los Angeles has.
The team is back in action tonight facing off against the Portland Trailblazers. Frank Vogel hopes Anthony Davis can play tonight as he is listed as “probable”. Alex Caruso (right hand strain) and LeBron James (left ankle sprain) are both listed as questionable.
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