Los Angeles – The Big Three? The result remains to be seen. But very little has changed about the Big Two.
In the pre-season unveiling of their power trio, the original Lakers star duo shone brightest on Tuesday night. Moving between LeBron James (17 points) to Rim and Anthony Davis (20 points), the franchise showed itself in good hands as the bumper process of integrating Russell Westbrook, as well as a 111–99 loss to Golden, went through. was included during State Warrior.
It was the team’s strongest performance during a 0-5 start, including a shock defeat on Friday against the same Warriors. That’s probably too generous though: Steph Curry and Drummond Green took the night off for Golden State, allowing the Lakers to crank up the intensity at the start of the third quarter after a 55-53 halftime lead.
Westbrook (10 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) has yet to break his scoring funk, misses his first four shots and is battling for the same finesse that made him the triple-double king of the NBA Is. But in a smaller-sample size, James and Davis showed that between them, they are still a formidable tandem, finishing with a combined 14 for 28 off the field.
The key was tempo, which was initially cranked. James and Davis combined for an 8-for-8 start from the field. James played the slasher he last wore during his days with the Miami Heat at No. 6 – a lot he had done while scoring three straight baskets on the rim. Davis was an air raider, showing chemistry on a lob pass from Rajon Rondo for high-flying dunks that he rarely had legs for last season.
Injuries made for an awkward night to fill in the minutes. In addition to long-term injuries from Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza, the Lakers were also missing Kendrick Nunn (right ankle sprain), Malik Monk (right groin strain) and Wayne Ellington (left hamstring pain). Veterans Center DeAndre Jordan was given an overnight stay.
The Lakers only have one preseason game left on Thursday night in Sacramento. They will start the season at home against the Warriors on October 19.
There is much more to come on this story.