Before the season, we all figured that offense wouldn't be a big deal, and the defense would be ugly. So far, we aren't wrong, as the Warriors completely had their way with the Lakers' defense, scoring 125 points (Klay Thompson had a career high 38 points last night in only 31 minutes). The whole team played an awful game, full of too many isolations and not enough touches down low for Gasol.
Then again, it's hard to consistently go to the low block when the other team is making it rain triples. The Warriors shot an absurd 55.7% from downtown (15-27); they ran the fast break to perfection and they made the Lakers respect their three point shooting early and often, opening up driving lanes for Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry, not to mention help space the floor for David Lee (24 points, 8 rebounds). Some of these were lazy defense on the part of the Lakers, standing pat near the three point line and not putting their hands up, but others were just ridiculously far and/or contested three point shot attempts. I'll give credit where credit is due: Mark Jackson and Jerry West have created an offensive juggernaut, predicated on excellent shooting, crisp and quick passing and dribble penetration, however it is also an offense that can go to the low block to Lee or Andrew Bogut, should the shots not fall.
Not everything about last night's game was negative. Gasol and Nick Young, once again, only played 23 and 20 minutes, so they should be fully rested and ready to play the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, as will Nash, not having played yesterday's contest. Xavier Henry found his way to the basket on multiple occasions, scoring 14 points and grabbing 4 rebounds, though it was on 4-11 shooting. Wesley Johnson continues to play solid defense all around and at the PF position, which just sounds ridiculous because he's 6'7'' and was a SG for most of his career, recording 2 blocks and 2 steals, and found his long range stroke last night, going 3-6 from deep. Chris Kaman had a solid offensive night, scoring 11 points on 5-9 shooting in only 18 minutes. Rebound Machine Jordan Hill had 7 rebounds in 13 minutes (!)*. All in all, there was something salvageable from that game, and that is Xavier Henry should definitely be the team's top reserve right now and Hill, as well as Kaman, absolutely need more minutes.
Also: Why is Shawne Williams starting, let alone playing? He only played 12 minutes and recorded 0 points with 2 rebounds. I know it wouldn't have made a difference in this game, but those 12 minutes distributed between Hill and Kaman could be a huge difference maker in other games. On a related note, I would like to see Kaman start along side Gasol against the Spurs and their bigger front line.
In short: Lazy defense, solid (at times) offense, and a long road to bringing it all together. Let's hope for more of the opener and less of this game for the rest of the year.
*Side note: Jordan Hill's per 36 minutes numbers: 16.3 points per game and 17.4 rebounds per game. Incredible.