As I mentioned during Lakers Late Night (which can be viewed by clicking here) Mike Brown stressed how there's no such thing as a moral victory, particularly not in a season like this one. For that matter, he was quite disappointed to come up short with a win well within the Lakers' reach. "We played pretty good basketball until we went down the stretch," Brown conceded.
Still, the positives from the loss outweighed the negatives in the coach's mind. The defense improved drastically over course of the game. The team looked more organized on both sides of the ball. And many of the mistakes (turnovers, missed free throws) are correctable. Plus, Brown hasn't lost sight of how much -- and how quickly -- this team is being forced to learn:
"We're gonna have to use some of these games as practices, so to speak, meaning that we're going to go through some growing pains. And we're gonna have to learn from them. And yes, obviously, hopefully we can learn sooner rather than later. But there might be some times where we make some mistakes that hopefully won't be characteristic of what we're gonna do at the end of the season."
Click below the jump for more videos from Brown, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Goudelock and Josh McRoberts.
A critical turnover between Kobe and Pau down the stretch set up Derrick Rose to float the game-winner home with 4.8 seconds remaining. As Brown explained afterward, the plan was for Kobe to hold onto the ball with the shot clock off, get fouled and head to the stripe, rather than pass at all. (For his part, Kobe decided the Bulls weren't going to foul him, so he threw an awkward pass to Pau, who clearly wasn't ready for it. Bryant labeled the sequence a miscommunication.)
I asked Brown if, in terms of the learning curve, the Lakers were ahead of where he expected, behind, or precisely where he pictured at this point. As it turns out, they're a little further along. And I concur. From where I'm sitting, the improvement from game one of the preseason to the season opener has been very surprising.
Kobe agrees with us about the Lakers moving in the right direction over a short window of time. All in all, he was encouraged by what he saw.
The game's biggest surprise was undoubtedly rookie Andrew Goudelock picking up the minutes at shooting guard behind Kobe, a decision that left fellow candidates Matt Barnes and Jason Kapono in their warmups all afternoon. In the videos below, Brown explains why he opted for the pride of College of Charleston (a decision he wrestled with until literally calling out Goudelock's name), and the kid talks about remaining ready, which has been the key for him every since training camp opened.
Josh McRoberts talks about the physicality he plans to provide and his role on the team.
Pau Gasol, on the loss and the play of the bench