The Lakers led 66-58 with 8:25 remaining in the third quarter, then it all went wrong. L.A. didn’t score again until Jodie Meeks hit two free throws a few minutes into the fourth quarter. Ouch. Golden State went on a 35-0 run as the Lakers went nearly 11 minutes of playing time without putting a tally on the board. As pretty as the Lakers’ opening 26-17 lead in the first quarter looked, the 37-10 drubbing they experienced in the third was equally putrid.
Play of the game
The early play that showed a glimpse of just how special this Lakers team can become didn’t take long when less than two minutes into the game, Steve Nash whipped a cross court no-look pass to Kobe Bryant, who was wide open behind the 3-point line. Rather than let it fly, Bryant hooked Pau Gasol up with a nifty alley-oop pass that the Spaniard finished with a layup. Coming in a close second was Nash shaking Jarrett Jack loose with a crossover in the second quarter that nearly made Jack fall to the floor, allowing Nash the space to calmly can a 3-pointer.
World wide leader
A slimmed-down Metta World Peace showed that his game had only become more robust in the offseason. World Peace was all over the floor, picking up 10 points, three rebounds and an assist in 16:28. More importantly, he had three steals, which sparked several Nash fast breaks that led to easy scoring opportunity for L.A.
“I’m a West Coast Conference guy. He’s a West Coast Conference guy,” said Lakers coach Mike Brown, who went to the University of San Diego. “Even though he went to Gonzaga, I still don’t hold it against him. There are some ties there between the two of us, so he gets to start.”
Sacre rewarded Brown’s conference loyalty with six points and two rebounds in 13:35 of playing time.
After spending all week as the backup center against the Lakers’ video game starting lineup, Sacre said it was invigorating to be surrounded by all that talent. “I think it’s a pretty reassuring feeling,” Sacre said. “You can feel pretty confident. Knowing that those guys are behind you makes you feel strong and gets you ready for whatever you have to face.”
It wasn’t a surprise that Howard did not play Sunday, as he had been ruled out by the team ever since before training camp began. But it was a bit of a surprise that he is backing off his earlier statement that he wants to play in the preseason.
The Lakers have seven preseason games left on their schedule.
Second-half rest for the starters
Brown vowed not to have any player be on the court for more than 20 minutes, and he was almost true to his word. He managed to keep his starters’ minutes down, as World Peace, Bryant, Nash and Gasol all played between 14:35 and 18:30. Jordan Hill played 20:13 off the bench, however.
What it means
The Lakers bench, a major Achilles’ heel of the team a year ago, looks as if it still has a lot of work to do this year, even with additions in Meeks and Antawn Jamison. The good thing is that L.A. still has plenty of time to work out the kinks before the regular season begins Oct. 30.
“I don’t even know who is on their team. ... I couldn’t tell you much about their team right now.” -- Coach Brown said about the Warriors before the game.