Lakers 2013 Preseason: Daily Updates, Scores, News and Analysis
The Los Angeles Lakers are headed into the upcoming 2013-14 campaign with many more questions than answers. It’s not hard to see why that happens to be the case, especially after last year’s debacle.
This club is down in the dumps after a tumultuous 2012-13 season. A summer of hype led to nothing more than a career-threatening injury to the team’s best player, an opening-round sweep in the playoffs and the marquee defection of a superstar free agent.
Although Kobe Bryant is almost assuredly going to be sitting out awhile—the Black Mamba currently has no timetable for a return from his devastating Achilles injury—the rest of the Lakers supporting cast will have a chance to prove the doubters wrong.
Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are the two key veterans who will be tasked with shouldering the load with Bryant out of the picture. They will have to keep afloat a squad that will prominently feature the likes of Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Steve Blake and a number of unproven, young talents.
It’s an uphill battle to say the least, but the Lakers have always somehow proven to be winners in the most adverse circumstances. It’ll be quite interesting to see if they can somehow find that magic once again ahead of the 2013-14 season tip.
With that in mind, let us take a look at every upcoming preseason contest on the slate. As the month goes by, make sure you check back for results and analysis from each game, breaking news concerning the organization and much more.
Lakers 2013 Preseason Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 5
Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, Ca.
Sunday, Oct. 6
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Ca.
Tuesday, Oct. 8
Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, Ca.
Thursday, Oct. 10
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
Tuesday, Oct. 15
Golden State Warriors
MasterCard Center, Beijing, China
Friday, Oct. 18
Golden State Warriors
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai, China
Tuesday, Oct. 22
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Ca.
Friday, Oct. 25
Honda Center, Anaheim, Ca.
Lakers Fall to Warriors in China
The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Golden State Warriors, 100-95, in a preseason contest that took place in Beijing, China.
Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman continued to prove that they can play together, as the frontcourt duo piled in a combined 29 points, 16, rebounds and six assists, with Kaman leading the way from his center position with 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Nick Young was the team’s leading scorer, going off for 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and connecting on three of his four attempts from beyond the arc.
However, star players led the Warriors to victory. Steph Curry dropped 24 points and seven dimes, while David Lee banged inside for 31 points and six boards. It’s worth noting that both stars played much longer than the L.A. starters, as Lee was in the game for 38 minutes and Curry for 36.
In his post-game press conference, Lakers head coach D’Antoni acknowledged that he didn’t utilize his starters towards the end of the contest due to their age and desire to evaluate the rest of his roster.
D’Antoni gave guys like Ryan Kelly, Shawne Williams, Elias Harris and Xavier Henry extended minutes and will have some tough decisions to make when it comes time to narrow his final roster down to 15 active players.
Henry stepped up more than any other reserve, scoring 15 points and throwing down a monstrous alley-oop on the break following a Golden State turnover.
Kobe Bryant was in attendance, but wore a suit on the sidelines and doesn’t appear ready to make his debut anytime soon. He recently acknowledged that he would “probably” play if it were a postseason game, but that simply isn’t the case.
L.A. will have a chance to get revenge against the Dubs on Friday, as the two sides will meet again in Shanghai, China for a rematch.
Kobe Bryant Given OK to Ramp Up Workouts
According to David McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant has been given the "green light" to start ramping up his workouts.
There is still no timetable for Bryant's return to the hardwood.
Bryant said to the media on Oct. 9, via McMenamin's report: "I just keep it all open right now. I don't know why you guys are so hell-bent on timelines. It's like the most ridiculous thing to me. It's entertaining. When I'm ready, I'm ready."
Bryant is currently focused on improving the explosiveness in his left leg. He's running with his full weight on the team's altered-gravity treadmill while doing exercises like calf raises, according to the report.
The 35-year-old shooting guard will now work on conditioning after not being able to run around for a long period of time.
Bryant also said: "I need to get my fat ass in shape. Six months of eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not running has caught up to me a little bit. So, I got to get in shape."
The 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion also said it was important to feel comfortable and not feel like he has "Bambi legs or anything like that where my mobility is limited when taking off."
"Fat ass", "Bambi legs"; if nothing else, Kobe has been entertaining off the court.
Kobe Bryant Returns to Practice in Limited Fashion
It seems that all eyes are on Kobe Bryant as he tries to work his way back from an Achilles injury this offseason. He’s been making significant progress toward his goal of returning to the court and took another big stride on Wednesday.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, the future Hall of Famer was spotted on the practice court engaging in shooting drills and doing some light jogging.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni commented on Bryant’s continuing progress after the practice, telling McMenamin:
He just keeps progressing. He was out today shooting a little bit and jogging. He just keeps getting better…I saw him shoot the ball today for the first time. I don't know if it's the first time, but it's the first time I saw him. So, that's a progression. I'm not in the training room to see what he does every day. Obviously as hard as he's worked, every day he's going to get a little bit better. Now, what that means, I don't know.
Bryant informed Lakers reporter Mike Trudell at the club’s media day that he is feeling good, but currently has no timetable for a recovery. With preseason starting this weekend, it’s unlikely that Bryant will see a minute of exhibition action during October.
The superstar shooting guard could be eyeing a return when the regular season tips off against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 29, but his health and strength will likely dictate if that is possible.
Bench Steps Up in Lakers' Victory over Jazz
The Los Angeles Lakers won their first game back since returning to the United States following their Chinese tour. L.A. defeated the Utah Jazz, 108-94. The victory runs the Lakers' record to 3-4 in the preseason.
It was a strong performance from Los Angeles on both sides of the court.
The Jazz shot only 35-of-88 from the floor, including 8-of-26 from three-point range. Utah also turned the ball over 21 times. Although it's only preseason, Lakers fans have to be encouraged by their team's performance on defense. It's the biggest question mark surrounding this team. You can't expect a radical overhaul overnight, so all you want to see are baby steps.
Offensively, the Lakers were about as good as you would have expected them to be. They were 36-of-76 shooting and 10-of-25 from behind the three-point line.
What may have been a bit discouraging was Nick Young's performance. He has never seen a shot he didn't like before, and putting him in this Lakers offense could be a disaster waiting to happen. Young was just 4-of-12 from the floor and finished with nine points.
Steve Nash was limited to just 15 minutes on the floor, scoring five points. Pau Gasol added nine of his own. This night wasn't about the stars, though.
The bench were the real stars.
Jordan Farmer led the Lakers in scoring, with 20 points. He added one rebound and three assists. Jodie Meeks had 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and two rebounds.
Wesley Johnson may have been the biggest surprise. He's done next to nothing since being drafted fourth overall in the 2010 draft. However, Johnson may have found a spot with the Lakers. He had 14 points and six rebounds. More importantly, Johnson's defense was invaluable. With the defensive problems plaguing the team, Los Angeles will need perimeter defenders like Johnson.
There was also one for the highlight reel when Xavier Henry dunked over Justin Holiday. Henry has made it a habit of getting big dunks.
The Lakers finish up their preseason against the Jazz on Friday in Anaheim.
Lakers Finish Preseason off with Win over Jazz
The Los Angeles Lakers (4-4) ended their preseason on a high note, following a 111-106 win over the Utah Jazz (1-7).
Steve Blake led all scorers, with 19 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting, including 5-of-5 from downtown. He added seven rebounds and four assists.
Pau Gasol and Nick Young each had 16 points, with Gasol adding eight rebounds and seven assists.
Once again, the bench played a big part in the win.
Jordan Hill, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry all finished in double figures scoring. Henry led the way with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting.
While Wesley Johnson only had six points, he worked hard on the defensive end and looks to be the kind of perimeter defender the team so desperately needs. While he'll never live up to the hype of being the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Johnson has been a good addition this offseason.
As a team, the Lakers were scorching from the floor. They made 50 percent of their baskets (40-of-80) and 44.8 percent of their three-pointers (13-of-29). It didn't matter that the Jazz had 18 more points in the post.
It's an encouraging result as the Lakers prepare for their season-opener with the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 29, even if the Jazz look to be one of the worst teams in the league. The play of Henry and Johnson, in particular, should give fans some hope when the season begins. While they're not going to put up 20 a night, their performance off the bench could make the difference in some games.
For the preseason, Gasol finished as the team's leading scorer, with 13.7 points per game. Young was second, with 13.1. Farmar was the leading assist man, with 5.0. Chris Kaman grabbed the most boards on average (7.8).
Los Angeles averaged 96.4 points a game on 40.9 percent shooting, both of which are actually lower than their opponents' averages (99.9 and 43.5 percent).
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