Coming off a disappointing loss to the Nets on Thursday morning, the Lakers got their shot at revenge in a second China preseason game. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan as they stumbled out of the gates and were never able to recover, losing 91-77.
Despite the ugly loss, arguably the biggest hit for the Lakers came in the form of a thumb injury to Anthony Davis. While it seems that Davis was able to escape with only a sprained thumb and shouldn’t be on the shelf for an extended period of time, the injury remains concerning given his history of missing games.
Lakers Pick up Ugly Win Over Nets in Final China Preseason Game
After back to back strong preseason showings from the Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the duo wasn’t able to get much going and posted woefully inefficient nights from the field before Davis’ injury. While Davis did play some solid defense – and was instrumental in keeping the game close in the first quarter. Picking up two blocks to go along with a steal in only 12 minutes, Davis flashed the defensive chops that had Laker fans salivating when he was acquired in the offseason. However, it seems he also may have possibly injured himself on one of his two blocks.
While Davis was held out of the second half, head coach Frank Vogel opted to sit LeBron for the rest of the game as well. Vogel has made a point to exclusively play the two together throughout the preseason so far and considering James is coming off an injury of his own last season, Vogel probably didn’t feel like risking a second superstar to injury in a preseason game.
The Lakers’ bench was mostly inefficient as well, with only JaVale McGee, Davontae Cacok, and Dwight Howard shooting over 50% from the field for the evening (all big men). The Lakers’ lack of shot creation on the second unit looks to be a major problem and while the return of Kyle Kuzma should help add a scoring punch, Kuzma isn’t the type of player capable of consistently creating his own looks.
Kostas Antetokounmpo, the baby Greek Freak, made his debut and looked excellent to start in his limited debut against the Nets. While he cooled down a bit as the game went on, he showed an ability to knock down the deep ball while flashing some surprisingly competent defense for a player on a two-way contract. While he played fewer than 10 minutes, he showed some very real promise and could prove to be an actual contributor should the Lakers be forced to call him up and give heavy minutes his way in the event of injuries.
Lakers Head Home to Face Warriors Again
The Lakers’ lone win in the preseason came over the Golden State Warriors, a team they get to go home and face three more times before the season kicks off. With the Warriors lacking any form of depth in the frontcourt due to a bevy of injuries, the Lakers were able to consistently feast on the interior of the Golden State defense.
While it seems likely Davis will at least be missing the first of the three games, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard proved more than capable of giving the Warriors fits in their last outing. Once the Lakers are back stateside and have a few more games against Golden State, we should be able to get a much better read as to if the team is a legitimate contender, or if that first preseason game may have been an aberration.