I know, I know…these games mean nothing. That the Lakers’ reserves once again were rolled during last night’s 99-86 loss to Utah is anything but surprising yet none the less concerning. That is becoming a common theme during this preseason as Mike Brown sorts out his underperforming bench.
What else is becoming common is the welcome sight of guys like Kobe Bryant getting used to life with Steve Nash. KB24 didn’t hesitate to express the newfound joy that is hooping with Nash. Kobe called Nash the best passer he’s ever played with. That statement is obvious in every way, even more exciting on every level.
Bryant’s basketball life is going to be much easier this season and his 18 point, 8 board and 5 dime night is further proof of that.
Someone else that is experiencing the beauty of the Nash program is Metta World Peace who was once again in double figures. MWP was MIA last season, lost in the abyss of Coach Brown’s rotation and role definition. This season World Peace is looking like he’s back to his Artestian ways.
But if we’re going to talk about this like we would any other game of hoops it’s impossible to ignore the Lakers bench. This unit was a major problem last season as they routinely blew leads, contributed little and was generally unreliable. The same thing is happening all over again.
In each of the Lakers three preseason losses we’ve seen the same scenario unfold. The starters hand a lead over to the bench and the second string coughs it up in epic fashion.
Coach Brown, as always, is tweaking his rotation. To be sure things will look much different once the regular season begins. For now it’s just downright disappointing seeing the continued bench struggles.
But fear not. If this loss haunted you in any way (really it shouldn’t, no preseason game should but play along here) then the good news for you is we get a rematch with these same Jazz on Tuesday. Let’s hope the Lakers bring their bench with them to Anaheim.