3 Thoughts: Los Angeles Lakers Trounced by Spurs


29. 85. 20. Final. 99

1. No More Kobe Bean

This may very well be the beginning of the post-Kobe era for the Los Angeles Lakers. In the previous game, Bryant tore his rotator cuff in his right shoulder, which he will more than likely need surgery on, putting him out of the lineup for the rest of the season. More will be known about Bryant’s injury on Monday.

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This season without Bryant on the floor, the Lakers have played a little better because they facilitate better ball movement without him. Having Bryant tonight would have definitely helped from the offensive standpoint, seeing as how the Lakers had a miserable shooting percentage from the field in the first quarter (28.6%) and only shot 38.1% for the entire first half. Bryant’s fire and intensity were also undoubtedly missed tonight by his teammates.

Moving forward in the season, it is important for the Lakers to realize that the Mamba will not be there and understand what that actually means: everyone has to step up. This also means that everyone can have their chance to shine and this is no time to be shy. Although this is a horrible situation, the Lakers can certainly make the best of it by seeing this as a chance to reinvent themselves for the second half of the season now that Kobe is out.

2. Jordan Clarkson Finally Got Some Burn

Clarkson got some serious love from coach Byron Scott tonight as he was chosen as the starting point guard for the first time as a Laker as well as his NBA career. The rookie finished the game with only one turnover in nearly 30 minutes of playing time, proving he can take care of the orange for an entire game against a quality veteran team such as the San Antonio Spurs.

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It was also pleasing to see that coach Scott allowed Clarkson to run the show for the most part by himself. This move will help establish trust between Scott and Clarkson and increase Clarkson’s confidence in himself as a player that can take the reigns and be aggressive. He was very active and aggressive in the first quarter scoring 6 points on 3-4 shooting from the field.  He finished the game with 11 points on 5-9 shooting and 4 assists; not bad for his first start in the NBA, but the Lakers are no doubt looking for him to improve moving forward in the season.

3. Swaggy Got Serious

Nick Young had an unfamiliar demeanor in the game tonight against the Spurs: less smiling and more seriousness and intensity from Swaggy P. Swaggy showed up for his teammates and was all business tonight as he scored 17 points (team high and tied for game high) on 5-11 shooting and he went 4-4 from the freethrow line. He also shot 50% from behind the three point line.

With Kobe out, the team will look to Young to carry a large portion of the scoring load, unless others prove they can shoulder some of the weight. Without Young, the Lakers can prove to be very lethargic offensively, which can put them down early in the game. Young will have to stay aggressive and stay active on the offensive end. It would also be nice if he stepped into a leadership role on the floor (despite still coming off the bench). The Lakers need direction and leadership on the floor, and Young’s energy and charisma would do wonders for the Lakers if they all fed off of it because as we have seen in the past, when Swaggy gets going it is easier for the Lakers to gain momentum.

Next: Game Grades: Lakers Crushed By Spurs Despite New Lineup