Lakers have now played 11 games, winning one more than they've lost, and I couldn't be more optimistic about not only this team's future, but also the present. Lakers went on a 3 game road trip taking on the Kings, Pelicans, and Timberwolves, better known as the bottom feeders of the western conference.
Lakers took on the Sacramento Kings in their first game of the road trip. It wasn't off to a hot start, the Kings jumped out a 14 point lead in the first quarter with Boogie Cousins and Rudy Gay doing the majority of the scoring. The Kings were able to maintain a solid pace on offense, but the Lakers offense began to click as well as the bench sparked a positive reaction on the offensive end, Kings lead 55-45 going into the break. Lakers came out in the second half hot, the Kings would come out cold, and the script was beginning to flip as the Kings lead was down to 3 heading into the fourth quarter. Lakers opened the fourth on a 20-9 run, the Kings couldn't make a basket if their life depended on it, and the Lakers were making it rain as everything seemed to be falling for them. Lakers would take the lead for the first time since the first few minutes of the game and wouldn't look back. LA outscored Sacramento 31-18 in the fourth quarter and 56-36 in the second half to give them a 101-91 win in the first game of the road trip. Lakers had 5 players in double figures, they had 4 players with 15+ points, and every player that got minutes scored. Great comeback victory to start the road trip, if this was last year's Lakers they would've rolled over after going down 14 in the first, and we would've lost by 30. Already a great sign of the huge culture change in the Lakers organization.
Game 2 of the road trip was against Anthony Davis and company, realistically that's what they should rename the franchise because frankly, he's the entire team. This game was very important to see where this Laker team stands as of right now in terms of how good we are, see the Pelicans are probably the worst team in basketball, they're the worst team in western conference for sure, so I knew if we couldn't soundly beat them then we probably weren't as good as we've looked. It's so early in the season that it's hard to tell which teams are actually seriously good, which teams are just off to hot starts, and which teams are off to cold starts. Pelicans actually had a 1 point lead in this game going into halftime, but the Lakers are a second half team, they came out proved that as they outscored the Pelicans 71-43 in the second half, going on to win 126-99. Clarkson continued to be a ruthless scorer off the bench scoring 23 points in 25 minutes shooting a great 66%. The bench scored 73 points against the Pelicans as they continue to be the highest scoring bench in the league with Lou Will and Jordan Clarkson leading the way for them, there averaging 51 points per game as a unit this season, clearly the reason we're off to this great start. Lakers had now clinched a winning road trip which was a great feeling going into a tough matchup against Minnesota the next day.
Minnesota is a team in the western conference on the rise just like the Lakers, the T-Wolves have better stars in Wiggins and KAT, but the Lakers have a much better bench due to their depth. I had a bad feeling coming into this game, we were playing back to back road games, so they'd been doing a lot of traveling, the players are clearly a little worn, and the Timberwolves were coming off 5 straight losses so they really needed this one before their season started spiraling out of control this early. It was all T-Wolves the entire way, Wiggins had a career night scoring 47 points, more than our entire starting 5 combined, as they went on to destroy us 125-99. They only concerning part about this loss to me was the awful play of our starting 5, they've been pretty inconsistent this year scoring wise, and that falls on D'Angelo Russell. Russell has his games where he looks like next great guard in this league and then he has games where he's a turnover machine, and can't hit a shot to save his life. He's very young, 20 years old, so obviously he's going to experience some growing pains in this league, but the sooner we get him going as a consistent scorer, the sooner we will be playoff bound. Like I said we're only 11 games into the season, so I won't get too carried away with the playoff talk, but if we can just stay relevant throughout the season in the discussion of who's going to get the 8th seed in the west, I'll be ecstatic with how our season went. We got a 4 game home stand coming up, gotta prove we can defend our home floor like all playoff basketball teams do, and then we can get a little more serious about the Lakers being the real deal.