The Los Angeles Lakers won their first preseason game against the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night 103-84. What many have to remember is this is the first game, and there were going to be mistakes made and poor execution during stretches. This was to be expected.
In the end, the Lakers made enough plays in the second half and accomplished the main goal of winning. The new look offense seemed to work well as they topped the century mark but during the first half, it didn’t look like they were going to make it, or even win the game.
Here are 3 Takeaways from their win against the Kings:
Must Make Free Throws
The bright side is the Lakers managed to get to the line 43 times against the Kings, meaning they were fearless when attacking the basket. The downside was they managed to hit only 27 of those 43 attempts for 63%. If the Lakers continue on this trend of getting to the rim they will be a dangerous team and imagine if they can make at least 75-80% at the line. With D’Angelo Russell attacking the rim along with Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams the Lakers will give plenty of teams problems in the paint but they must make them pay by hitting the FTs.
Randle Must Play Under Control
Julius Randle will be one of the best post players in the league for years to come but he must learn to keep it under control. The Lakers cannot afford to have their best post option on the bench due to foul trouble. I get that it was a preseason game but this is the same issue that haunted him last season. Randle wants to be an elite defender but he must learn that position is just as important as a block or rebound. There were a lot of ticky-tac calls being made but he still must be smart and think team first. If he’s on the bench the Lakers have no chance. Randle recorded five fouls during 19 minutes of action which you could tell threw him off his game.
The Bench Played Great
I’ve said this all offseason, the Lakers will have one of the best benches in the league. The starting unit is where the youth is at but the bench has a few veterans that understand what it takes to close out games. Luke Walton decided to switch the lineup up some with Williams starting in place of Clarkson, which provided the bench which more firepower for that all important 4th quarter. The Lakers outscored the Kings 39-15 in the closing period thanks to players like Tarik Black, Thomas Robinson, Larry Nance and Brandon Ingram. Walton has said that Clarkson will not stick with the bench role but with either he or Williams leading the second unit they will be in great shape going forward.