The Los Angeles Lakers took the floor for the first time in four months as they squared off with the Dallas Mavericks in the opener of three scrimmages at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Though the final score didn’t go their way, the game was about the team getting back on the floor and taking their first steps towards a championship run. As has been the case much of this season, things started with Anthony Davis making an immediate impact.
LeBron James looked as he always did, controlling the show and finding his teammates for easy baskets. James also enjoyed moments for himself, including a breakaway dunk that electrified the Lakers bench.
For head coach Frank Vogel, the exhibition game was also about getting a good look at some newcomers, and Dion Waiters was chief among them. He and JR Smith had even more of an opportunity Thursday night as Alex Caruso missed the game due to a minor back injury.
Waiters made a big impression and finished out the first quarter with a bang.
— NBA (@NBA) July 23, 2020
James really picked things up in the second quarter, not just with his passing, but also with another throwback, fast-break dunk showing he’s still got it in Year 17. JaVale McGee enjoyed an excellent third quarter that was punctuated by this poster alley-oop off the assist from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
There’s one for the vlog ????
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 24, 2020
Rookie Talen Horton-Tucker has been impressing in practices so far in Orlando and he drew a reaction from the bench upon scoring his first points.
THT ⌚️ in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/N583FAPWC7
— South Bay Lakers (@SouthBayLakers) July 24, 2020
“We want to just try to get better. We’ll use this moment as a training camp to continue to implement our identity,” James said after the loss. “Our identity is to defend, share the ball, push the tempo and play together. I think we were able to accomplish that to as close to 40 minutes as possible.”
James otherwise directed his postgame remarks to advocating for justice for Breonna Taylor and addressing a myriad racial and social issues.
Next for Lakers
The team will not practice Friday and they are set to play their second scrimmage game Saturday, with tipoff at 9 a.m. PT. against the Magic.
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