After an international trip to China where the Los Angeles Lakers dropped two games to the Brooklyn Nets, they made their Staples Center debut and beat the Golden State Warriors for the second time during the 2019 NBA preseason.
Because the purple and gold had little time to rest after their trip, it was decided early in the afternoon that several of the regulars on the team like LeBron James and Anthony Davis would be rested.
Zach Norvell Jr. was easily the player of the game for Los Angeles as the undrafted shooting guard out of Gonzaga led the team in scoring with 22 points in 33 minutes of action. Norvell showed his range from distance as he knocked down three three-pointers on eight attempts while also converting seven out of eight free throws.
The bigs for the Lakers were also impressive as Dwight Howard paced them with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Howard also surprisingly led the team in assists as he dished out six of them, including a slick pass to Devontae Cacok for an easy layup.
Cacok’s energy and hustle was infectious throughout the game and he finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Not to be outdone, JaVale McGee had another solid outing as the second-year Laker chipped in with 11 points, five rebounds, and three blocks. McGee also got Staples Center rocking as he knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key.
While there were several bright spots, it was concerning to see both Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope struggle against inferior competition. Caruso only managed to score seven points and committed six turnovers, while Caldwell-Pope struggled shooting from outside as he finished 1-for-5 from the three-point line.
Regardless, this was still an encouraging game for the Lakers as they were able to dial in defensively when needed and showed some more chemistry than they did in China.
They draw the Warriors next for the third time this preseason on Oct. 16.