Coming off a loss to the defending champion Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers managed to bounce back against an upstart Phoenix Suns team.
The Suns are one of the hottest shooting teams in the league and it was easy to see why against the Lakers as they were able to get good looks from beyond the arc and knock them down with regularity. However, Los Angeles was able to use their clear size advantage to score at will in the paint and crash the boards for second-chance opportunities.
The game also served as the 2019-20 NBA season debut for Rajon Rondo who had been nursing a calf injury that forced him to sit the first nine games. He was on a minutes restriction but still played effectively in his two shifts.
Rondo seemed to be pleased with his return to game action, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I didn’t think about my legs or anything, I just went out there and played. The last couple of days, my teammates did a great job of getting me back as close as in shape as possible. Obviously, I had the minute restriction but I felt good tonight.”
Rondo seemed to have a pep in his step when he took the floor and showed no ill effects from the injury as he was able to grab rebounds and immediately push the ball up the floor. He finished the night with only five points but contributed six rebounds and seven assists in only 14 minutes — impressive given the time he had missed.
Having Rondo back in the lineup is a boon for everyone as he is now able to ease the playmaking burden off LeBron James while giving head coach Frank Vogel someone he can confidently ask to run the offense. His ability to see the floor and make pinpoint passes should make life easier for the team and can hopefully unlock some of the offensive potential this particular roster has.
The Lakers have truly yet to get going on both sides of the ball as the offense still remains a clear work in progress, but having Rondo back is a step in the right direction to fix it. There were flashes in the game against the Suns that might lend some optimism and hopefully fans see it again when they return home to take on the Golden State Warriors.