The regular season started on Tuesday night, and it looked much the same as the preseason did for the Los Angeles Lakers, as many of the same problems that plagued the team through an 0-8 exhibition season continued in a 99-91 loss to Dallas.
The Lakers shot just under 50 percent, so that was good, but they couldn’t get stops when they needed them, making it difficult to come back vs. Dallas.
“The thing I’m disappointed in is defensively we didn’t give the multiple effort needed,” said coach Mike Brown. “Our effort trying to guard the pick and roll was not good.”
Dwight Howard, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in his Lakers debut, said much the same: “The defense and our energy level has to pick up.”
Howard is expected to eventually be the backbone of that defense, but he is not quite up to speed after offseason back surgery.
“(Howard’s) reaction time was off,” said Brown. “He was a half count off, defensively.”
Time Warner Cable SportsNet analyst James Worthy said he wasn’t worried about Howard though, and lauded him for even being ready for the start of the season.
“He’s not there yet,” Worthy said. “For what he’s been there, most guys wouldn’t even be in uniform.”
And Worthy expects the effort to improve in Wednesday’s game in Portland.
“They’re irritated now. They’re gonna try and come out with a better effort. The thing is you can’t just flip that switch.”
What they said …
Kobe Bryant: “I think that’s every team’s goal to get better every day. For us, that’s certainly our motto.”
Jordan Hill: “No one helped out like we should. This is a good defensive team, we go hard in practice. We just have to bring it to the game.”
Coach Dave Miller on Howard: “I would like to see him get more rim runs. I think the Lakers need to get easy scores. “
James Worthy: “Obviously there are some concerns. This is a team that went 0-8 in the preseason and everyone took it kind of lightly, said they needed more time. I can understand the offense having to take more time. Defensively they were just out of sync.”
Steve Nash: “We’ll get better but right now it’s obviously frustrating.”
Miller: “It (the defense) was flat and they weren’t able to get any easy scoring opportunities.”