If only the NBA season were the Colecovision game that the Lakers roster grew up playing, they could unplug it, and plug it back in.
This, alas, is reality, and after a hard-fought loss to Golden State in the opener behind a Steph Curry triple-double, the Lakers welcomed the Suns to downtown L.A. and got absolutely waxed, 115-105 (and it wasn’t that close). Which, whatever, they’ve played a top rival and the defending Western Conference champs, and lost both.
What’s not “whatever” is Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard getting into it on the Lakers bench.
Maybe Howard is upset about being excluded from the NBA’s 75th anniversary team, which Davis made? That’s probably not it, although the chorus of voices saying that Howard belonged on the team might find Friday night instructive. On talent, Howard is definitely one of the top 75 players in NBA history. But he’s also remarkably self-destructive, which is part of why the 2012-13 Lakers were such a disaster and he’s been part of more than his share of dysfunctional teams.
Will these Lakers, with their cast of veterans looking to ride with Davis and LeBron James to a ring, be another of Howard’s memorable flop teams? Maybe, but the cause for alarm isn’t here yet. Maybe.
The Lakers now have a real chance to get right over the next few weeks after their marquee opening games. Not that the Grizzlies, L.A.’s next opponent, are bad, but Memphis is the first opponent of a stretch of 13 games in which the Lakers play 10 at home, with multiple meetings with the Rockets and Thunder mixed in among a sleepy slate of foes.
The Lakers’ next “big” game is November 17 at Milwaukee. If they’re not 10-5 or better by the time they go face Giannis and company, then, by all means, worry about whether this Lakers team has it. For now, this looks like frustration boiling over at the first couple of games not going how L.A. wanted.