Kobe Bryant said the Lakers collectively viewed the Blazers as "a test" for themselves. Safe to say, the quiz was aced. Pau Gasol's triple-double was an obvious highlight, and Kobe's praise of El Spaniard underscored just how tough the Lakers are to stop while firing on all cylinders:
"Teams have to make a choice [about who to key on], and the way our offense works, you got constant movement all the time. You got shooters. You got slashers. You got great pickers. We have great play-makers, Pau being one of them. When you double team him, he's able to find guys out of those double teams. That makes us virtually impossible to defend."
Kobe talked more about this squad's play-making abilities, which he thinks are superior even to his Three-peat squads. "That team that we had, we really would slow the game down," noted Bryant. "Pound the ball. We had a couple of guys in myself and Shaq that made plays. Here, everybody is a play-maker. Everybody can make plays for others, so we're a little more versatile."
Ron Artest felt his success against Brandon Roy (one-for-six shooting, eight points) was due more bad health on the Blazer guard's part than his own defensive prowess. For what it's worth, it wouldn't surprise me of the explanation was ultimately a little bit from column a, a little bit from column b. No doubt, Artest's work was superb, and he deserves kudos. But Roy isn't too far removed from knee surgery, and Phil Jackson also noticed some unusual hesitance by the three-time All-Star. As I noted in my preview, Roy also entered the game shooting 41 percent from the field, which indicates, at the very least, a lack of flow.
Ever the good sport, Nate McMillan praised Artest's work on Roy. For that matter, he thought the purple and gold were pretty spectacular from top to bottom.
Derrick Caracter experienced some nice moments over 16:30 worth of run, but also left a few shots short, which has been a common sight during his scattered PT this season. Admittedly, he's rushing himself, but also paying the price at times for playing too slowly. Nobody said being a rookie was easy.
When I walked over, Caracter had been talking to another reporter about Phil being "the Zen Master," and praising his mind. I asked if he ever tries to figure out what Phil is thinking. "Oh no," smiled Caracter sheepishly. "Not at all." When I made a joke about it being too advanced, Caracter quickly pointed out that wasn't case, either. For starters, he considers himself a strong-minded person in his own right. But beyond that, his responsibility is to be prepared, and Caracter has a pretty good idea of what's expected from him without attempting a pilgrimage through his coach's brain.
Pretty sharp read for a newbie.
I liked Lamar Odom's take on Gasol's strong start to the season: "Pau is just really good."