LeBron and the Lakers' debut

Are the Lakers ready to contend with LeBron? (1:54)

Dave McMenamin looks at how much better the Lakers are with LeBron James, but suggests they need a little "more magic" to get to a championship. (1:54)

LeBron James made his much-anticipated debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

Here's what you may have missed in Portland's 128-119 win:

First reaction to LeBron's Lakers

It was the best and worst of what the Lakers can be as expected. We wondered if the Lakers have enough shooting, and they missed their first 15 3-point attempts. We wondered if the Lakers have enough size inside, and they were outrebounded 54-46 while getting outscored 21-10 off second chance points. But the Lakers can clearly run, outscoring Portland 34-12 in fastbreak points. And LeBron James and Rajon Rondo are the undisputed leaders. Both had double-doubles and are still trying to figure things out. Josh Hart made an argument to start at shooting guard with 20 points. Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball combined to miss 14-of-15 3s, but will shoot better as they feel more comfortable. -- Ohm Youngmisuk

The season opener only supported the preconceived notions we held about the Lakers coming into Thursday: They can run (outscoring Portland 34-12 on fast-break points); they can't shoot (starting 0-for-15 from 3 en route to a 7-for-30 night); and they're much better when LeBron James is on the floor than when he's not (the Lakers were outscored by five points in the 10:40 that James sat). Another thing we knew: LeBron struggles to get wins in Portland, losing his sixth in a row at the Moda Center; Los Angeles has lost 16 straight games overall to the Trail Blazers. -- Dave McMenamin

Every NBA team scores better in transition than in the half court, but we saw in Thursday's loss in Portland why this difference might be more pronounced for the Lakers. They were terrifying when they ran off turnovers, misses and the occasional make, using their quickness and multiple ball handlers to get easy scores. But too often the Lakers' offense bogged down in the half court due to lack of shooting. The Lakers missed their first 15 3-point attempts, and while they'll improve on that, offseason concerns about adding non-shooters were validated Thursday -- when a 34-12 edge in fast-break points wasn't enough. -- Kevin Pelton

With 3:18 left in the third quarter, trailing by three, the Lakers went to a small-ball lineup featuring two point guards (Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball), Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson and Kyle Kuzma at center. They played fast and got hot early, with Hart and Rondo making the team's first two 3s of the night, rushing L.A. out to a lead. The Trail Blazers countered by playing big, controlling the paint and going on a run, but Hart hit a trey at the buzzer to end that quarter, with the Lakers having shaved a point off the lead. That lineup is one to watch going forward. -- Andre Snellings

Welcome to Showtime

LeBron's first dunk as a Laker from every angle

Craig Mitchelldyer/AP Photo

More reaction

The King has arrived


LeBron James calls Lakers debut "First step in long journey"

It felt like a major event, bigger than your typical season opener, with all the hype that has followed James joining the Lakers. Before the Lakers madness started, James listened to his pregame music while wearing a Nike T-shirt with an ad of himself wearing a Lakers jersey. -- Ohm Youngmisuk

The Atlas of LeBron James: How the King became an offensive force

"The story of James transforming from inefficient rookie into NBA scoring champion is one of a player learning how to attack defenses with his ferocious blend of speed and strength to create scoring chances in the paint. That's still the key to his scoring portfolio now." -- Kirk Goldsberry

Inside the Lakers' plan to push the pace with LeBron

"The 2018-19 Lakers, with all of their fresh parts and mix of young and old, intend to come out of the gates running. Literally. Throughout training camp, X's marked the spots deep in the corners -- taped on the court by Lakers coach Luke Walton -- as a reminder of where he wanted his wings speeding to when the ball changes possession. -- Dave McMenamin

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