I'd venture to say there are very, very few if any situations us NBA fans would think to ourselves, "Poor LeBron James." I'm almost inclined to say it, after Game 1 of 82, regarding the 2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers.
I feel like any opponent working out early growing pains is going to look shitty on the road against the Golden State Warriors. They just hung their fourth championship banner in eight years tonight and got their rings. But like...it was only in 2020 when the Lakers were winning a title of their own. That seems miles away right now.
The Lakers made four of their last five 3-pointers to finish 10-for-40 from beyond the arc. A lot of them were clean looks. They just don't have the dudes to knock them down. Anthony Davis looked pretty good early and then just sorta bleh. He can't shoot from deep anymore. Russell Westbrook has never really been able to at all.
Case in point/microcosm of the game/Reason No. 32,365 why Russ needs to be traded:
LeBron shouldn't be jacking up 10 treys like he did this evening. WTF. Does he even care about anything than the scoring record at this point? If I were him, with this roster, I'd be hard-pressed to. He still had a 31-14-8 line to tip off his 20th NBA season. Just stupid how good he still is offensively. The man continues to hit milestones left and right...
For whatever reason — I guess the reason being LeBron James — LA is still getting some play as championship contenders. If memory serves, they had shorter odds entering tonight than the Memphis Grizzlies, who were the West's No. 2 seed last season. Pretty sure the Purple and Gold don't deserve anywhere near that clout, name recognition aside. I also don't think Dennis Schroder's eventual debut is the answer to their prayers.
It's actually somewhat disconcerting that the Lakers got 31 from LeBron, 27 from AD and 19 from Westbrook and still got ROLLED, trailing by as many as 27.
OK now on to the fun part: The Warriors, who looked every bit like the reigning champs.
Steph Curry started slow by missing his first five threes but got on track to lead all scorers with 33 points. He scored eight in the span of about 45 seconds in the final quarter when the Lakers were trying to dig out of a huge hole and at least salvage a backdoor cover. Steph wasn't having it. Here's what catalyzed that sequence:
Throw in six boards, seven dimes and four steals for the Warriors' face of the franchise for good measure. Chef Curry still got it. Plenty left in the tank.
Andrew Wiggins poured in three triples of his own in the fourth, too. Already earning that contract extension. He wound up with five fouls but still found a way to 20 points, and Klay Thompson netted 12 of his 18 in the second half to keep Golden State comfortably ahead.
I had suspicions that the whole Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole in the fucking face thing was going to distract the Dubs. Once that ring ceremony happened and it was clear the Lakers couldn't shoot from distance to save their lives, there was no stopping the hosts. Steve Kerr had his men readier to roll than Stu Feiner.
This was still a pretty grating game to watch before a rather flashy last quarter. Golden State committed 18 turnovers and forced the Lakers into 21 giveaways. Sloppy-ass ball for much of this one. Oh well. As he's wont to do, Steph ultimately made it worth sticking around for.