One down … June to go

Who needs the World Series with the Lakers season underway.

The Lakers made a statement with a 96-76 win over the young Portland Trail Blazers in the season opener Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 23 points and had 11 rebounds to go along with his five assists. Pau Gasol added 15 points while Trevor Ariza scored 11 off the bench.

Andrew Bynum had only eight points and three rebounds but give the kid a chance. He showed a good stretch last season that he is more than capable of providing 18-10 each night, this of course before his knee injury (I just saw it flashed here in the office on SportsCenter and it’s still hard to look at even though I saw it from my press row seat a few feet away).

Should Lamar Odom be coming off the bench? What Vladamir Radmanovic does in place of Odom is spread the defense with his outside shooting, giving Bynum and Gasol more looks inside, specifically Bynum.

It’s hard to judge whether Odom played well off the bench to prove he deserves to be in the starting five or if he’s more effective as the 6th man; less pressure to score.

Despite Bynum’s quiet night offensively his presence was felt on the defensive end, blocking three shots including one on the overly-hyped (no substance) Greg Oden.

Jordan Farmar should be starting at the point in place of Derek Fisher. Farmar has shown a strong grasp of the triangle offense, creates a distraction for the defense with his elusiveness, but this might be a situation where Phil Jackson prefers playing veterans (though Bynum is an obvious exception).

The Lakers played near flawless last night. But they play again tonight against the Clippers so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. The Lakers play 19 back-to-back games this season.

I didn’t realize how much I missed covering the Lakers until watching the game last night. I started to cover them mid-November last year all the way to the very end; the Lakers went from highly-questionable to NBA Finals-bound. It was fun covering those guys and interacting with them, too, during practice, before and after the games.

Still, it’ll be fun to watch them from a fan’s perspective as the Lakers get ready for Boston come June.

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