NBA Daily Preseason Rundown: Lakers beat Warriors despite absence of LeBron and AD

NBA Daily Preseason Rundown: Lakers beat Warriors despite absence of LeBron and AD

Norvell’s 22 leads Lakers past Curry and Warriors

Despite missing the services of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers still managed to carve out a 104-98 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Rookie shooting guard Zach Norvell Jr showed out in front of the home crowd as he finished with 22 points, including three makes from three-point territory and an ankle breaker highlight against fellow rookie Jordan Poole of the Warriors. Devontae Cacok contributed 16 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, while point guard David Stockton produced 10 markers and 7 assists.

Another very bright spot in the Lakers win is the all-around performance of Dwight Howard. The former Defensive Player of the Year started for the Lakers and impressed with a stat line of 12 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. With Davis apparently set on playing the power forward position, it remains to be seen if Howard would be a regular starter for the Lakers. He and the quickly-improving JaVale McGee share the center position, although the latter is highly-expected to start come regular season time. However, Howard doesn’t see that as a problem as he emphasizes how he and McGee are helping each other out for the benefit of the team, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

“Every time we step on the court [it’s] to be the best we can be for this team. It’s not  often that you have two guys that can play the same position, can give you the same energy, the same effort, night in and night out.
And for me, I just try to push JaVale as hard as I can every day in practice, because we need each other. It’s not about who starts. It’s not about who gets the most minutes. We need each other. It’s a long season. It might be some nights where he plays more minutes than me, but that’s fine, as long as we’re doing whatever it takes to win.”

It was also a balanced offensive attack for the Lakers as seven of their players logged in double-digit points. McGee was also a key cog of the second unit as he amassed 11 points and 3 blocks, while Demetrius Jackson poured in 11 markers to go along with 7 boards and 4 assists.

Warriors main man Stephen Curry filled up the stat sheet with 17 points, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Damion Lee had a solid night off the bench, finishing with 18 points, while grabbing 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Marquese Chriss, the Warriors recent offseason pick-up, continued his strong showing with a double-double performance of 14 points, 11 boards, 4 assists and 3 blocks. The Warriors coaching staff opted to rest stars D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green in the loss. Klay Thompson and Willie Cauley-Stein are still out with injuries.

Herro puts up another shooting show in Heat victory

Rookie sharpshooter Tyler Herro had another spectacular shooting night as he led the Miami Heat to a 120-87 beating of the visiting Atlanta Hawks. Herro was again efficient from the floor, producing a 9-14 clip built on five three-pointers. The darkhorse Rookie of the Year candidate finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Third-year big man Bam Adebayo and former Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard had 15 markers apiece, and combined for 17 total rebounds. Derrick Jones Jr and Kendrick Nunn came off the bench to also contribute 14 points apiece.

Herro’s overflowing potential and style of game have earned him some comparisons to Warriors All-Star gunner Klay Thompson. That could bode to be true in the future, but Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reminds everyone that Herro is still a long shot from the player that Klay already is. Spo says that his young rookie should continue building up his work ethic and cancel out the outside noise, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

"He's a very good, promising young player. He has a lot of work to do. And as long as he stays on this track, stays humble and continues with his work ethic that he's  shown so far, he'll get better. I don't want to make comparisons to him. That's not fair. And everybody seems to jump on or off bandwagons so quickly nowadays, it just makes it tough to focus on the present moment and be in the gym and working."

The Heat’s newest superstar, Jimmy Butler, only had 7 points but also came up with 6 boards and 3 blocks. Veteran scoring point guard Goran Dragic led the second unit with 12 points, 5 assists and 2 steals. It was a great defensive showing for the Heat as they held the Hawks to only 25% from beyond the arc, while winning the rebound battle, 52-40.

Hawks sophomore guard Trae Young topscored for them with 23 points, although he also turned over the ball seven times. John Collins collected 14 points, 2 steals and 2 blocks, while Vince Carter had 10 points off the bench.

Hield and Bagley combine for 45 as Kings emerge victorious in Utah

The Sacramento Kings got big games from their key players as they beat the Utah Jazz, 128-115. Buddy Hield netted a game-high 23 points, while sophomore big man Marvin Bagley produced a double-double performance of 22 points, 11 boards and 2 blocks. Bogdan Bogdanovic came off the bench to contribute all-around numbers of 16 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.

Entering the second period trailing by a point, the Kings used a 41-point quarter to build enough cushion for the second half. Sacramento also took better care of the ball, evident from their 11 turnovers against Utah’s 20. De’Aaron Fox, a projected star for the Kings, put up 14 points and 4 assists.

It was another loss for the Jazz, one of the teams that remain winless this preseason. Donovan Mitchell led his team with 22 points, while Rudy Gobert contributed 17 markers and grabbed 6 boards. Jazz head coach Quin Snyder points out to his team’s defense that ultimately cost them the game, per The Salt Lake Tribune’s Eric Walden.

“We needed to play with a better effort defensively. We’ve just got to be more   determined on the defensive end. … We had spurts where we guarded, but that needs to be a focus for us... We gave up too many things. We gave up midrange shots that  were uncontested, we gave up boards. It was too easy.”

Combo forwards Joe Ingles and Jeff Green contributed 12 points apiece. But the team’s newest star acquisition Mike Conley struggled offensively as he missed six of his eight shots on his way to just 6 total points.

Other games:

Charlotte Hornets beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 120-99

Oklahoma City lose to the Dallas Mavericks, 70-107

Denver Nuggets win against the Phoenix Suns, 107-102

A sports aficionado ever since he first held a basketball, Paul was a student athlete in school and college. Today, he teaches English in university by day and a freelance sportswriter by night.

Read more