Going down smooth like a Canadian Club cocktail
For the lovers of that decent-if-not-spectacular Canadian whiskey, if nothing else. But really, a 112-89 exhibition win over the Raptors can represent whatever tasty imbibing elixir is preferred by each individual Lakers fan. Even the teetotalers -- who, like the Lakers, may just prefer homecooking -- could feel a buzz from some of the highlights on display during the victory.
For starters, and arguably most important, we saw the most promising glimpse yet at what could lie ahead for the Bynum-Gasol pairing, who faced a formidable duo in Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal to favorable results. Drew and Pau may not have filled up a box score, but then again, their opponents also didn't, even while playing more minutes. In the meantime, the Lakers twin towers complemented each other in quality fashion, working a high-low game and helping move the ball around.
Vlad Radmanovic's shot may no have been falling- blame a strong breeze inside Staples- but that's the lone hiccup in what's been an otherwise deadeye preseason. That marksmanship isn't guaranteed to keep Vlad in the starting lineup, but if he's looking for a small forward replacement, Phil Jackson might have to talk Lamar Odom into leaving the bench mob. LO has grown to dig playing with Chris Mihm, Trevor Ariza and Jordan Farmar, the latter fella a bust out candidate in John Hollinger's mind, should the minutes come. The only real downside to the triumphant Sunday was absolutely zero contribution from Sasha Vujacic. But let's not be too hard on the lad. After all, he didn't even dress. Should all go to the Machine's plan, however, he'll begin today the practice process of returning to the court.