Five things to take away from Lakers' intrasquad scrimmage
1. Guard Derek Fisher did not play in the scrimmage. Coach Mike Brown said he held Fisher out of the intrasquad scrimmage at USC on Friday strictly for preventative reasons and that there was nothing health-related behind the decision. Considering Fisher, 37, is entering his 16th season, Brown simply wants to preserve the guard's energy level for the compacted schedule
2. "Kobe was Kobe." That's how Brown described Bryant's performance -- his 14 points on six-of-11 shooting showed that he is pacing himself in terms of his speed and explosiveness. But for someone who has been saddled with injuries the last two seasons, Bryant appeared to have more spring in his step. He performed a few crossover moves on Matt Barnes that led to baskets. He looked fluid moving off the ball to create open pull-up jumpers. And he wasn't afraid to drive to the basket and finish.
3. Jason Kapono, Devin Ebanks and Matt Barnes remained hot from the field. Everyone expected sharp-shooting Kapono to instantly bolster the team's three-point shooting. So his four three-pointers on nine attempts isn't exactly surprising. But it definitely appears that the off-season work Ebanks and Barnes put in has paid off. They each shot four of six from the field. Ebanks looked comfortable creating his own shot and working off Bryant's facilitating. Barnes' surgically repaired knee looked healthy enough, and he dived for a loose ball while knocking over a cooler. It's also safe to say that Luke Walton remains out of the mix for the starting small forward spot. It looked as though he was winded.
4. Brown remained disappointed with some defensive principles. That included communication on rotations and transition defense. These areas were a weakness during the 2010-11 season as well, but Brown attributed the showing Friday to a crammed preseason schedule. The scrimmage at USC did not mark the first time the Lakers have played on a full court. But Brown said that during most practices, he has stopped play to point out tendencies. This time, Brown simply watched as assistants John Kuester and Chuck Person coached the starters and reserves, respectively.
5. Andrew Bynum appears to be in great shape. Whether it involved his conditioning, physical play inside or aggressiveness on the boards, Bynum's play sparked encouraging signs. His 10 points on five-of-eight shooting included a jumper from the top of the key. He also grabbed a high rebound over Pau Gasol and converted on a put-back and converted an and-one free throw after driving into the basket. Though Brown liked the intensity level, Gasol and Bynum sparked a scare when both dived for a loose ball during the third quarter. It's also clear even if he can't replace Lamar Odom, recently aquired Josh McRoberts will do a solid job providing hustle plays.
-- Mark Medina
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