Lakers wrap up China trip on a low note
SHANGHAI — All done with their trip to China, the Lakers are ready to be world-beaters when they return to Los Angeles.
Or maybe they’re just ready to be beat.
“Don’t hold us to a high standard on Tuesday when we play Utah,” Coach Mike D’Antoni quipped about their next exhibition.
It’s not like they were doing hard time here, and it was only a couple of exhibition games over one week, but the Lakers looked like a weary bunch Friday in a 115-89 loss to Golden State.
Pau Gasol had a solid performance and it ended right there for the Lakers, who dropped to 2-4 in exhibition play, 0-2 in China.
Gasol had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. He kept fans’ attention while Kobe Bryant stayed in the locker room until early in the fourth quarter.
Bryant was getting physical therapy after a pregame workout that included about 30 minutes of shooting. He is still not jumping, instead using a set-shot hybrid while going up on the tips of his toes. After being confined to a treadmill, Bryant has started jogging on hard ground with varying degrees of success.
“It’s different from running on a treadmill,” he said Friday. “It didn’t feel completely strong where it needs to be, but it’s a process. It’s a pain, but you’ve got to do it.”
Playing in the Oct. 29 season opener is out of the question for Bryant after his Achilles’ tendon surgery. Now it’s just a matter of how far into the season he’ll be sidelined.
Mid-November? Thanksgiving? December? Tough to tell. The Lakers aren’t willing to guess, declining to issue an updated timetable.
Predictably, Bryant received a loud ovation from the sold-out crowd of 17,482 when he walked to the bench early in the fourth quarter.
The court itself was slippery and Steve Nash took a first-half tumble that pretty much meant one thing: D’Antoni wasn’t going to risk playing him after halftime at Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Nash was fine. D’Antoni simply didn’t want to see him fall again.
It was on to other things, such as getting back on a regular schedule after tipping off Friday’s game at 4:30 a.m. Pacific time.
“We’ve really got to get back and take care of our bodies and get rest,” Nash said. “It’s going to take some focus because you get back home and you get with your families and all those responsibilities that come with being home, not to mention the jet lag. We’ve really got to concentrate when we get home to be well.”
The Lakers didn’t look very well this week.
After getting burned down low repeatedly by David Lee in Tuesday’s loss, the Lakers were beat Friday from the outside. Klay Thompson scored 25 points for the Warriors, making 10 of 14 shots, five of six from three-point range.
D’Antoni continued to shuffle the starting lineup, as is often the custom among NBA coaches this time of year. Gasol, Nash and Nick Young started, and then it got interesting with Steve Blake and Shawne Williams joining them. Blake had five points and six assists, and Williams had three points.
Wesley Johnson (sore foot) and Jordan Farmar (strained calf) both played after sitting out Tuesday’s 100-95 loss.
The Lakers were scheduled to return to Los Angeles immediately after the game.
And don’t forget that exhibition in a few days against Utah.
Said Gasol, smiling and sighing at the same time: “We’ll make it happen one way or another.”
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