Here’s what we learned the night Tyson Chandler tapped back a rebound (oh wait, that’s every night):
Let’s start with the Lakers
Every win is a good win for the Lakers at this point, a reality of their situation with a new team trying to come together while playing games in the NBA’s toughest conference.
And, while they’re nowhere close to the final product, they still need to win games, especially against teams clawing for a spot in the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff standings.
Wednesday in a 114-110 win against the Timberwolves, the Lakers played a better defensive game despite Minnesota making some difficult shots. They weren’t as sharp as they needed to be down the stretch (LeBron James launching from 27 feet is rarely good offense), but Chandler, who had been a Laker for 15 minutes or so, tapped back multiple rebounds to keep Minnesota from getting the ball.
Chandler is a rock solid veteran who fills a need on the Lakers’ bench, and he’ll close games for them too because he’s more predictable than JaVale McGee (who was solid on offense again).
He might’ve gotten away with fouling Derrick Rose on a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds, but Chandler’s impact was already evident.
He’ll help the Lakers be a better team, and right now, they need all the help they can get.
Toronto has 11 wins — or 14.41 Canadian
The Raptors, who we wrote about for Thursday’s paper, got Kawhi Leonard back and won in Sacramento, cementing their place as the second-best team in the NBA.
With every win, teams interested in chasing Leonard next summer (cough, cough, Clippers) should be getting a little nervous. The Raptors are in a great situation, and they’ve got young players on the way who will be even better as the season goes on.
The most intriguing of that group, third-year forward Pascal Siakam, had another big game.
The Raptors have depth, and they’re versatile. They’ve got to be the favorites in the East through the first month of the NBA season.
Everyone dunks on everyone
Let’s close this with a reminder that no matter how bad your Wednesday night was, at least this didn’t happen to you.