Lakers’ Bench Play Will Be Biggest Key to LA Eclipsing Expectations


That's how many points the Los Angeles Lakers' bench cobbled together during their 116-103 win over the big, bad Los Angeles Clippers on opening night at the Staples Center.

Three for Wesley Johnson, the young journeyman whose confidence (he shot 1-of-11 from the field) is still on the lam. Ten for Chris Kaman, who spent eight years with the Clippers and was with the Dallas Mavericks when they pulled a similarly upsetting stunt against the loaded Lakers to tip off the 2012-13 season.

Twelve for Jordan Hill, who put Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to shame with his hustle (seven offensive boards). Thirteen for Jodie Meeks, whose shot looked much sharper after a shaky first half. Sixteen for Jordan Farmar, to go along with six assists and four rebounds, in his first NBA game in a year-and-a-half and his first as a Laker since Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

And, of course, a game-high 22 for Xavier Henry, who looked far more like a poor man's Kobe Bryant—who watched the entire game from the sideline while dressed in black from the neck down—than the bit player for which he'd evidently been mistaken in Memphis and New Orleans prior to arriving in LA.

According to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell, those 76 points were the third-most by a second unit in Lakers history and the most for the Purple and Gold in more than 25 years. 

Those first two efforts both came during the "Showtime" era—in 1985 and 1988—against the Golden State Warriors. Back then, scoring was plentiful, with teams like the Lakers regularly reaching into the 130s and 140s, as was the case with those previous two purple-and-gold bench bonanzas (via Andrew Ungvari of

Nowadays, final scores like those come along once in a blue moon, and only with the help of a few overtime periods. Old-school sycophants would probably point to the "s...

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