Los Angeles Lakers Game One: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

On Sunday the Los Angeles Lakers began their defense of the NBA championship by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 87-79, in Game One of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Seemingly since the All-Star break, Lakers fans witnessed a near-healthy team—or at least one that can supplant itself into the conference finals with relative ease—which at times displayed the depth and versatility that is worthy of battling for back-to-back championships. Still, D.J. Mbenga's big body and Sasha Vujacic's timely shooting are certainly requesites if LA wants to repeat. With that said, here are the good, the bad and the ugly from the opening game:

THE GOOD: After suiting up for his first affair since March 19, Andrew Bynum made a postseason splash with 13 points, 12 rebounds and most impressive of all, 4 of the Lakers' 9 blocked shots. And he played 30 minutes, a mark that was questionable at the game's outset considering his in-game conditioning following a 13-game, 29-day hiatus in which the Lakers lost seven times. Sure he posted the aforementioned numbers against a significantly smaller team, but all things considered Bynum's performance was a confidence-boosting, rhythm-developing effort which can certainly go a long way in consistently producing as the postseason rolls on. Above all, purple and gold patrons can finally breathe a sign of relief after the youngster was far from effective during last year's playoff push.

THE BAD: The Lakers began the game by dumping the basketball down low and capitalizing on their height and length advantages, not to mention high-percentage looks. In doing so, LA led 27-13 after the first frame thanks to a 55-percent field goal clip. However, throughout the remaining three quarters the Lakers went away from their inside presence and instead settled for long jump shots, which often times resulted in one-and-done offensive se...

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