Although the Lakers' largest lead against Detroit was 36 points, the Lakers’ first win of the season really came in the first quarter.
The Lakers put on a dominating defensive and offensive performance against a team that was significantly less talented. The Lakers opened up a 34-13 after the first quarter, and the game was never really within reach after that.
How did they do it? Well, the easy answer is that Mike Brown kept his guards at home, threw the ball inside, and cut down on turnovers. However, the more complex answer is that Mike Brown finally reevaluated Pau Gasol’s role on the team and told the 7-foot Spaniard to attack the basket instead of looking to make the ‘right’ play.
For a player who is usually singled out for being too passive and unselfish, Gasol started the game with a scoring attitude. He scored the Lakers’ first 4 points and ended up taking more shots than any other player in the game.
Gasol had a shoot-first attitude about his play. Even if his shots weren’t dropping, his position close to the basket, rather than at the top of the key, balanced the floor.
With Kobe staying on the perimeter and passing the ball inside, the Lakers were also less exposed to potential breakaways off turnovers. In the first few games, Pau would often be standing at the top of the key and would have no chance in a foot race off a turnover.
With the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash over the summer, Pau Gasol turned into option number 4—more often than not, a non-option. In a strange way, Steve Nash’s injury just reminded everyone that Pau Gasol is a scorer, and he’s a good option every time down the floor.
When Nash eventually comes back, let’s just hope the Lakers don’t forget about Pau.