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Starting Five

The Starting 5: The Lakers will be fun

Los Angeles Lakers' D'Angelo Russell, left, and Jordan Clarkson stand on the court during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet

1. “Lakers’ youth movement offers plenty of fun in season-opening win” – Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie

Yes, the Rockets are a dumpster fire on defense, but it was awesome to watch the young Lakers legitimately enjoying the game on Wednesday night. They looked energized, just thrilled to be winning, and the fans at Staples Center were equally enthused.

Without Kobe Bryant on the floor, there was room for all the youngsters to show their stuff. Luke Walton has empowered them to do things that stretch their limits, which is what you want to see from a rebuilding team’s coach. Freeman has a nice breakdown of the Lakers’ win over Houston.

2. “Kawhi Leonard Super Team” – Jesse Blanchard of BBALLBREAKDOWN

You can argue that the Warriors had the best, second-best, fourth-best and fifth-best players on the floor in Tuesday’s contest against the Spurs. How did they lose by 29 points at home? A lot of it had to with that Kawhi Leonard guy, who scored 35 points, grabbed five rebounds, stole the ball five times and stifled all sorts of offensive advances by Golden State.

Blanchard offers some insight on how the multi-talented Leonard can have so much value by himself, which also relates to the step in his development he seems to be making: increasing his usage to impose his will on the defense.

3. “Cleveland Cavaliers’ ring night special for DeAndre Liggins…even without the gifts” – Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com

Ring ceremony night is special for all the players who get their bling and other gifts. But what about their new teammates, who are merely suiting up for another opening night?

Fedor takes an interesting angle on the Cavs’ championship celebrations Tuesday night by focusing on DeAndre Liggins, one of four Cleveland players who was not on the roster in June. Liggins was celebrating the evening, but for different reasons.

4. “Blazers’ Damian Lillard begins MVP campaign with Jordan-esque outing” – Ananth Pandian of CBS Sports

Damian Lillard can get overshadowed with all the great point guards in the league. Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and now James Harden lead a deep crop of floor generals. Pretty much every night, there’s at least one point guard putting up a monster line.

Tuesday was Lillard’s turn, though the Cavs’ ring ceremony night and the Spurs-Warriors showdown got more attention. Dame notched an efficient 39 points, along with nine rebounds and assists. Pandian breaks down Lillard’s impressive all-around performance in a variety of ways here.

5. “Anthony Davis’ 50-point game reaffirms hopes, fears for Pelicans” – Justin Verrier of ESPN

Remember Anthony Davis? Yup, he’s the guy many people were proclaiming to be the best player in the league a year ago, and he was considered the future of the league of pretty much everyone. Davis’ injury-plagued season and Karl-Anthony Towns’ amazing rookie campaign made the Pelicans superstar an afterthought.

Well, Davis put up 50 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, seven steals and four blocks Wednesday. So yeah, he’s doing just fine for himself. But the Pelicans still found a way to lose to the Nuggets at home. Verrier dives into the very mixed feelings New Orleans fans have toward their first game of the season.

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