Lakers Beat Bobcats In Gasol’s Return, Extend Win Streak To Three

PauGasol2So coming into this game, things were looking up in Lakerland. Though it was ugly, they finally snapped their four-game losing streak by beating the lowly Washington Wizards. They closed out the road trip with another win that was much more pleasing; they beat Philadelphia by 13 points. While their record is still a mediocre 11-14, they won their last two games before Tuesday’s game against Charlotte.

Not only were the Lakers finally winning but they got Pau Gasol back in time for Tuesday’s game. Lakers fans are also looking forward to Steve Nash’s return, who could be back by Saturday. All in all, it’s been excellent news for the Lakers in the last few days.

Mike D’Antoni made yet another adjustment. With Pau Gasol coming back, he decided to shuffle his line-up by starting Devin Ebanks over Metta World Peace. Did they win their third straight game? Let’s check out the recap, everyone.

1ST QUARTER

What we missed from Pau? A two-man game between Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

However, Byron Mullens made two three-pointers that spurred Charlotte to a 12-5 start. The Lakers shot badly, only making two of their first nine shot attempts. That was when Kobe decided to make matters into his own hands. He scored the next eight points for the Lakers. Of course, Kemba Walker would make an unintentional bank shot from three to keep the Bobcats ahead by six.

The rotations were messed with a bit to give Pau Gasol time at the center spot. He went out early and went in a few minutes later for Dwight Howard. Gasol scored on a quick pick-and-roll with Kobe. The Spaniard’s timing was off early but he is noticeably no longer struggling on any of his movements. He was running fine and wasn’t struggling on getting to the boards.

Plus his defense was there. He blocked three shots in the first quarter. Gasol wouldn’t have been able to do all of that two or three weeks ago.

Pau punctuated the quarter with a short jumper. That gave the lead to the Lakers at the end of the first period, 27-25.

2ND QUARTER

The Lakers started out with a Jodie Meeks three. And then the Laker bigs had a nice fastbreak where Dwight got the ball, passed it to Pau, and got it back via Pau lob. That was really fun to watch.

The Lakers looked like they were loose again, just like the game against Philly. They had nice ball movement and crisp defensive rotations. L.A. outscored the Cats early in the second quarter, 13-4.

But as we all have come to know, the Lakers tend to tail off. Charlotte came back and took the lead. While the Cats were taking a lot of contested shots, the Lakers couldn’t keep up in transition as the young Cats would speed off nearly every time they got a board. The Bobcat guards gave the Lakers fits. Kemba Walker had 15 points, Gerald Henderson had 13 points, and ex-Laker Ramon Sessions (remember him?) scored 13 off the bench.

The Lakers got real cold at the end of the second. Kobe finally stopped the bleeding with a jumper at the end of the half. The Cats ended the quarter with a 21-7 run, though.

The Bobcats led the Lakers at the half, 58-53.

3RD QUARTER

Mike D’Antoni yet made another switch, starting Jodie Meeks in the second half instead of Devin Ebanks. But it didn’t matter to the Bobcats. Kemba Walker made a lay-up and Byron Mullens made a three, boosting the lead to 10 points for Charlotte.

It never stopped for Charlotte. The Bobcats guards kept coming. And the Lakers couldn’t get the 50-50 balls. As a result, the Bobcats were up by 18 points. The Staples Center crowd booed in disgust.

The Lakers went on a bit of a run as they scored nine in a row, including a Dwight Howard alley-oop dunk. But that was still too little for a four-minute Bobcats drought.

The defense did pick up for the Lakers, particularly in the perimeter. Darius Morris gave some nice minutes stopping the dribble penetration by Kemba Walker that killed the Lakers all game. The Lakers managed to chip away from that huge 18-point lead. One of the NBA players certainly appreciated the defense played on Kemba.

At the end of three, Charlotte led the Lakers, 84-77.

4TH QUARTER

Pau Gasol had two nice plays to start the fourth. First, he made a gliding lay-up. And then on the next Laker offensive play, Metta World Peace made a lay-up off a give-and-go play with the Spaniard.

The Lakers followed that up with a Jodie Meeks three and a Kobe Bryant lay-up (and the foul). Then Darius Morris sank a corner three. L.A. had rattled off 17 straight points.

Charlotte wouldn’t give up, though. The Bobcats cut the lead down to one, punctuated by a fantastic throwdown by Gerald Henderson on Dwight.

A corner three by #24 stopped the Lakers’ dry spell. But Ramon Sessions and Bismack Biyombo made back-to-back baskets to tie the game with less than three minutes to go.

After a Metta World Peace jumper, the Lakers tried a “Hack-A-Bismack.” It didn’t work, though, as Biyombo made his two foul shots. Kobe followed it up with a lay-up, though, to give the Lakers a two-point advantage. Kobe then followed it up with a jumper to boost the lead to four. However, the ex-Laker Sessions completed a three-point play after a Dwight goaltend and a Jodie Meeks foul.

The Cats had a chance to win the game with the Lakers leading, 101-100, with 21.2 seconds left. But Dwight blocked Kemba Walker’s lay-up. The Cats missed a few more shots in a scramble and the Lakers survive the Cats, 101-100.

The Lakers have won three straight games and handed Charlotte their 12th loss in a row. Ouch.

STAT LEADERS
POINTS: Kobe Bryant, 30.
REBOUNDS: Dwight Howard, 18.
ASSISTS: Kobe Bryant, 7.
BLOCKS: Pau Gasol, 4.
STEALS: Metta World Peace, 4.

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