The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Oakland tonight to play the Warriors, and again they were without their star Kobe Bryant. The Lakers had their worst loss of the season on Tuesday by the hands of the Spurs and they needed to bounce back to regain their confidence.
The Warriors were quite depleted as both David Lee and Stephen Curry did not play due to injury. The Lakers lost to a good team in the Spurs, but they could not afford to fall to the lowly Warriors.
The Lakers made it an effort to feed the ball to their big men as the Warriors had a slim chance of stopping them. Golden State did not have enough in its front court to defend the Lakers, and that resulted in easy buckets for Los Angeles. The Lakers’ front court scored the team’s first eight points and the Lakers led 8-6 with 9:00 to play in the first quarter.
The Lakers were dominating the Warriors in the paint and most of their buckets were coming down low. Los Angeles was hitting its shots and the front court was the source for most of the points. However, the Warriors answered nearly every Lakers bucket and their shooting kept them in the game. At the 6:00 mark of the period, the Lakers held only a 15-13 lead.
Los Angeles was clearly the more dominant and bigger team in the paint, but they could not seem to break lose. The Lakers would get nice looks near the paint and their offense was flowing nicely. However, the Warriors continued to stay hot from the field and were staying right there with the Lakers. At the 3:30 mark of the quarter, the Lakers were up 21-19.
Andrew Bynum took over the offensive load in the final portion of the quarter and recorded in 17 points. The Lakers also stepped up their defense and that allowed them to build a little bit of cushion. After 12 minutes of play, the Lakers were up 32-26.
The Lakers started the second quarter with Andrew Bynum on the bench, so they needed their other players to fill the void while he took a rest. Pau Gasol was the centerpiece of the offense at the time and he did a great job keeping the flow going. The Lakers did not let their foot off the gas pedal and with 9:00 to play in the half, the Lakers were up 40-28.
The Lakers’ offense continued to run smoothly and that was matched with stellar defense on the other end. Los Angeles was hitting its outside shots and that was paired with the onslaught it had in the paint. The Warriors were left without any scorers and once the Lakers increased their defensive intensity, Golden State was left in limbo. At the 5:36 mark of the quarter, the Lakers were up 47-32.
Los Angeles struggled a little bit once Bynum returned to the game, shocking since it was so dominate with him in the first quarter. Golden State began to get its shots in the open court and that was something the Lakers had trouble guarding. The Warriors built a little bit of confidence and cut the deficit to ten, 47-37, with 3:36 left in the second quarter.
After 24 minutes of play, the Lakers led 56-48 behind 23 points from Bynum. As a team, the Lakers shot 53 percent from the field and the Warriors were at 48 percent.
The Lakers began the third quarter much like they did the first. The team was feeding the ball to the big men and the front court was scoring the majority of the points. Gasol and Bynum continued with their dominance inside the paint and the Warriors offered very little resistance. At the 9:21 mark of the quarter, the Lakers were up 65-50.
Los Angeles’ offense was clicking on all cylinders and the ball movement was quite amazing. The entire team was getting touches and the ball usually ended up with the two seven-footers who put it in the basket. Metts World Peace also provided the Lakers with some nice scoring and his 12 points helped the Lakers open a 74-60 lead at the 6:00 mark.
Gasol also played key minutes for the Lakers and he was doing everything on the court. When the Lakers needed a score, he would work in the paint for an easy look. He would also use his stellar vision and make amazing passes to find teammates for assists.
Through three quarters, the Lakers were up big, 84-67. Gasol led the way for the Lakers with 24 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
The outcome of the game was already decided before the fourth quarter began and the Warriors were just looking to make the score less embarrassing. However, the Lakers would not let that happen and were continuing to execute well. Even the Lakers’ second unit was having success against the Warriors and with 4:47 left to play in the game, the Lakers were up 97-74.
The Warriors never made a run in the fourth quarter and were completely outplayed for the entire 48 minutes. The Lakers shined in the final period and walked away with a 99-87 win. Although the score was fairly close, the Lakers were no doubt the more dominant team.
Gasol finished the game with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and Bynum put in 31 points and nine rebounds.
With their win in tonight’s game, the Lakers claimed a .5 game lead over the Clippers in the Pacific Division and maintained their third spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers will be back in action on Friday when they travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs at 5:30 p.m. PST.