The Week Ahead: Lakers Prepare for Season’s Second Half

The Los Angeles Lakers return to action at home Wednesday night versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Before the All-Star break, the Lakers were faced with a difficult stretch of four games in five nights. They beat Portland on Monday night before hitting the road for a back-to-back against Dallas and Oklahoma City. Lakers’ fans have to be pleased with how they performed in Dallas; they were confident, poised, and determined to prove to themselves and the fans that they can win on the road. They led most of the game and were never behind by more than four points. When they did trail, they immediately took back the lead by tightening up their defense and pounding the ball in the post. Despite the horrific free throw shooting, 18-31, and the six straight misses with the game on the line, the Lakers have to feel good about the way they stayed strong and still got the victory.

Another component to the game was the way the rest of the team played, specifically Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, to compensate for the lack of production from Kobe Bryant. While Kobe scored only 15 points, he shot a despicable 4-15 from the floor and had seven turnovers. Gasol led the Lakers in scoring with 24 points and nine rebounds. But the dominance from Andrew Bynum, 19 points and 14 rebounds, and his presence down low was too much for the Mavericks.

The next night in Oklahoma City began very similar to the Dallas game with the Lakers starting strong. Despite that, the Lakers ran out of steam in the second half as the Thunder extended their lead and were never in fear of losing. The shooting woes continued for Kobe Bryant, going 7-24. But he went 10-11 from the free throw line and scored 24. The player of the game in Oklahoma was Pau Gasol, who was playing like he was telling the front office he does not want to leave L.A. He put in 22 points and played strong and confident the whole game. The Lakers played great but showed their weakness, the second game of a back-to-back that is, on the road.

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