On Dec. 9, 2007, the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers met at Staples Center in a showdown early in the season. Entering the matchup, the Warriors were in the midst of a solid stretch and attempting to put together their best 14-game span in franchise history.
At the same time, the Lakers had were working through their kinks, with Kobe Bryant still leading the show. The Phil Jackson-led Lakers had understood the patience required to have their pieces gel together in the right manner.
Players like Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher were needed to step up in a big way. However, it was young Andrew Bynum who would propel the Lakers to a big night in front of his home crowd.
With a skill set that was ideal from the post, the Lakers believed that they had found themselves an apt interior scorer who had similar footwork and post moves to that of Shaquille O’Neal.
The showdown with the Warriors was a heated one, as the Warriors were led by Los Angeles native Baron Davis. The Warriors had put together one of the more exciting rosters in the NBA, with Monta Ellis, Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson, and Al Harrington providing a grittiness.
A year removed from their historic upset over the No. 1 seeded Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs, the Warriors had the confidence they could compete against any NBA team. However, a battle against Bryant and a rookie Bynum dissuaded them for a night.
Going into halftime, it was a tight contest, with the Lakers holding just a 60-59 lead. Bryant had eight points in the first half, relying on performances from Odom (14-10-6) and Fisher (15 points) to carry them in the first half.
Bynum and Bryant then led the charge in the second half. The Warriors put together a 12-0 run to give themselves a 71-68 lead, showing no signs of backing down. That stretch was crucial in bringing them back into the game, up until the Lakers explode.
Bryant scored 20 of his 28 in the second half, albeit on a lackluster shooting night. Jackson would then exploit the Warriors lack of size in the paint by running the offense through Bynum in the paint.
Bynum put together a then-career high of 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, along with 11 rebounds, three assists and five blocks. The 20-year-old proved to be too much for Andris Biedrins, Austin Croshere, and a young D.J. Mbenga, using his seven-foot frame to his advantage.
The Lakers went on for a 123-113 victory over the Warriors, notching their ninth consecutive victory in their head-to-head matchups.
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