Coming off a rare loss the previous day, the Los Angeles Lakers looked to get back in the win column with a bounce back performance over the struggling Golden State Warriors.
Winners in six of their last seven games, the Lakers entered play on Jan. 7, 2009, with a comfortable lead at the top of the Western Conference. They traveled to Oracle Arena for the first time all season, and got off to an excellent start against the Warriors, outscoring them by eight points in the first quarter.
That lead would be trimmed to five points in the second quarter, where the Warriors matched shot-to-shot with the Lakers and entered halftime trailing by that margin. Los Angeles would come out flat at the start of the second half and needed to pull off a fourth quarter comeback to ensure the victory.
That’s when Paul Gasol took over offensively for the Lakers, scoring 14 points in the final 12 minutes of competition. Behind his guidance, Los Angeles went on to wrap up what would be their 28th win of the season by a final score of 114-106.
All-in-all, Gasol dropped 33 points and collected 18 rebounds in just under 39 minutes of action. He converted 12 of his 21 field goal attempts and tallied two blocks on the defensive end.
Kobe Bryant added 21 of his own points and shot 9-of-20 from the field. Andrew Bynum recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while a pair of sharpshooters in Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic reached the double-digit mark in points off the bench, scoring 17 and 12, respectively.
The Warriors received contributions from starting guard Jamal Crawford, who led the team with 25 points and nine assists in roughly 44 minutes on the court. Andris Biedrins nearly put up a triple-triple behind 12 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists in just over 38 minutes.
Golden State battled, but it ultimately wasn’t enough in the end. For the Lakers, the victory further separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the Western Conference, as they would go on to win their first NBA Championship since the 2001-02 season.
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