When the Lakers dropped Tuesday evening’s contest to the Hornets at home, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum had little to no stamp on the game, combining to take just 15 shots, making five, and grabbing a collective 16 rebounds despite playing an average of 38.5 minutes.
Accordingly, heading into Wednesday’s contest in Oakland against the Warriors, it was no secret that L.A. needed a much (like, times five) bigger effort against a smallish Golden State squad.
How’s 33 and 18 from Pau, plus 18 and 11 from Bynum?
Yeah, that would work just fine.
“We emphasized throwing the ball in there and going to work,” said Gasol. “We have two talented big men that are capable of attacking and being productive … That’s a strength we need to expose consistently.”
Those two bigs also blocked two shots each, and helped the Lakers score 56 points in the paint after New Orleans held them to 24 on the night before. Gasol, in particular, was as big as his seven feet down the stretch, scoring 14 points in the fourth in large part by aggressively going to the basket.
“I just continued to be aggressive and tried not to settle too much (for jumpers),” he explained.
Other Lakers certainly contributed to the win, namely Kobe Bryant (21, five and five), Derek Fisher (eight assists), Sasha Vujacic (six assists, no turnovers, 12 points) and perhaps most of all, Trevor Ariza (17 points, nine boards, two key fourth quarter steals).
But there’s no getting around the reason L.A. got its 28th win to just six losses: 14 feet of big dudes.
A few numbers:
Points in the paint for the Lakers after they’d managed just 24 the night before in the loss to New Orleans.
Shots taken by Jamal Crawford to get to his 25 points. Oops, there goes the efficiency rating.
Trevor Ariza’s game-high plus/minus rating.
Fouls called on the Lakers, after 22 had been called the night before.
Number of threes missed by the Lakers in 19 attempts.
L.A.’s edge on the backboards, 51-43.
Vladimir Radmanovic’s plus/minus, a team worst. Vladi struggled, missing all three of his shots and turning the ball over twice in 13 minutes, none of which came in the second half.