As always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.
Lakers: Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom
Warriors: Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Morrow
Instead of focusing on the game at hand, I spent the pregame talking to Andrew Bynum about his five favorite movies, TV shows, actors and musical artists. I figured that would put him in a better mood than asking him why he hasn’t been particularly effective of late. Talking about Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington, “True Blood” and more, Bynum’s sure to do more damage than he did against New Orleans last night (I set my self up for success with that comment, if you check that box score).
In other news, assistant coach Jim Cleamons and I ranked the top nine in the Western Conference. We’ll get to that soon. Until then…
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Vladi, Pau and Bynum
Warriors Marco Belinelli, Jamal Crawford, Corey Maggette, Brandan Wright and Andris Biedrins
11:00 Bynum scores on a nice move on the baseline, dropping in the deuce with a short hook. I’m now starting to think of top five lists for next pregame.
10:01 The Warriors hit their third straight shot, a jumper from Crawford, to take an early 6-2 lead.
8:52 Bynum 17-foot jumper from the elbow. Swish. However, Golden State stayed hot, making 6-of-9 to start the game in taking a 12-6 lead. The crowd at Oracle was still filing in, but the noise level was rising steadily.
6:18 Radmanovic is unable to corral a relatively easy outlet pass from Bryant in the open court. Maybe he needs to talk about his five favorite bands…
5:04 Gasol’s dunk from Vladi gave him six points, plus four from Bynum in the quarter’s first seven minutes. Remember, the two bigs combined for only 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting last night. They’ve already converted 4-of-9 tonight, plus five total rebounds. Corey Maggette carried the load for Golden State by scoring eight points on 4-of-5 shooting to give the home team a 16-14 edge into the first timeout, but L.A.’s bigs have been the story.
4:29 Kobe’s first triple of the night gives the Lakers their first lead, after he put six threes in against the Hornets on Tuesday.
3:06 Huge block from Bynum on Belinelli. ‘Drew also likes R Kelly and Jeremy Piven. He likes Piven so much that the terrible movie “Smoking Aces” somehow made his top five movies list. That’s like putting Soldier Boy in your top five musical artists. Warriors 20, Lakers 19 at this point. Meanwhile, out of the timeout, Jackson came in with Trevor Ariza, Sasha Vujacic and Josh Powell off the bench.
1:20 A sneaky drive from Bryant, plus the harm, gave him eight points and the Lakers a 24-20 lead. More importantly, Gasol already had eight points and seven boards for the purple and gold, though to be fair, he wasn’t facing the toughest low-post defensive team in the NBA … All the more important to keep feeding the Spaniard.
7.7 STUFF. Kobe went fierce with his left hand all the way to the goal, taking the space afforded by his defender, and continuing to rise over Ronny Turiaf and Co. in the paint. That was dirty, and illegal in some states.
Bryant’s jam completed a 9-0 run to close the quarter in taking a 28-20 lead as the Warriors failed to score in the final 3:46 of play. After starting out hot, the Warriors missed their final seven shots (the first of which Bynum swatted) to go 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) for the quarter.
11:09 There’s Bynum again, using the same move that produced his first bucket again. He’s 3-of-4 for six points, plus three boards and a stuff, and L.A.’s up 32-20. The lead grew to 34-20 when Ariza canned his second jumper of the quarter, completing a 15-0 run since L.A.’s bench checked in.
Let’s repeat that: Vujacic, Powell and Ariza are all +15, having yet to cede a Warriors point in five minutes.
10:07 Maggette’s jumper finally broke the scoreless streak, though Ariza promptly answered with an alley-oop.
9:08 Fisher, who always kills the Warriors since leaving the Bay Area, canned his first triple of the night to give L.A. its biggest lead at 39-22.
7:58 J-Peezy, huge one-handed dunk off a nice Fisher feed. That’s +16 for Powell, who’s put up four points, and two boards in seven minutes, plus some solid defense, particularly helpful in Lamar Odom’s absence.
6:18 Bynum’s 17-footer looks very good, as his second swishes in again after he’d grabbed the defensive board. Eight and five for ‘Drew on 4-of-6, plus the two swats. Also making his recording artist list: Kanye West. 45-29, L.A.
If you haven’t seen scores around the league yet tonight, Boston lost its fifth game in seven tries and third straight to fall to 29-8.
5:59 Sun Yue checks in for the Lakers in meaningful minute territory, and he’s bringing the ball up the floor, something that’s been a problem for the young Chinese hoopster. Golden State, meanwhile, scores five straight points to cut the lead to 11.
2:41 Sun made a fantastic defensive play with a massive swat of Wright, but Kelenna Azubuike was there for the putback with no Lakers back in transition. Sun then rimmed out on a baseline three, and Crawford snuck all the way to the hoop to cut L.A.’s lead to 47-40, capping off an 11-2 run. Jackson would call timeout, put his starters (minus Vladi in favor of Sasha) on the floor, and immediately suffer a blocked Vujacic layup and a powerful Wright dunk.
1:55 The run continued for the Warriors with a deep three from Azubuike. Earlier in the quarter, Powell’s dunk had made it 41-24 Warriors, so crunch your numbers and find a 21-6 run that had the Oakland crowd in a fervor.
50.7 L.A. responded by going to Gasol on the left block, and he rewarded them by converting all three hoops, the second two dunks, and the third plus the harm to give him 15 and eight, and make it a five-point game.
35.1 Turiaf managed a hoop, but the Lakers smartly looked for Gasol again, and were rewarded with two more foul shots when sub Anthony Randolph (a rookie out of LSU) grabbed him before the entry pass. A good defensive possession was supposed to give L.A. the last shot, but Randolph poked the ball away from Pau and off his Spanish foot, leaving a 56-51 margin at the break.
Halftime If you’ve ever been to an NBA game, you may have seen “Quick Change,” a magic-dance show in which a couple changes outfits like 1,234 times in 10 minutes. It’s actually sort of cool, and no one has any idea how it actually works. But I’ve literally seen it 13 times now after three years in the league. Now, I bring this up tonight because they’re here in Golden State … After they performed in L.A. last night.
Really? Come on! I mean at this point, I’d rather see the Bucket Boys for the 16th time, or, best of all, Rubber Boy, the freakish dude who puts his whole body in a little glass box. That’s pretty cool.
As for the game, L.A. hit 23-of-48 in the first half, and most importantly, got 17 and eight from Gasol and eight and six from Bynum, plus three total blocks. Bryant and Fisher took 11 shots to 19 from the two bigs, a ratio Lakers fans can be happy with, particularly as the Lakers scored 30 points in the paint, already more than last night (24). Vujacic struggled off the bench by making just 1-of-6 shots, though he did manage four assists without a turnover in 13 minutes, which L.A. will gladly take from its sort of backup point guard.
Clem and My Top 8 Challengers
1) San Antonio
2) New Orleans
11:20 Belinelli hit consecutive jumpers to pull Golden State within one out of the half.
9:43 With L.A. continuing to struggle on offense, the Warriors got back-to-back hoops from Crawford and Randolph to take a 61-58 lead. Bryant picked that spot to answer with a triple to tie the game.
7:42 Looking very dangerous offensively … Because they weren’t missing anything … the Warriors took a 65-61 lead after Maggette hit again. They’re 7-of-10 in the quarter, while L.A. is 1-for-8.
5:17 Ariza makes 1-of-2 to cap a 4-0 Lakers run, 69-68 Warriors.
4:46 Another good play from Bynum gives the Lakers the lead back, and him 14 points and 10 boards in by far his best game in the last few weeks. The Warriors, however, quickly scored the next six points to re-take the lead, 75-70.
Some weird numbers: Pau Gasol is -13, despite his 19 points and 10 boards. Sun Yue was -9 in his second quarter stint, while Josh Powell is a team-high +13, and Kobe’s -9.
2:58 Speaking of Powell, he just checked back in, on the floor with Bynum, Ariza, Bryant and Vujacic.
2:11 Vujacic missed back-to-back threes and is now 1-of-8 after going 2-of-5 last night.
54.5 Wouldn’t you know it, a triple from Sasha after the previous post. Go figure. Bynum would follow that up by rebounding Bryant’s missed three, and pounding it back through with two hands plus the harm to tie the game at 76. 18 and 11 for ‘Drew. Powell, by the way, is now +17.
0:05.5 Vujacic continued his up-and-down quarter by fouling the three-point shooting Crawford, who made all three shots to give Golden State a 80-77 lead after three. The Warriors outscored the Lakers 29-21 in the quarter.
11:20 Ariza’s corner jumper to start the quarter was quickly answered by Maggette, who was second to Crawford’s 22 points with 18.
10:03 The Lakers took the lead back on Ariza’s jumper after a terrific block from Gasol of Maggette and his 11th rebound.
Meanwhile, Ric Bucher, who lives in the Bay Area and is seated next to me, and I couldn’t see a fifth forward getting ahead of Gasol in the All-Star game. It should look like this: Duncan, Dirk, Amare, ‘Melo (though the injury makes it interesting) and Pau. David West might be his main competition.
7:40 Gasol battled through non-calls on consecutive possessions to score four straight points and tie the game at 84, giving Pau 23 and 13. We should mention that his second hoop was possible thanks to something you expect at least a few times a game – a sneaky Ariza steal out of nowhere.
7:18 There’s Sasha again, canning a triple, to put L.A. up 90-87 and force a timeout.
6:33 Another steal and conversion of two free throws from, yup, Ariza. The Lakers have been fighting all quarter.
5:43 25 and 14 for Pau after an offensive rebound and jumper. Lakers by seven. Biedrins managed a hoop at the other end, but Gasol promptly spinned around him (4:35) to get to the line again, converting both to back up a Bryant layup and put L.A. up 100-91.
3:54 Pau again. Put him in the All-Star game. 29 and 16 tonight.
2:11 Vujacic misses a potential dagger three, and Azubuike cans one at the other end for Golden State to make it 104-99. That would have been the game right there.
1:14 The refs absolutely buried their whistles, not giving Bryant a foul call on three consecutive drives, and Crawford hit at the other end to make it a three point game.
0:46 Gasol, after scoring his 31st point when L.A. couldn’t by a bucket, contested a Biedrins layup attempt and tipped the board to Vujacic, who calmly stroked both foul shots to put L.A. back up seven.
0:36 Belinelli was determined not to allow the Lakers to slide out easily, canning a triple to cut the lead to four. Gasol was promptly fouled, and the All-Star (Phil Jackson says so) made both.
0:24.5 Two more Vujacic free throws to give him 12 off the bench and the Lakers a six-point lead. Game over.
Let’s go ahead and give the game ball to Gasol (33 points, 18 boards, two blocks, one assist), with honorable mention to Bynum for his 18 and 11.