Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday night road game against the Golden State Warriors as the Lakers looked for their eighth win in nine games since Andrew Bynum returned to the starting line up, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Warriors: S. Curry, M. Ellis, D. Wright, D. Lee, A. Biedrins
6:36 Bryant’s footwork can be overwhelming for defenders at times, which Monta Ellis could attest to after an up-fake, step-through, pull-up 18-footer swished home to give the Lakers a 10-6 lead halfway through the period. Defensively, the Lakers are more than fine when set up in the half court in general due to their length and increased attention to the relatively new defensive schemes, which played out in the opening minutes as all of Golden State’s points came in transition. But when LAL get set, it’s basically a 1-2-2 zone, with Bynum and Gasol staying home on most pick and roll actions, with the wing players forcing the ball into the corners and keeping the paint covered at all times.
2:30 No NBA player has made more three-pointers this season than Miami castoff Dorrell Wright, who hit his 99th to put the Warriors up 23-17. The Lakers did answer with back-to-back hoops from from Ron Artest (baseline seal) and Steve Blake (pull-up jumper) before the fourth Warriors triple of the quarter, this time from Monta Ellis, made it a 26-21 home team lead after the first.
10:05 Those defensive principals we talked about were nowhere to be found to open the second quarter, as Ellis twice got all the way to the rim for uncontested layups before burying a corner three in transition on the following play, his third of the game, to score all eight Warriors points in a 34-23 G.S. lead. Bynum had been on the bench, and Gasol hadn’t reacted quickly enough on the drives from a rotation standpoint.
7:15 After settling for a series of jumpers that inspired Golden State’s run at the other end, L.A. started to settle in on offense, using a 10-0 run to cut the lead to four. The key was Gasol’s paint presence, with the Spaniard first drawing a foul of his O board and hitting two freebies, then adding a leaner and another put-back layup to make it 37-33.
2:57 Gasol continued his dominant quarter with two more buckets to reach 12 in the quarter, 14 in the game, and found himself in a major man embrace from Bynum after ‘Drew put-back a miss, his first statistical contribution for a spell, which put LAL up a point. But after his and-1, the Lakers conceded 11 points while scoring just two to close the quarter, allowing the Warriors to head into halftime with all the momentum, plus a 53-45 lead. Most of the damage came in transition, the Lakers failing to get back quickly enough after missed shots and turnovers, as L.A.’s coaches warned against before the game.
9:15 The halftime message must have addressed L.A.’s need to get back in transition after conceding 20 fast break points in the first half, and doing so helped the defense, with LAL getting two more buckets from Gasol in addition to Bryant’s driving and-1 to make sure they took advantage at the other end in a 55-52 game.
5:14 A missed defensive rotation from Artest and his turnover at the other end led to five straight Warriors points, but Bryant provided a personal answer by scoring six straight himself at the expense of Ellis, bringing the Lakers to within two at 62-60.
1:45 The triples kept raining down from the Oakland sky for the Warriors, Wright hitting his fourth and Golden State’s eighth of the game, compared to just one for L.A., a difference of 21 points. Though Bryant sandwiched jumpers around Wright’s rainbow, the G.S. lead was still nine. The final sequence of the quarter, featuring a Brown three, turnover and make-up-for-it block, cut two points off the lead to make it 75-69 Warriors with the fourth to play.
5:02 If Gasol dominated the second quarter as L.A. chopped Golden State’s lead down, Odom thoroughly controlled the fourth, scoring 14 of his 18 points in an 8-minute stretch to put the Lakers up three points after sinking his fourth straight free throw. Again, Odom was proving how entirely invaluable he is coming off the bench, the Lakers
1:17 As entertaining of a stretch of hoops as we’ve seen in a few games included a 1-on-1 duel between Bryant and Ellis, Artest’s corner three from Bryant, a real tough hanging J from Wright and a 24-second violation on the Lakers. Then with L.A. up three, Bryant pulled up from 27 feet and absolutely buried the dagger triple to reach 13 points in the past five minutes, 35 in the game. The Black Mamba, folks.
0:10.0 A crazy final stanza, fitting for such a contest, featuring (literally) three G.S. triples in 15 seconds, with L.A. making 6-of-6 FT’s and getting another layup from Odom to lead by five in the closing seconds. Gasol would add two final free throws to make it 115-110, L.A.’s sixth straight win.
56 Paint points for the Lakers, who utilized their size particularly well in the fourth quarter, with 16 of those paint points.
30 Of Kobe Bryant’s 39 points that came in the second half, including a 17-point fourth quarter during which he fully entered Black Mamba mode with a series of daggers. Monta Ellis put up 38 for the Warriors, but only seven came in the fourth period.
20 Fast break points for the Warriors in the first half, the key behind their eight-point lead at the break. L.A. limited their transition opportunities more effectively in the second half, limiting the Warriors to 11 in the open court.
16 Fourth quarter points for Lamar Odom, who brought the Lakers back into the game after the team trailed by six heading into the final period. Also key early in the fourth was Andrew Bynum, who totaled 14 rebounds with his 11 points and two blocks.
14 Golden State’s biggest lead of the game, which came in the second quarter before the Lakers settled in.