LAL 99, GSW 87: April 18 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening road contest at Golden State, the Lakers looking to bounce back from a home loss to San Antonio, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Sessions, Ebanks*, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Warriors: C. Jenkins, K. Thompson, D. Wright, J. Tyler, M. Gladness
*For the seventh straight game, L.A. would play without Kobe Bryant (shin), but the Warriors injury situation was even more dire: no Steph Curry, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson or Andris Biedrins, meaning that four rookies would start (all but Wright).

FIRST QUARTER
5:32 L.A. opened up by scoring with relative ease in the paint, scoring 10 of 15 points inside, but the defense wasn’t quite as inspired, allowing 15 points to the Warriors in an early tie game.

0:00 The lead was six after one quarter, L.A. shooting an impressive 60 percent but allowing 50 percent field goals to Golden State. Bynum was the big story, as he rolled off 13 straight points for the Lakers to reach 17 in the game, scoring easily inside on 7 of 8 field goals and 3 of 3 free throws. World Peace added seven points of his own and Gasol six in the period.

SECOND QUARTER
6:00 The Lakers pushed the lead up to 17 behind a strong second unit performance, a 47-30 margin coming thanks in part to triples from Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, and excellent all-around play from Gasol.

2:39 Golden State responded with an 11-1 run with L.A. missing some easy shots, and Sessions converting only one of four straight free throws, giving us a 48-39 margin with a few to go in the second. L.A. had controlled the half, but was starting to play with fire.

0:00 The lead was trimmed still further when Richard Jefferson hit a jumper, cutting it to six, though two more Bynum free throws (five of five in the half) combined with his 9 of 11 field goals to give him 23 points, and the Lakers a 56-48 lead at the break. The Warriors weren’t boasting many guys with offensive firepower, but all nine guys that played scored at least one field goal in a solid team effort.

THIRD QUARTER
10:38 L.A.’s coaches stressed “maintaining focus” coming out of the halftime tunnel, none too pleased with the Lakers getting their 17-point lead cut in half, and we saw better play out of the gate, with World Peace and Bynum notching field goals before 3 of 4 free throws from Ebanks and Gasol (2 of 2), pushing the lead up to 63-48.

4:54 The lead was at 16 as Gasol neared a triple-double, totaling 16 points, eight assists and seven boards, and Bynum had 29 points on an uber efficient 11 of 13 field goals plus seven of seven foul shots. The defense had improved from the second quarter, as well, as L.A. tried to prevent yet another close game.

0:00 A 28-19 edge in the third provided a cushy 17-point lead heading into the final quarter, with L.A. controlling tempo quite well and continuing to pound the ball inside, 12 minutes more to go to stay a half game ahead of the Clips in the race for the No. 3 seed.

FOURTH QUARTER
10:03 Gasol was real close to a triple-double in the first three quarters, so with one assist and one rebound in the first two minutes of the fourth, he had his fifth career TD, dominating the Warriors from all over the court. He’d finally check out after 36 minutes at the 5:24 mark, with 22 points, 11 boards and 11 rebounds, his team up 23 points.

4:19 Your crew for the final five minutes: Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Devin Ebanks, Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts. And it was Morris notching the team’s 34th assist of the evening on a pass to a cutting Ebanks, surpassing 33 notched at Portland on March 23.

0:00 The Warriors scored the final nine points with L.A.’s subs in to make it look better than it was, a final score of 99-87 in a game L.A. led by as many as 23. Gasol’s triple-double was the highlight, while Bynum scored 30+ points yet again, in efficient fashion (12 of 14 and 7 for 7).

L.A.’s next one should be fun, a road tilt at San Antonio that not only serves as the rubber match for the season series and affects playoff positioning, but comes with the expectation that Kobe Bryant will return after a seven-game absence. We’ll see you there.