Standings: Clippers Still Half Game Behind Lakers
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Andrew Bynum had 31 points and nine rebounds, Pau Gasol recorded a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers rebounded from their worst loss of the season by beating the undermanned Golden State Warriors 99-87 Wednesday night.
Gasol finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to help the Lakers build a 17-point lead by the second quarter and cruise to an easy win – even with Kobe Bryant missing his seventh straight game with a bruised left shin – a night after a 112-91 home loss to San Antonio.
Los Angeles still had several lapses and often looked lethargic playing the second night in a row.
But Bynum and Gasol dominated whenever the twin 7-footers wanted against Golden State’s fraud of a frontline, tipping balls around the rim – it seemed they were playing volleyball against each other at times. Bynum scored 17 points in the first quarter, including a one-handed dunk off an uncontested lob from Steve Blake.
Bynum and Gasol combined to go 15 for 15 on free throws.
Blake’s reverse layup highlighted a 15-4 run to start the second quarter, giving the Lakers a 47-30 lead that allowed them to coast the rest of the way. Golden State had brief bursts, slicing the lead to only eight at the half, but Los Angeles never had to be at its best – or full strength – to sweep the season series 4-0 against its neighbors to the north.
That time is coming soon against tougher competition.
Los Angeles has won five of its last six and remains a half-game ahead of the Clippers in the Pacific Division. With no chance of catching Oklahoma City or San Antonio for the Western Conference’s second seed, holding off its Staples Center co-tenants and getting Bryant ready for the playoffs is paramount.
Bryant did some shooting and running drills about three hours before tipoff. Lakers coach Mike Brown said his star’s status is still day to day heading into Friday’s rematch at San Antonio and not to overanalyze the pregame workout.
“He’s not completely right,” Brown said. “Just because a guy can run and jump a little bit, and shoot, that doesn’t mean that there’s a comfort level from everybody to put him out there.”
The Lakers landed in just the right place for a turnaround game.
Just about all the top talent – including Bryant – dressed in sharp suits on the bench. By the end of the fourth quarter, so many home fans had filtered out, chunks of Lakers fans could easily be heard shouting “Kobe! Kobe!”
The Warriors played without starters David Lee (strained groin) and Andris Biedrins (mild concussion) and backup point guard Nate Robinson (right hamstring). Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle) and Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) have long been out for the season.
That forced coach Mark Jackson – who started all three of the team’s draft picks this season along with reserve center Mickell Gladness, who was originally signed to a 10-day contract in late March – to refute questions again about the franchise intentionally losing to protect its first-round draft pick.
Utah holds the pick this year as part of a previous trade, and the only way the Warriors keep it is if they finish in the bottom seven of the league after the draft lottery. Golden State entered the night in eighth.
NOTES: Curry said he likely won’t test his ankle fully for at least another month. … Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis sat courtside wearing white pants and a white long-sleeve shirt with the team’s logo. … Warriors Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, also a one-time teammate with Jackson at St. John’s, was part of the ESPN broadcast crew courtside.