NBA: Gasol Literally Perfect as Lakers Beat Warriors

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Matt Barnes’ perfect night in Minnesota Friday must have rubbed off on his teammates, as Pau Gasol had an even better stat line Sunday night, in the Lakers’ 117-89 crushing of the Golden St. Warriors at Staples Center.

Gasol didn’t miss a shot or a free throw, tallying 28 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, on 10-10 from the field, and 8-8 from the foul line, just one game after Barnes’ perfect 20-point, 7-rebound, 6-assist performance against the Timberwolves.

Along with Charles Barkley, Barnes and Gasol are the only players in NBA history to score at least 20 points, grab five rebounds, and dish out five assists without missing a single field goal or free throw.

The game itself wasn’t close from the opening tip.  The Lakers dominated inside early and jumped out 37-21 after one quarter, kept pouring it on all night, and lead 95-60 after three quarters en route to the easy victory.  The Warriors could fare no better than they did on Halloween night, when they lost by 24, despite having guard Stephen Curry, who missed the first game with an ankle sprain, in the lineup.

Kobe Bryant had another short and restful night in the blowout, playing less than 27 minutes, scoring 20 points, with six rebounds, and five assists.  Shannon Brown continues to play well off the bench, scoring 17 points on 7-10 from the field, including 3-3 from the 3-point line.  Lamar Odom added 15 points and 10 rebounds in just over 27 minutes of action.

The Warriors were led by Dorell Wright’s 16 points, but it took 17 shots to get them.  The Warriors did get a scare when their leading-scorer, Monta Ellis, took a hard fall on his hip and didn’t return to the game.  Ellis, the league’s second-leading scorer, had just five points on 2-10 shooting.  The injury is not believed to be serious.

The Lakers’ defense was on display again on this night, holding the Warriors to 35.2% from the field and just 3-20 (15%) from beyond the arc.  The Lakers shot a season-high 55.7% from the field, and have won their last 4 games by an average of 17 points.

The Lakers’ next game is Tuesday night against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.   The Bulls are playing well, leading the Central Division at 7-4, and are coming off an 88-83 win at Dallas on Friday.   They are in the middle of a grueling seven-game road trip.