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 Gasol's 4th-quarter surge leads Lakers

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PostSubject: Gasol's 4th-quarter surge leads Lakers   Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:06 pm

OAKLAND, Calif.(AP) Pau Gasol didn't merely
bounce back from a bad game 24 hours earlier. He ricocheted violently
through the whole fourth quarter, knocking aside Golden State defenders
and the Los Angeles Lakers' struggles with the same brute grace.Gasol
had 33 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, Kobe Bryant added 21
points and the Lakers rallied from a late deficit for their seventh
victory in eight games, 114-106 over the Warriors on Wednesday night.Andrew
Bynum had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, whose home loss to
New Orleans on Tuesday snapped a six-game winning streak for the
Western Conference leaders. Los Angeles also lost key swingman Lamar
Odom to a bone bruise, trimming their rotation and increasing their
dependence on Gasol, who had just 10 points against the Hornets.Bryant
half-jokingly asked Gasol to make up for it with 40 points against the
Warriors' notoriously inadequate low-post defense. The Spanish star
nearly got there, putting up 14 points and eight rebounds in the final
period alone while brutalizing Andris Biedrins and the Golden State
defense."I always like to bounce back aggressively after a game
that I don't consider satisfying for me,'' said Gasol, who fell one
short of his season-high in points and matched his rebounding
career-high for the first time in nearly a year. "The positive thing we
did tonight was throw the ball (into the low post) and go to work. You
have to have balance in your game, and you have to take advantage of
your strengths.''Coach Phil Jackson said Bryant was pretty much
taking a rest in the first three quarters after laboring to score 39
points against New Orleans one night earlier. The MVP turned it on
late, getting three big baskets in the final seven minutes - but so did
Gasol, who scored six points during the decisive 12-2 run midway
through the fourth quarter, adding a clinching jump-hook with 57
seconds to play.Even without their usual depth, the Lakers had
enough poise to hold off the inexperienced Warriors, who have their own
injury problems with Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis on the shelf.
Jamal Crawford had 25 points and a season-high nine assists for Golden
State, and Corey Maggette added 19 points before fouling out of the
Warriors' fifth loss in six games."We got out of character and
just started casting up shots,'' said Bryant, who took just one free
throw. "Once you get off a team and give them life, especially in this
building with their fans, it becomes dangerous.''Stephen
Jackson, the Warriors' captain and second-leading scorer, sat out with
a hamstring injury, while Odom didn't make the trip after injuring his
knee in the second quarter Tuesday, leaving Phil Jackson with just six
players from his regular nine-man rotation from earlier this season.Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 17 points for the Lakers, playing 33 minutes in Odom's absence.After
beating Boston late last month, Golden State gave another tough game to
an NBA finalist, with Marco Belinelli largely limiting Bryant's scoring
until Gasol opened up the game down the stretch.Coach Don Nelson said he had "no problems with the way we played.''"They're
tough to cover, the whole team,'' Nelson added. "You have to help on
Kobe a lot, and they have a lot of weapons, and (Gasol) was the
recipient of some of that. When they go to him, which they did a lot
tonight, there was a mismatch there, and they took advantage of that.''Los
Angeles jumped to a 17-point lead in the second quarter, but Wright and
Crawford led a 16-2 Golden State run to close the gap before halftime.
The Warriors led 90-87 entering the fourth, but the clubs traded the
lead until Sasha Vujacic's 3-pointer put Los Angeles up for good."Being
young, we have to learn how to prepare for every single team,'' said
Biedrins, who had 12 points, 17 rebounds - all defensive boards - and a
career-high eight assists.While Maggette played his second
straight game for Golden State after missing 15 games with a strained
hamstring, the Warriors lost starting forward Brandan Wright to a
partially dislocated left shoulder late in the first half after Gasol
dunked on him.Wright will undergo an MRI on Thursday.The
Warriors played their NBA-low 14th home game in front of an
enthusiastic sellout crowd, but their brutal travel schedule over the
past month still doesn't let up until the weekend. Golden State, which
hasn't played two games in the same city since Dec. 10-12, must travel
to Portland on Saturday before returning home against Indiana on Sunday
for the start of a seven-game homestand.Notes: Ellis is one step
closer to returning from his nasty offseason ankle injury. The club
cleared him Wednesday for the final stage of rehabilitation before
returning to practice and games. Ellis, who averaged 20.2 points last
year, hasn't played since tearing up his ankle while crashing a
motorized scooter in August. ... G Anthony Morrow wasn't with the
Warriors while awaiting the birth of his child with his girlfriend. ...
Derek Fisher had eight assists, but just nine points in 38 minutes on
3-of-10 shooting.

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