What a difference a week makes. One week ago, the Los Angeles Lakers were coming out of the NBA All-Star break a team in disarray. OK, maybe that's a bit drastic, but the team did limp into the break having lost three straight, the last one to the worst team in the NBA. However, the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles seemed to rejuvenate the Lakers, who recovered to win all four games last week, with three of the four wins against playoff teams.
The Lakers began the week with a home blowout of the Atlanta Hawks. The 104-80 win was the Lakers' ninth wire-to-wire victory of the season, the most in the NBA. The other home win was against the Clippers on Friday, when the Lakers turned a one-point game early in the third quarter into a 26-point lead 12 minutes later. However, the week was defined by the Lakers' performance wearing their purple and gold uniforms.
Wednesday in Portland, the Lakers trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, and by eight points with just over four minutes left the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest led a furious comeback, and the Lakers scored the final eight points of regulation to force overtime, then took control in the extra period for a 106-101 win at the Rose Garden. Then, Sunday in Oklahoma City, the Lakers trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and were down 56-51 at halftime. L.A. turned up the defensive pressure, holding the Thunder to just 31 second-half points en route to a 90-87 win to cap a 4-0 week.
- Pau Gasol: 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 58.7% FG, 3 double-doubles
- Kobe Bryant: 24.5 points, 5.8 assists, moved into seventh on the NBA scoring list
- Andrew Bynum: 10.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 57.7% FG
Steve Blake: 3 for 6 from three-point range (small things, but it's always good to see Blake taking, and making, shots)
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