Lakers Cruise to Victory Over Warriors

April 19, 2012

Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors were coming off embarrassing losses to the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs heading into Wednesday night’s game, but behind Andrew Bynum’s monster first half and Pau Gasol’s fifth career triple-double, the Lakers ensured themselves an easy 99-87 win over the injury-riddled Warriors.

Bynum continued his recent domination with a 31-point performance on 12 of 14 shooting, while hitting all seven of his free throws. He rested during the fourth quarter, as Gasol secured his first triple-double since early last season. Gasol finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

The Lakers looked like a different team just one night after giving up 112 points to San Antonio, holding their opponent to 87 points on 42% shooting. They also passed the ball with remarkable efficiency, assisting on all but three of their field goals.

The Warriors simply had no answer for the Lakers’ interior presence.

The Lakers repeatedly pounded the ball inside to Bynum and Gasol, as the frustrated Warriors could only foul to stop the bleeding. Bynum racked up 17 points in the first quarter alone, including a stretch in which he scored 11 straight for the Lakers.

Meanwhile, it was another rough night for the Warriors, who are without Stephen Curry and David Lee for the remainder of the season. Warriors coach Mark Jackson started four rookies and hoped that his young players could pick up the slack, but they were outsized and outplayed by the Laker bigs.

Klay Thompson scored a team-high 17 points for the Warriors, but took 22 attempts to reach that mark. Golden State, normally sharp with their three ball, made only four shots from beyond the arc on 21% shooting.

With the regular season coming to a close, the Lakers are fighting for the third seed in the West. They hold a slim 1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers, who won tonight in Denver.

The Lakers’ final three games are Friday night’s matchup against San Antonio, a Sunday matinee at home against Oklahoma City, and a final road game against Sacramento. If the Lakers are to maintain their current spot in the standings, they have to play with the same amount of effort they put forth tonight against the Warriors.

Tonight the Lakers played a polished game on both ends of the court, exploited their height advantage with Bynum and Gasol, and shared the ball effortlessly throughout the 48 minutes (roughly 42 minutes if you count Mike Brown clearing the bench midway through the fourth).

After struggling to find their identity for the majority of the season, the Lakers are coming together at exactly the right moment. And with Kobe Bryant likely returning to the lineup on Friday, the Lakers can create some real momentum heading into the playoffs.

By Jake Vitanza
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

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