Gasol, Bynum key Laker win

It was a wild day of NBA action. The first six games were decided by four points or less, and there were a couple of buzzer beaters.

Unfortunately, the best matchup of the night didn’t live up to its billing. The Cavs went through an offensive drought in the third quarter (helped by some solid defense from the Lakers) to give L.A. a lead that was pushed to 18 points in the middle of the final period. The Cavs made a late surge, but ultimately fell, 105-88.

The Lakers won this game in the paint, with good games from Pau Gasol (22 points) and Andrew Bynum (14 points), who shot a combined 17-of-23 from the field. Defensively, the Lakers did a nice job on LeBron, who hit just 9-of-28 from the field and was held to 23 points. Kobe didn’t have a great night scoring the ball (20 points on 9-of-22 shooting), but he might have been bothered by his ring finger, which he dislocated early in the game. He did share the ball well, posting 12 assists in the win.

The Cavs still have trouble scoring if LeBron doesn’t have a great game. They brought Mo Williams in to relieve some of the pressure, but he had five turnovers and shot 6-of-16 from the field. As a team, the Cavs shot 43% from the field while allowing the Lakers to shoot better than 52%. You aren’t going to win too many games with that big of a disparity.

On a side note, I like the look of J.J. Hickson (11 points, 4 rebounds). At 20 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the Cavs starting power forward in a year or two. He’s athletic and has some good moves both facing the basket and posting up. He also made several nice defensive plays in the paint. He looks like a keeper.

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