Andrew Bynum will undergo an MRI exam Tuesday on his surgically-repaired right knee, which will be compared to MRIs taken last month and two months ago. Bynum also is scheduled to begin to intensify his workouts this week, adding jumping and lateral movement to his routine. If all goes well and he suffers no setbacks in the next week or two, he said he should be ready to practice with his teammates. In other words, it’s going to be a while longer before he makes his season debut. “I just want to be healthy,” he said.
Pau Gasol couldn’t miss tonight, scoring 28 points on 10-for-10 shooting. He also made all eight of his free-throw attempts. He grabbed nine rebounds and added five assists, and he didn’t play a second in the fourth quarter. The Lakers thumped the Warriors, defeating Golden State for the 11th consecutive time. The Lakers have won four in a row after their two-game losing streak. Kobe Bryant added 20 points, Lamar Odom had 15 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds and Shannon Brown scored 17. Next: Chicago on Tuesday.
“It was a good positive night,” Gasol said. “I wasn’t thinking about it during the game. I was just trying to capitalize on the good passes of my teammates and opportunities. I’m always trying to be efficient and effective at all times.”
Wilt Chamberlain holds the Lakers’ franchise record by making 14 of 14 shots during a game March 11, 1969 against the Detroit Pistons.
The Lakers hammered the Golden State Warriors en route to a 29-point lead by halftime. They have scored 40 of their points in the paint, including 22 on fastbreaks. They are shooting 65.9 percent (29-for-44). They have 20 assists. Pau Gasol scored 20 points on 8-for-8 shooting against the hapless Warriors. Kobe Bryant has 13 points.
The Lakers went 3-0 on their trip to Milwaukee, Detroit and Minnesota and weren’t really threatened in any of the three games against subpar competition. They did not escape unscathed, however. Ron Artest has been suffering from a sore back. Pau Gasol sprained his ankle Friday. Shannon Brown got poked in the eye. Lamar Odom continues to play with a sprained left thumb that made it difficult to control the ball in his dominant hand. Lakers coach Phil Jackson gave the team a day off, calling off today’s scheduled practice.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kobe Bryant appears in a commercial for a video game called “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” He is seen shooting a weapon with the word Mamba on it. Jimmy Kimmel is in it, too. There are a bunch of explosions and people are firing off guns left, right and center. At the end, the words “There’s a soldier in all of us” appear on the screen. It’s raised a few eyebrows around the NBA, which has a strict anti-gun policy (see: Arenas, Gilbert).
Bryant reacted with disdain when asked about the commercial tonight.
Here’s the conversation …
Reporter: “This commercial you did, this Black Ops thing …”
Bryant: “That’s some silly (stuff). Next. I guess that’s the end of the questions.”
Reporter: “I don’t mean to put a judgment on the question …”
Bryant: “That’s silly.”
Bryant: “Next question.”
Later, Bryant and the reporter talked quietly in a hallway outside the locker room.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love did not score and had only three rebounds in the first half, which helped to explain why the Lakers were leading the Minnesota Timberwolves by double-digits at halftime tonight. Then again Darko Milicic scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the first half to keep the Timberwolves close. Michael Beasley also scored 12 points for Minnesota. Kobe Bryant scored 13 and Matt Barnes had nine for the Lakers.
MINNEAPOLIS — Ron Artest said he hopes to try out for an NFL team once his playing days in the NBA are done. He said he believes he can be a tight end. He also said he might consider boxing, too. “I’m definitely going to try,” he said before tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “The worst thing that could happen is they say, ‘You suck.’” Artest laid out his plans to a pack of reporters. Lamar Odom, seated nearby, was incredulous. He asked Artest, “What are you going to do?” When Artest told him, Odom said flatly, “No, you’re not.”
MINNEAPOLIS — Keep a close watch on Lamar Odom of the Lakers and Kevin Love of the Timberwolves, a pair of power forwards who are at the top of their games to start the season. Odom is averaging 14.9 points on 58.8 percent shooting plus 10.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists despite playing with a sprained left thumb. Love, a former UCLA standout, is averaging 18.9 points, 14.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists despite playing on a last-place team. Love’s 31-point, 31-rebound game last week against the Knicks is the single best performance of the season so far. The Lakers are 10-2 and the Timberwolves are 4-9, so it shouldn’t be close. Odom and Love will keep it interesting, though.
MINNEAPOLIS — Not exactly a news flash, but Coach Phil Jackson said today the team isn’t good enough defensively to win the NBA championship without center Andrew Bynum. Here’s more from Jackson: “I don’t think so. We have to shore it up another way than just relying on size. We’ve been talking to our players about being too porous as a team.”
Asked about the importance of bringing Bynum back from knee surgery at the right pace, Jackson said: “We understand what Andrew brings to us and also we have to value his return and do it the right way. It looks to me like we’re just going to have to say we want this to be right. We want him to last for the whole season. We don’t want to rush this.”