Pau Gasol and Nick Young did a remarkable job keeping the Los Angeles Lakers together without their two injured stars.
The Golden State Warriors had better take notes, because their injury problems just got worse.
Gasol had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Young scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half, and the Lakers took advantage of Stephen Curry’s absence for a 102-95 victory over Golden State on Friday night.
Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake scored 14 points apiece as Los Angeles returned from four days off to win consecutive games for the first time all season.
Jordan Hill added 10 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers clicked even without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, hitting 11 3-pointers and outworking the prolific Warriors down the stretch. Los Angeles calmly maintained a big lead throughout the fourth quarter of its 11th straight home win over its upstate rival since March 2008.
”We’re finally finding some consistency,” Gasol said. ”We’re finally putting good efforts mentally and physically together.”
Gasol had a big offensive game at an opportune time: The Spanish 7-footer pledged $1,000 for every point he scored against the Warriors to UNICEF disaster relief in the Philippines.
Gasol acknowledged thinking about his pledge with every basket, and he began the evening with another concern after hearing news of his brother Marc’s sprained left knee in Memphis.
”I had too many things on my mind,” Gasol said. ”I definitely had that motivation of scoring tonight for the Philippines. Once I started knocking down those outside shots, it opened things up for me.”
David Lee had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Harrison Barnes scored 20 points in the Warriors’ second straight loss without Curry, who missed both games with a concussion.
Golden State then lost Andre Iguodala, who replaced Curry as the Warriors’ point guard. Iguodala had six points and six assists before limping to the locker room in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury.
”Once I heard a pop, I knew it was serious,” Iguodala said. ”This one kind of worries me a little bit. I’ll take it serious, I’m sure. … I’m not even walking right now, so we’re going to have an MRI (on Saturday).”
Klay Thompson scored just two of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Golden State, which struggled to find an offensive flow in Curry’s absence. Barnes made his third start of the season in Curry’s absence, with Iguodala moving over to be Golden State’s offensive playmaker. Andrew Bogut added 12 points and 13 rebounds.
”We had enough to get it done, and we did not get it done,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. ”We’re a no-excuse basketball team, and it’s just disappointing right now. We cannot walk away with a good taste with how we played and the effort we put forth.”
Curry banged his head on the court Monday at Utah, forcing him out of Wednesday’s game against Memphis and this one.
The Lakers know all about injury absences: Bryant still hasn’t played since tearing his Achilles tendon during Golden State’s last visit to Staples Center in April, while Nash is out for at least another week with nerve root irritation.
While Young’s second-half offensive burst propelled his team, the Lakers also had one of their better defensive games of the young season, holding the Warriors well under the 103.8 points-per-game average put up by Los Angeles’ opponents so far this season.
”The biggest thing for me is everyone is accepting of the guy in front of him or beside him,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”Everyone is rooting for everyone, and we just didn’t have that last year. Obviously we are not as talented, but it’s a lot better team.”
Bryant returned to practice with his teammates this week, but wasn’t quite ready to begin his 18th NBA season against the team he was facing when his 17th ended.
The Lakers took their first lead on Farmar’s 3-pointer right before the first-quarter buzzer, and they stretched the advantage to 55-46 at halftime with a late 13-5 run. Gasol was effective inside and out while scoring 16 points, and Blake hit two of the Lakers’ five 3-pointers.
Los Angeles then scored the final 12 points of the third quarter after Golden State tied it, with Young hitting a pirouette 3-pointer to cap the rally. The Lakers held the Warriors without a point for more than five minutes, eventually going up 80-65 early in the fourth.
NOTES: Lakers C Chris Kaman sat out with a sore back. Warriors C Jermaine O’Neal sat out with a bruised knee. … Serbian rookie Nemanja Nedovic got a bit of playing time in the first half with Curry sidelined, but committed two fouls in his first 17 seconds in the game. … Former Minneapolis Lakers forward Vern Mikkelsen died Thursday at 85. Mikkelsen’s name tops a banner at Staples Center honoring Hall of Fame members from the franchise’s years in Minnesota.