for this game

Gasol, Odom shine as Lakers race past Clippers

Feb 24, 2008 - 7:27 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - With the Los Angeles Clippers' big man sidelined, Pau Gasol got little resistance in and around the paint.

Gasol scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half to lead the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers to a 113-95 victory over the Clippers on Saturday night.

With the win, the Lakers (38-17) are tied with Phoenix for the Western Conference lead.

"Obviously, we're in great situation" Gasol said. "We are playing well, we've got confidence, we've got the weapons and we're just going out and doing our job."

Lamar Odom had 20 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double in nine games and All-Star Kobe Bryant netted 17 points as the Lakers registered their a season high-tying seventh win in a row.

"We expect to win the games we are in - whether we play bad or play well, we got a confident group of guys," Odom said.

Gasol connected on 7-of-12 shots and made 9-of-11 free throws to go along with six assists.

Since the addition of Gasol to the lineup, the Lakers improved to 8-1 with their lone lose coming in his second game against Atlanta.

"I guess it was a good fit for the team," Gasol said. "I adjusted pretty well and I'm in positions where I am comfortable and can be very effective. I'm out there and know how to play the game, so that makes things easier for me."

Gasol had his way with the Clippers, who were without leading rebounder and fellow 7-footer Chris Kaman (back).

"Without Kaman playing Gasol, for the most part, Gasol had a walk in the park," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Usually we'd being going to Kaman to take something out of (Gasol) on the defensive end of the floor, whereas that wasn't the case. We certainly missed Kaman's shot-blocking ability in that regard as well."

Despite the absence, the Clippers stayed close throughout the second quarter, getting within two points on a pair of free throws by Tim Thomas. But the Laker would close out the quarter on 9-3 run to forge a 56-48 lead at halftime.

The Lakers continued that surge in the second half, running out to a 21-point lead midway through the third as they opened the with an aggressive 28-14 run behind Derek Fisher, who hit three 3-pointers. Gasol capped the run with a dunk to give the Lakers an 84-62 bulge.

"I liked the way we picked apart some of the Clippers' defenses, particularly in the third quarter," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We didn't settle for the outside shots, we found guys open under the basket. We used penetration first and that is important."

Corey Maggette scored 22 points and Thomas chipped in 20 for the Clippers, who went just 1-of-14 from the arc.

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