Gasol, Lakers cruise past BullsNov 19, 2008 - 7:21 AM By John Reger PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol scored 18 of his season-high 34 points in the first quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers soundly defeated the Chicago Bulls, 116-109, on Tuesday.
Kobe Bryant scored 21 points for the Lakers, who bounced back from their lone loss - a 106-95 defeat to the Detroit Pistons on Friday - after winning their first seven contests to start the season.
"It was important to come back after the loss," Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom said. "But we didn't think about that game. We just wanted to come out and play well tonight."
Holding a five-point lead at halftime, Los Angeles came out quickly in the second half, scoring the first seven points - including five from Bryant.
Gasol scored the team's first seven points and 14 of the first 18. He netted 24 by halftime.
"My teammates were able to find me a lot and it was running well," Gasol said. "I got some easy and open opportunities and, in the post, I was feeling pretty effective. When I put it all together, I had a pretty good first quarter."
The Lakers pushed their lead to 17 entering the fourth quarter, when they had to fend off a late rally. The Bulls cut their deficit to 10 four times within the final five minutes but could not get over the hump until it was too late - scoring the final five points of the game to provide the final margin.
After suffering the loss to the Pistons, the Lakers made sure they didn't lose to another Eastern Conference team.
"They have two 7-footers down there and they're real mobile," Bulls rookie point guard Derrick Rose said. "Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol controlled the paint and, when they went into the zone, we just couldn't hit open shots."
Chicago made it easier for Los Angeles to win, shooting 43 percent (40-of-93) for the game and committing 22 turnovers. The Lakers also had 16 steals and 11 blocks.
"We didn't have control of the game," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They jumped on us in third quarter like good teams do and took control of the tempo. They picked their defense up and we had 22 turnovers. That's not going to be good enough against a team of this caliber."
Despite Gasol's performance in the first half, the Bulls stayed with the Lakers for the first 24 minutes. There were 15 lead changes and the teams were tied eight times.
Chicago's guard tandem of Ben Gordon and the rookie Rose scored 30 the team's 56 first-half points. Gordon finished with 23 points - despite shooting 6-of-22 - and Rose added 25 and nine assists.
Bryant didn't score until 8:18 of the second quarter but poured in eight points in the quarter to help the team go on a 19-2 run and build a 17-point lead. He finished with 21 points.
The Bulls, though, cut their deficit to five at halftime, 61-56, despite shooting 45 percent in the half.
In the second half, the Lakers went on a 12-4 run for a 13-point lead to open the quarter. They extended it to 17 points on Bryant's 3-pointer with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter.
LA LAKERS 116 FINAL
Nov 19 1:04 AM
LA LAKERS 90 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 19 12:32 AM
LA LAKERS 61 HALFTIME
Nov 18 11:45 PM
LA LAKERS 30 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 18 11:09 PM
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