This will be by far the biggest game for the champs this early season. Its not due to the actual match-up with the visiting Bulls, it's due to two BIG moments that will happen. Let me start off with Gasol's HIGHLY anticipated return. Gasol has been sidelined with a strained right hamstring and has yet to make his NBA 2009-2010 season debut. If he plays according to his average he should contribute with 19+ pts and 9+ rebs. This will severely help the Lakers. With Bynum playing great ball, averaging 20 pts with 12 rebs, the Lakers inside game should be unstoppable! What can I say, Pau is the Lakers Jerry Maguire, he completes them.
Now on to the core reason why tonight is going to be Kobe's biggest night as a Los Angeles Laker. As we all know Mr. Bryant recently scored 40 pts for his 100th time. His Lakers points total is now 24,161, leaving him 16 pts shy of surpassing the greatest center that ever played the sport, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Kareen has a whopping 24,176 points with the Lakers. Stamp it! This night will be forever in all sports history books. The legendary Jerry West is the one Laker to beat with 25,192 pts. This record will also be passed by Kobe this season leaving Kobe the greatest Laker scorer ever! Wow! That sounds fitting to me.
No, the game isn't moving in fast forward, it's just the pace this game will be in tonight. The Chicago Bulls are quick, very quick. It's a rare sight to see Derrick Rose being Chicago's speed bump, but his ankle injury is definitely slowing the team down. He's only averaging 13 pts. The Bulls are waiting for his normal contribution to become a consistent stitch. Lakers will dominate in the paint tonight. Joakim Noah can't do it all by himself and Brad Miller certainly hasn't really helped. The Bulls need muscle rather than hustle. They can run all they want but the Bulls will not be able to stop the alley-oop to Bynum or Gasol. Size does matter. Lakers will keep up with the Bulls tempo and will heavily rely on their shooters to keep them in the game.
Chicago's leading scorer is Deng averaging 17 pts with 9 rebs. Something is missing for Chicago. I'm sure they're missing Ben Gordon's ppg average @ 20+. Lakers have Deng's production average covered with Bynum, averaging 20 pts with 12 rebs. That leaves Kobe alone to have a field day. With Pau back, the starters should clock out at the end of the 3rd quarter giving the bench scrimmage time.
Lakers win 108 - 93. What makes this victory even sweeter is that the Suns lost which leaves us just a half game for the top of the division. I still can't believe we're battling Phoenix for the top spot in the Pacific. Kobe surpasses Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the Lakers 2nd all time scorer, at the free throw line. I guess, a little disappointing as I was hoping Kobe would commemorate Kareem with a skyhook when passing his record. Man, I just realized I am never satisfied! LOL, congrats to Kobe!
Click on the link for the box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports: Lakers vs Bulls