Caught in the Web: Lakers' Empire State of mind
The play on the court may not have been pretty, but the atmosphere that surrounded the game certainly made it worthwhile.
The Lakers bounced back from Thursday's loss to Cleveland with a 115-105 victory over the New York Knicks a day later. Lakers forward Pau Gasol, in particular, partially redeemed himself for the underachieving performance against Cleveland. Even if Kobe Bryant's shooting woes continued, his fourth-quarter resurgence at least illustrated, for better or worse, his refusal to fold under adversity.
It wasn't exactly the same theatrics Bryant provided a year ago when he dropped a Madison Square Garden record of 61 points, but the NYC atmosphere shows that "these streets will make you feel brand new; the lights will inspire you."
And thankfully, Gasol's resurgence of 20 points came at the right time. Through Wasserman Media Group, Gasol pledged to donate $1,000 for every point he scored through Haiti relief efforts organized by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
With Gasol donating $20,000 for last night's performance, Lakers backup guard Jordan Farmar also donated an undisclosed amount, an effort that involved a total of 47 NBA players through the sports agency. It's an effort ESPN's J.A. Adande says illustrated "the best side of the NBA."
So even if the Lakers still have plenty of issues to iron out, the game still made for a memorable night.
More Lakers links (after the jump)
-- A day after Bryant criticized the Lakers' toughness in the team's 93-87 loss to Cleveland, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and forward Lamar Odom told The Times' Mike Bresnahan that the toughness issue was overstated.
-- Even with Clippers center Chris Kaman saying All-Star bids shouldn't go to Gasol (he missed 17 games) and Bynum (Kaman says he's better), Gasol and Bynum told the Riverside Press-Enterprise's Jeff Eisenberg that they're not going to campaign for the positions.
-- Would the Lakers have been better off if Andrew Bynum replaced Marc Gasol as part of the trade to the Memphis Grizzlies two years ago for Pau Gasol? That's the question a reader poses to The Times' Broderick Turner. Though the numbers between Bynum and Gasol are similar, Turner notes the Lakers believe in Bynum's upside.
-- Here's news that's not exactly breaking: There are many Lakers fans. The Lakers will play on NBA TV on Tuesday against the Washington Wizards, marking the fifth time out of 13 weeks the team has played on the network's Fan Night broadcast every Tuesday.
Tweet of the Day: "Team plane is about to take off for Canada, which makes me wonder which Laker would be the best hockey player. Hmm." ... "Votes were split between Walton & Artest; I'll have to ask if they've ever played hockey. But I'll go w/pre-haircut Sasha." -- LakersReporter (Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell)
-- Mark Medina
Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol forces the Knicks' David Lee to pass during a drive in the first quarter Friday night. Credit: Kathy Kmonicek / Associated Press