Southern California just let out a sigh of relief. The Lakers are back. It's tough to call a team that was 8-3 before Thursday night a disappointment but they were definitely not playing up to expectations. They had lost two of their last three had just a plus three point differential. But Pau Gasol returned last night and magically all the Lakers' problems were fixed.
Gasol had missed the first 12 games with a hamstring injury but showed no effects of the injury last night against the Bulls. Gasol went 9 for 15 from the field for 24 points and added 13 rebounds as the Lakers easily defeated the Bulls, 108-93.
The player that benefits the most from Gasol is Kobe Bryant. Having another scoring threat takes the pressure off Kobe. Last night Bryant was off the mark shooting just 7 for 21 but he did have nine rebounds and eight assists. Those rebounds and assists are largely due to the big man in the middle. Pau is either a great target for Bryant or draws defenders allowing Kobe to head to the basket to score or rebound.
To sum it up - Bryant shot 7 for 21 but the Lakers STILL won by 15 points. That's what Pau Gasol does the Lakers.Lakers next play Sunday night at home against the Thunder.