Pau Gasol was the man on Tuesday night in the Lakers 116-109 win over Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, scoring a game high 34 points Gasol was just possessed on the offensive end of the floor.
Even though the Lakers won the game by 7 points, the Bulls threaten to come back late in the game with their 35 point effort in the fourth quarter. Derrick Rose had one of, if not the best performance of the season so far with 25 points and 9 assists. I have to admit, I was quite skeptical of Rose coming into this season. I knew the kid was special when I watched him in the NCAA tourney last year, but I wasn't convinced he was ready for the NBA. After Tuesday night's game against arguably the best team in the NBA, he has officially proved he can play at a high level in the NBA and will be one of the best players in the league in the near future.
Besides Rose, the rest of the Bulls struggled shooting the basketball all night long against the revamped Lakers defense. Ben Gordon shot 6 of 22 for 23 points and Luol Deng had a miserable night with only 9 points on 4 of 10 from the floor.
As for the Lakers, most of the squad had a great all around game. Andrew Bynum was impressive with 18 points, 9 boards and three blocked shots. The big kid seems to get better and better with every game, especially on the offensive glass and dominating the paint. I know the season has only just started, but if Bynum keeps blocking shots and being a dominant defense force for the Lakers he may be in the running for defensive player of the year.
Kobe Bryant had another solid game, but unlike the past Kobe is helping the team out with a more versatile game. Kobe still put up 21 points, but his other numbers were more impressive as he stole the ball three times, blocked two shots, dished out 6 assists and ripped down 5 boards. I think after so many years of having to shoulder the scoring load for the Lakers, Kobe finally has the teammates he needs to make a legit run at an NBA title.
Along with Kobe, Pau and Bynum, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar were also effective off the bench. Farmar is still breathing down Derek Fisher's neck for the starting job as he continues to play well off the bench. In just 19 minutes, Farmar did just about anything you could do on the floor. The UCLA alumni scored 12 points, grabbed 3 boards, dished 2 assists, stole the ball twice and blocked a shot. It is becoming more and more apparent that Farmar should be the starting point guard for the Lakers.
With everything coming together, the Lakers are without a doubt the team to beat in the West, but the true test will be on Christmas Day in the NBA Finals rematch against the Boston Celitcs.
NEXT MATCH UP: Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns Thursday, Nov. 20th 7:30pm PST