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Lakers' Pau Gasol wants to keep playing down the stretch

He doesn't want to sit out any games despite the team's clinching best record in the West with a victory over the Timberwolves on Friday night.

April 10, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Minneapolis -- There's one starter on the Lakers who doesn't want any rest.

Pau Gasol continues to play down the stretch, even shooing away Coach Phil Jackson's offer to sit out a game or two over the final days of the regular season.

Gasol looked sharp Friday in the Lakers' otherwise humdrum 97-88 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, collecting 29 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.

"I want to keep playing," he said. "That's just my way of feeling better going into playoffs. I think we have two or three days probably between the last game of the [regular] season and before the playoffs. That's plenty of rest for me."

Gasol made 11 of 17 shots and was seven of eight from the free-throw line against the Timberwolves, who have the league's second-worst record.

He also sustained a scare in the second quarter when Timberwolves center Ryan Hollins dived on top of him while pursuing a loose ball. Gasol stayed down for about a minute after his head hit the court.

"I was dizzy for a while, but it kind of went away," said Gasol, who kept playing. "I didn't see any stars, but I was a little light-headed."

Kobe Bryant sat out his second consecutive game because of swelling in his right knee. Andrew Bynum missed his 10th consecutive game because of a strained left Achilles' tendon. Both players are expected back in time for the playoffs.

For real?

The Lakers reserves outscored those of the Timberwolves, 33-25, a rarity in recent weeks for a team that hasn't had much bench support lately.

Jordan Farmar had 13 points, DJ Mbenga had a season-high 11 points and Sasha Vujacic had seven points.

The reserves were given heavy minutes on a night where Gasol played only 34 and Derek Fisher played a little less than 20 minutes.

Farmar played 28 minutes, Josh Powell played 19 and Luke Walton played almost 19 minutes.

"Some of them played OK," Jackson said. "I thought the first half, they played pretty well. The second half, I wasn't as pleased."

Mbenga might get more playing time, perhaps even alongside Gasol in more situations, Jackson said.

The reserve center made five of seven shots and also blocked two shots in almost 14 minutes.

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