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Pau Gasol back in the flow for Lakers

He shows a little rust after missing six games, but he still ends up with 20 points.

January 17, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

How now, Pau?

The Lakers forward-center returned after missing six consecutive games because of a hamstring injury and scored 20 points in the Lakers' 126-86 victory Friday over the Clippers.

Gasol showed a desire to drive to the basket, making all of his season-high 12 free throws to help offset a poor shooting night (four for 10).

"Pau obviously was a little rusty," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "I thought he hesitated to shoot a little bit. But what did he come up with, 20 points? An effective performance."

Gasol had 12 points and five rebounds in a pivotal third quarter in which the Lakers turned a three-point halftime edge into a 22-point lead going into the fourth.

"It felt good to be back and playing again and not have any pain in my hamstring," Gasol said. "After playing the first half and getting that out of the way and gaining confidence, I was able to do the little things in the second half."

He finished with six rebounds and three assists in almost 31 minutes before sitting out the fourth quarter.

Lamar on the list

Add forward Lamar Odom to the Lakers' injured and ailing.

Odom injured his hand Wednesday at Dallas, but, in good news for Lakers fans, it was his right hand. That would be his non-shooting hand. You know, the hand he never uses in a basketball game.

Just the same, Jackson said any hand injury was "always a concern."

"Basketball's a hand sport, being that you really have to have hands," he said. "And Lamar basically is a guard, so handling the ball, passing it, shooting are important to him."

Odom said his hand got caught in a jersey against the Mavericks, pulling back two of his fingers and causing swelling.

It's not serious enough to be listed on the Lakers' injury report, but it could be worse. It could be his shooting hand.

Odom wasn't as sharp Friday against the Clippers after totaling 18 points and 14 rebounds against Dallas.

He had seven points, two rebounds and two assists Friday, playing only 11 minutes because of foul trouble. He finished with four fouls.

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