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Lakers look to get even with Cleveland for Christmas loss

Gasol says the Lakers 'definitely want to go and be aggressive and prove to ourselves that we're the best team out there.'

January 21, 2010

Mike Bresnahan covers the Lakers for The Times and ties up loose ends on the day of his self-designated "Lakers game of the week." The Lakers play tonight at Cleveland.

Christmas 2009.

A great day for gifts, pleasant weather and family time . . . unless you were at the Lakers game.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came to town, Pau Gasol got knocked around (by Shaq on an early layup attempt), and the Lakers got grinched, 102-87.

Gasol had 11 points, Andrew Bynum only four, Ron Artest fouled out and Lamar Odom was ejected. Lakers fans started flinging dozens of foam-finger giveaways and even a couple of water bottles onto the court at Staples Center a few minutes before the game ended.

"That was not a very nice way to spend Christmas Day," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Ya think?

This being the NBA, the Lakers get another chance against Cleveland tonight. No wonder Gasol said the Lakers "definitely want to go and be aggressive and prove to ourselves that we're the best team out there."

Tonight would be a good time to show it.

Q&A of the day

Q: This is going to sound really strange, spooky or whatever, but anyway . . . Kobe is copying all my injuries.

First the right index finger. It was the end of November when my finger popped out of its natural position when I hit it against a door. I know, not a real sports injury, but mine is also still lingering. Kobe injured his finger Dec. 11 against Minnesota.

A couple of days before Christmas, I got hit on my elbow and it's been a little sore since. Just like KB, not a serious injury but again it happened to both of us.

Now, third time's a charm . . . .not really, but for the last two weeks, I've been having back spasms. Reading about Kobe's back really got me thinking about informing Gary Vitti the next time I injure something. To make sure that he warns Kobe about it, just in case.

-- Marcel Heesakkers, The Netherlands A: Hey Marcel, the Lakers really, really want to talk to you. Something about hiring you as an "injury consultant." I heard it pays pretty well. (I'm not supposed to mention this next part, but it entails being bound by eight layers of bubble wrap and buried in Jerry Buss' basement for the next five months. Just thought I'd give you that one last detail.)

Final thought

Record in weekly picks: 8-4

I've been stumbling a bit, the Lakers putting me in a picking funk with losses to San Antonio, Phoenix and Cleveland.

Of course I knew they'd lose in Portland (who didn't?) but should I pick them again against Cleveland? OK. One . . . more . . . time.

Lose here, though, and I'll be picking the (hated) Celtics for sure on this trip.

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