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Lakers wide awake at halftime. Are you?

October 15, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Steve Nash is defended by Golden State's Stephen Curry during the first half of Tuesday's exhibition game in Beijing, China.
Steve Nash is defended by Golden State's Stephen Curry during the… (ChinaFotoPress / Getty…)

BEIJING -- If you're awake and reading this blog, congratulations. Especially if you're in Southern California.

The Lakers have been up at least 10 hours and lead Golden State at halftime, 54-52, in an exhibition game Tuesday that started at 4:30 a.m. Pacific time.

Kobe Bryant wasn't playing, so fans gravitated toward another familiar name and cheered practically every touch by Pau Gasol -- even a missed three-point shot that would cause most Lakers followers to groan.

Whatever. MasterCard arena sold out briskly when tickets went on sale about a month ago, and there were few empty seats in the 18,000-seat facility that housed basketball at the 2008 Olympics.

Gasol had 14 points at halftime, Nick Young added 12 and the first quarter hadn't ended by the time fans started chanting Bryant's name.

He was in a dark suit on the bench, still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon. Whenever he was shown on the scoreboard, which happened at least six times the first half, fans cheered predictably.

The previous day, Bryant jogged for about 20 minutes in the concourse here while the Lakers practiced. It's the most he's done away from a treadmill since initially getting hurt last April. He's still a ways away from returning, neither he nor the Lakers comfortable with establishing an updated timetable.

One thing the Lakers might want to fix: interior defense. Warriors forward David Lee had 22 points against them by halftime.


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