The Los Angeles Lakers are on the road for their annual Christmas Day game for the first time since the '06-07 season, spending the holidays with Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers are coming off a stunning victory over the Golden State Warriors -- sans Kobe Bryant -- and will try to carry that momentum with the Black Mamba back on the floor.
Gasol's taken on a huge workload as well, averaging the same amount of minutes per game (35.4) as Kobe. The move to Chicago has worked out as expected for Pau. The Bulls' offense is better with him on the floor, while their defense is worse when he's playing. He gives the Bulls a great offensive option in the low-post, which is exactly what Chicago's needed for years, but his feet can only move so fast at this point in his career. As for his scoring, his shot chart looks pretty familiar:
Many missed mid-range jumpers, a higher efficiency around the rim and in the paint, but a heavy reliance on those 15-footers. It's like Pau never left.
Derrick Rose has enjoyed a great comeback season, turning it into overdrive in recent games as he closed out both the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards, and should have no trouble treating Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin like a yo-yo on his finger.
But hey, on the bright side, what do we even know about these Lakers? They played lights out against the Warriors and enjoyed a 20-point lead through a large portion of the game. If you turn the other cheek and ignore the 16-0 run the Warriors' third unit went on, that was a wild and crazy win. Maybe they'll come out and dish out another Christmas gift for fans.
Either way, Silver Screen & Roll hopes everyone is having a great holiday. Enjoy the game!
Time: 5 p.m. PT