Lakers Gameday | 10/18/08 | Lakers 108 vs FC Barcelona 104 - Preseason Game 4
Lakers beat Gasol's old team 108-104
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant scored 28 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat FC Barcelona, Pau Gasol's old team, 108-104 on Saturday night in an exhibition game.
Gasol, who was born in Barcelona and lives there during the offseason, spent five years with the team he helped beat at Staples Center. He finished with 13 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes.
Juan Carlos Navarro, the only member of FC Barcelona who played for Spain at the Beijing Olympics, scored 34 points in 41 minutes. As per the custom at games between teams from different countries, the Lakers and the Barcelona players exchanged gifts moments before the player introductions.
The U.S. Olympic team beat Spain 118-107 in the gold medal game despite 21 points from Gasol and 18 from Navarro. Bryant was on the U.S. team that brought back America's first Olympic basketball championship since 2000.
Gasol and Navarro also were teammates with the Memphis Grizzlies last season before Gasol was traded to the Lakers on Feb. 1 in a multiplayer deal that sent Kwame Brown to Memphis. Navarro is one of four players on this FC Barcelona squad with NBA experience, along with Andre Barrett, Daniel Santiago and Ersan Ilyasova.
The Lakers were the fourth NBA team FC Barcelona has played against, and the first on American soil. They lost to Denver by 34 points in the 1989 McDonald's Championship at Rome, lost to the Grizzlies by nine points in October 2003, and beat Philadelphia 104-99 in October 2006. They also played a team of NBA All-Stars to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their team, and lost.
The Lakers took the lead for good early in the first quarter, building their margin to 40-19 with an 11-0 run capped by Chris Mihm's two free throws with 7:56 left in the second quarter. Barcelona stormed back with a 23-3 burst, slicing the deficit to 43-42 on David Andersen's 21-footer with 1:47 left in the half.
The defending Western Conference champions converted 20 Barcelona turnovers into 35 points through the first three quarters, and the visitors couldn't recover. Bryant scored 12 points in the third, going to the bench with 1:38 left in the quarter and the Lakers ahead 79-67. The reigning NBA MVP was 10-for-14 from the field in 27 minutes.
Jordan Farmar, Trevor Ariza and DJ Mbenga helped keep Barcelona at bay despite a 17-point fourth quarter by Navarro. Navarro's 3-pointer cut the margin to 101-94 with 1:16 to play, and the visitors got as close as four after Navarro made one of two free throws with 46 seconds left. But Mihm responded with a clutch three-point play to help secure the win.
FC Barcelona - LAKERS PREVIEW
by Mike Trudell, Lakers.com
Among the best clubs in one of Europe’s best leagues (Spain’s Liga ACB), Regal FC Barcelona is set to take on the Lakers at 7:30 p.m. at STAPLES Center in the first of five games in seven days for L.A.
While Barcelona promises to provide a good challenge with its efficient, solid-shooting team, earning a Laker win is less important than continuing to build on a solid week of practice.
“Right now we’re concentrating on trying to get our stuff together,” said assistant coach Brian Shaw. “Whatever opponent we have to play we’ll adjust to.”
Featuring Spanish National Team star, former Memphis Grizzly and Pau Gasol’s best friend Juan Carlos Navarro, the Spanish side lost in the ACB Super Cup semis to another solid club - TAU Ceramica - with whom it is currently tied atop the new season’s standings.
Here’s what Barcelona’s website had to say about Navarro:
“Extremely talented offensive player who impresses fans with his remarkable scoring prowess. His rapid three-pointer shots and speed on approaching the hoop have brought him the nickname the Bomba, given to him by Coach Agustí Cuesta when he managed the junior side. One of Juan Carlos Navarro’s main virtues is his ability to decide when, how, where and with who he wants to play at any given time. This, combined with great technical skills and rapid execution, has made him into one of Europe’s top players.”
Silky writing aside, no one knows Navarro’s skill level better than Gasol, who said Juan Carlos was always the better player as they grew up in Barcelona’s club together … At least for three years or so, when Gasol leapt past everybody. Shaw said that the Lakers wouldn’t talk about Barcelona too much until shootaround on Saturday morning, and that he expected Gasol to do much of the talking about player tendencies and the like.
Shaw added that the Lakers coaches would like to see “better communication defensively” particularly on the pick and roll, and that they’d have to execute against some expected zone defense employed by the Spanish club.
Regal FC Barcelona does have some other players whom you may remember, such as former Seton Hall star Andre Barret, a quick, skilled point guard from the Bronx who played for the Clippers, Rockets and Magic.
At first surprising is that the Spanish giants have just four players from Spain, in addition to one player each from Italy, the U.S., Czech Republic, Slovenia, Australia, Turkey and Puerto Rico. Talk about the United Nations…Make sure to check Lakers.com for live updates throughout the game.
LAKERS vs. SHOOTOUT OPPONENTS