Pau Gasol Keeps LA Lakers Within Striking Distance of Western Conference Pack

Pau Gasol's long been one to lend a hand to those in need.

For years, the sinewy Spaniard has served as an ambassador for UNICEF, doing his best to lift up strife-stricken communities in the farthest corners of planet Earth. On Wednesday, Gasol announced that he'd be reaching out to those in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan:

Naturally, then, Gasol put together his best game of the 2013-14 campaign on Friday. He tallied a season-high 24 points (on 11-of-19 shooting) with 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in 39 minutes to carry the Los Angeles Lakers to a 102-95 win over the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center.

As a result, Gasol will be reaching into his (deep) pockets to donate $24,000 to the typhoon recovery, in addition to the thousands more that've thus far been contributed to his fundraiser. Even Stephen Curry's concussion-related absence and Andre Iguodala's midgame exit with a hamstring injury couldn't take away from the Lakers' big home win, much less Gasol's superb and supportive effort.

Not entirely, anyway. The Warriors offense struggled to find any sort of rhythm without Curry knocking down threes and dropping dimes, and fell into even greater disarray once Iguodala, Golden State's de facto point guard with Curry and Toney Douglas both sidelined, left for the locker room.

But the Warriors' front court of Andrew Bogut and David Lee was still intact, and it was against them that Gasol made his hay. The three-time All-Star (and impending free agent) was firing from all over the floor. Three of his makes came within four feet of the basket, though the majority of his points were scored on jump shots launched either directly out of the pick-and-pop or as an outlet on Jordan Hill-centric pick-and-rolls.

That pattern of usage may not be the most satisfying for those (including Pau) who've pined for him to return to the lo...

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