By JEFF EISENBERG
EL SEGUNDO - Exhausted from a grueling stretch of nine games in 15 days, the Lakers took advantage of a rare day off on Wednesday to rest and recuperate.
Lamar Odom spent his free time relaxing at home. Kobe Bryant played with his daughters. And Pau Gasol ate lunch with his brother and father in Santa Monica before attending a ceremony in Beverly Hills where he was named ambassador for Cava, a sparkling wine produced in Spain.
Each returned to practice Thursday refreshed and ready to host struggling Minnesota tonight before embarking on a daunting three-game trip to Portland, Houston and San Antonio.
"The rest was a beautiful, beautiful thing," Gasol said. "After a tight schedule, to be able to give your body a little rest and to get back to work the next day with a lot more energy, your body just reacts differently after a little break."
Fatigue had been a source of concern during the Lakers' recent road trip, when weary legs and a lack of intensity and hustle contributed to back-to-back losses at Denver and Phoenix.