L.A. Times: Three weeks ago, the Lakers left town with a gaping hole in their lineup and gnawing doubts about their short-term future.
Nine games and one astonishing trade later, they returned to Staples Center on Tuesday with a 7-foot souvenir named Pau Gasol and an air of invincibility.
Gasol, stolen from Memphis on Feb. 1, made his Los Angeles debut a night to remember.
Greeted with a roar during the pregame introductions and saluted during timeouts by fans waving the red and yellow flag of his native Spain, Gasol applied an emphatic flourish to the can-you-top-this trades that have made the Western Conference scaringly good.
Gasol scored 23 points in the Lakers’ 122-93 destruction of the Atlanta Hawks, escalating the playoff-level buzz that electrified the building before he put on a home jersey for the first time.
“Once I jump out on the floor I let things flow and I’ve got the concept of the offense more or less,” said Gasol, who also had six rebounds and two assists. “I’m still working on details and options and wrinkles here and there.”