LAS VEGAS--Pau Gasol passed the ball inside to Chris Kaman, who deftly put up a one-handed layup. On the next possession, Gasol tipped in a shot. With three minutes left in the first quarter Thursday, the two had combined for 14 of the Lakers' first 21 points.
They also accounted for six rebounds and three assists before they both took a breather in the first quarter of an eventual 104-86 exhibition loss to Sacramento at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Gasol (13 points, 5 rebounds) and Kaman (12 points, 6 rebounds) have quickly become basketball's newest twin tower tandem. They are in sync on the court, playing off each other and to each other's strengths. And they do it without the drama that infected last season's post game.
Last season, Gasol was unhappy having to play largely on the perimeter while Dwight Howard occupied the paint. The lack of flexibility in Howard's game led to Coach Mike D'Antoni sitting Gasol for the start of games.
Now that Howard is gone, harmony exists in part to Gasol's selfless play and Kaman's unassuming personality.
"Pau makes it easy for everybody because he's such a good passer," Kaman said. "He's not looking to score all the time, so he's thinking about other people."
Kaman, who has played against Gasol for 10 years, said the Spaniard doesn't exhibit much ego, if any. It's not his style, Kaman said.
"I think that's why he's had so much success because he's willing to accept a smaller role like when Dwight was here and (Andrew) Bynum was here," Kaman said. "It doesn't bother him because he knows he can still help this team win at any cost -- if he has to pass or has to shoot or post up.
"He understands, he gets it. He knows."
Point guard Steve Nash left the game in the first quarter because of a sore left ankle that has been bothering him since before the exhibition games began.
"I couldn't really get it that loose in the warmups," he said. "I couldn't get it loosened up and it started to get worse."
Nash said he thinks his foot was in an awkward position when he continued to sprint down the court during a summer workout. He woke up the next morning and it was "really sore."
"It's persisted since," he said.
The Lakers flew from Ontario to Las Vegas and immediately attended a team function with season-ticket holders. On Thursday, they faced Sacramento, hours before taking off for China.
The Lakers travel to Beijing and Shanghai for two more preseason games against Golden State and a host of NBA-brand building events. D'Antoni said the long trip shouldn't disrupt the team's progress outside of a bad case of jet lag.
No brotherly love
It's not often Lakers guard Marcus Landry gets the chance to play against his brother Carl, a forward with Sacramento. In fact, they have only played twice on courts other than their driveway.
The Landrys squared off in college, when Marcus was at Wisconsin and Carl was at Purdue. Marcus' Badgers won that game. The brothers met again two years ago during Marcus' rookie season with the New York Knicks. Carl, then with the Houston Rockets, won that time.
"I wait for these moments," Marcus said. "He'll never play me in the summer so I wait for these moments to be on the court together. It's definitely special."
The preseason game between the Lakers and Kings on Thursday was going to be their third meeting, a chance for one of them to gain an advantage. But the sibling rivalry was put on hold when Carl stayed behind because of a strained hip flexor.
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