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Pau Gasol Paces Los Angeles Lakers in Season-Saving Win Streak

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at Staples Center on February 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Hawks 104-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at Staples Center on February 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Hawks 104-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

Reports of the Los Angeles Lakers' demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

The Lakers have won five games in a row since the All-Star break – guided by the strong play of Pau Gasol.

The Spaniard has averaged 11 rebounds and nearly 17 points per game during the hot streak. Even in the loss before the Lakers took off – the embarrassing defeat to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers last month – Gasol had 30 points and 20 rebounds.

The power forward snagged 17 rebounds and poured in 12 points in Tuesday's 90-79 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After a lackluster January during which he averaged 16.8 points and fewer than 10 rebounds a game, Gasol picked it up last month, going for 20.5 points and 10.2 boards per game. The team went 9-4.

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The Lakers, who are 43-19 and lead the Pacific Division by 10 games, are chasing the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference. They visit both teams in the next two weeks.

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