Lakers need to take a hint when it involves Gasol
Posted March 18, 2009 - 03:36 AM
He's not the kind of guy who will complain.
Not even in Memphis when the Grizzlies seemed intent on squandering some of his most productive years, would Pau Gasol openly criticize a teammate or his organization.
He's a good teammate, selfless and professional, all those great things fans say they want from their superstars but then vent about later because there's nothing juicy to talk about on sports radio.
The furthest the serenely talented Spaniard will ever come to complaining is an acknowledgement of polite frustration after game like Sunday, where he went 10 for 10 from the field in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks but got only three shots in the second half as the Mavericks went to a zone defense that caused the Lakers to blow a big lead, before they pulled out the win.
Then he'll hint. Politely.
Passively, so as not to ruffle any feathers on what has become one of the most harmonious teams in the NBA.
"If we would've lost the game I would've been a lot more vocal about it," he said Monday after a practice in which the Lakers worked extensively on their offense against a zone defense.
"When you get away from what's working and being effective, it doesn't make a lot of sense, right?"
But deep down, sometimes he wonders whether holding his tongue is a good thing.
"If that happens in the playoffs, and we lose a game because of it, that's huge," he said. "We can't afford those kind of breakdowns and struggles.
"But it's a delicate subject obviously, and it's not my personality to step on anybody's toes."
Sunday was not the first time this season Gasol has had a great first half and then been ignored by his teammates afterwards.
Some of that is opponents making adjustments at halftime and trying to get the ball out of his hot hands, but some of it is due to selfish play and a lack of focus from his teammates.
It rarely gets mentioned outside of a little post-game frustration because the Lakers still win most of those games and Gasol isn't the kind of guy who is going to bring up individual issues after a victory.
Should he, though?
When a teammate makes a lazy pass or poor defensive rotation, Kobe Bryant doesn't even wait until the next timeout to voice his displeasure.
Of course, he's Kobe Bryant, who is and rightly should be the center of the Lakers universe. He's earned that right and seems to have learned how to judiciously use it.
When asked about the Lakers' inability to keep Gasol involved in Sunday's game, Bryant tried to diffuse the situation.
"You don't want to force it," Bryant said. "So if the defense tries to take it away, we have enough weapons here we'll make them pay."
The Lakers have two home games this week - tonight against Philadelphia and Thursday against Golden State - before leaving on a seven-game, 12-day road trip.
When they come back after a game in Milwaukee on April 1, there will be less than two weeks of the regular season left.
All of which means that the Lakers have about three solid weeks of time to spend fine-tuning their play and resolving troubling patterns like the sudden-onset second-half amnesia regarding Gasol, while the rest of the country watches the NCAA Tournament.
Then every issue, every lesson they've learned since last June's humiliating Game 6 loss to the Boston Celtics and have been sublimating ever since, will be become immediately relevant again.
Like college basketball, the NBA has largely become a playoff-driven sport, where 60 percent of the country only starts paying attention when the games suddenly matter a whole lot.
One way or another, the Lakers need to figure out how to keep their All-Star forward involved in every game, all game.
Gasol likely won't speak up through the media. It has never been his style.
But inside that locker room, the issue needs a bit more treatment than the deodorant applied after a fresh win.
"I'm just trying to win," he said. "If a guy has a great shooting night you've got to stay with that until he starts missing.
"That's something as a group, as a team, and the coaching staff has to recognize."
He's not going to complain. But the Lakers need to take a hint.
Posted March 18, 2009 - 04:10 AM
Posted March 18, 2009 - 04:14 PM
•"The ideal way to win a championship is step by step."
Posted March 18, 2009 - 04:34 PM
if our role players aren't doing that then thats on them
yes kobe should defer to the post now and then but how about the role players continue tossin it into gasol rather than holding it for 14 seconds and then throwing it to kobe or inside to gasol with like 9 seconds left
Posted March 18, 2009 - 06:11 PM
"The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure.
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences,
and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon,
for each day to have a new and different sun."
Posted March 18, 2009 - 06:55 PM
Pau should be getting at least 15-17/game.
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