L.A. Times: Pau Gasol answered the challenge for the Lakers, putting his fingerprints all over Game 7, dominating, being the force they needed to get past the pesky Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals.
Now there will be a totally different challenge for Gasol, one that could test his fortitude and could push his even-keel demeanor to the limits.
Gasol and the Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the conference finals Tuesday at Staples Center, and for Gasol, that means playing against the ever aggressive Kenyon Martin.
Martin, a 6-foot-9 forward, tries to intimidate his opponent. He’ll push, grab and trash-talk. He’ll get into the face of his opponent, looking for a weakness.
As Gasol walked down the Staples Center hallway Sunday, stopping every so often to sign autographs, to take pictures, to accept congratulations on his 21-point, 18-rebound effort against the Rockets, he answered every question about Martin’s behavior like a man not going to be intimidated at all.
“You play through it,” Gasol said. “You raise your aggressiveness level. You’ve got to try to be smart. At the same time, you’ve got to play through it.”