L.A. Times: Gasol never has been known for his defense, for being a stopper, for being something other than a skilled offensive player.

But there Gasol was Tuesday night, grinding it out against Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, putting the clamps on the Mavericks’ All-Star forward during the Lakers’ 106-99 victory over the Mavericks.

“Definitely, defense was a big challenge tonight for me, to be able to step out and make it tough for him and I think I was pretty successful,” Gasol said. “It’s a big key when you stop Dirk on their team.”

It was Gasol’s job to contain his counterpart at power forward, and he did.

Nowitzki finished with 14 points, but he missed 12 of his 17 shots. Gasol had a lot to do with that.

Nowitzki was one for nine in the second half, his last basket coming with 10:14 left in the third quarter. He missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter. Gasol played a major role in that happening.

“Pau is really a great player, both at center and power forward,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “He was a good matchup for us tonight. Dirk’s a great shooter and we were able to contain him at least somewhat, and Pau had a big hand in doing that.”

At 7 feet, Gasol has the length to bother his man.

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