Mar 8, 2010, 8:53 AM EDT
Maybe he should start LetGasolShoot.com. That seems to work.
Kobe Bryant was relatively pleased after the Lakers loss to Orlando, saying that after a couple of sloppy efforts the Lakers really turned it on in this one and were just a couple of breaks away from the win.
Of course he thought that — he took all the shots down the stretch (too many with his toe on the line). As he did in Miami on Thursday. When the game gets close, the Lakers go into isolation for Kobe mode and a triangle just becomes something they try to teach kids about on Sesame Street.
Pau Gasol’s pretty sick of it. He wants the damn ball.
“We haven’t been playing with a good flow out there offensively and it takes a lot of people out of their rhythm,” Gasol said. “We need to figure out how to move the ball a lot more so there’s a flow out there, there’s a rhythm.”
When Gasol was pointedly asked if the offense was being bogged down by how many shots Bryant has been attempting. He answered, “I don’t know” at first, but then made the point…
“Kobe’s a great player,” Gasol said. “We have to find balance as a team, as a unit out there. Kobe’s a great player and he’s probably the best offensive player out there. We understand that … But at the same time, we need to find that balance and we need to find balance with our interior game developing, it a little more and using it a little more and moving the ball and changing sides more because, that’s the triangle, that’s what it does … We need to get focused on that a little more. To find that balance, to find that flow.”
Maybe you were expecting Drill Sergeant like yelling and frustration. Not going to happen. You need to be around the mild mannered, thoughtful Gasol for a while to know that is him pretty much yelling. And he knows he has to be careful about speaking out against Kobe on the Lakers, this is still his team. Messing with Kobe rarely ends well.
But Gasol has a point — Bryant took 16 shots in the fourth quarter against Orlando, Gasol just four. And three of those four came on putbacks off offensive rebounds.
Kobe Bryant is the best closer in the NBA, despite that fact the Lakers become easier to defend down the stretch of games because of all the isolation. When the Lakers did run plays, it was to get Kobe the ball coming off screens. There becomes little variety to what the Lakers do late, they just have the talent to get away with it.
There’s a myriad of issues slowing the Lakers offense down (Orlando’s defense was one of them) like not running the offense properly, not spacing the floor well, being able to get passes into the post, not cutting and moving without the ball, not hitting outside shots so that defenses can collapse on Gasol and Andrew Bynum. To name a few.
Getting Gasol some crunch-time touches doesn’t solve all of these issues. But it’s a start.
- Eastern Conference Finals preview: Pacers vs. Heat 2
- Clippers let go of Vinny Del Negro as coach 19
- Durant donates $1 million to Oklahoma City tornado disaster relief efforts 12
- Odds for the NBA Draft Lottery (that teams don’t care if they win) 11
- Jim Boeheim says Knicks problem is not Carmelo, it’s everyone else 8
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets (121)
- Knicks predictably drop Game 4 to Pacers, fall behind 3-1 (93)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (88)
- Alonzo Mourning says Scottie Pippen says LeBron would “kick Jordan’s ass” (75)
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose (67)
- Durant pledges $1 million for tornado victims
- Golden Super Bowl to Bay Area; LI to Houston
- PBT: Grizzlies aim to stem Spurs' momentum
- CSN: Tiger admits he and Sergio don't get along
- HBT: Yankees buying share of expansion MLS team
- PHT: Kings searching for killer instinct in Game 4
- PFT: Romo out of OTAs after back surgery