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Pau Gasol wants the damn ball

Mar 8, 2010, 8:53 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Gasol_game.jpgMaybe 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.

  1. stingray50 - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Who’s going to beat the lakers/refs
    maybe a game here or there but not in a 7 game series
    If Orlando didn’t play as physical as they did Magic would have been blown out.
    I was very disturbed when Nelson(Magic player) patted Fisher(Laker) after Fisher charged at Matt Barnes . What kind of team mate is that? I say trade him! No loyalty!!!

  2. stingray50 - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Who’s going to beat the lakers/refs
    maybe a game here or there but not in a 7 game series
    If Orlando didn’t play as physical as they did Magic would have been blown out.
    I was very disturbed when Nelson(Magic player) patted Fisher(Laker) after Fisher charged at Matt Barnes . What kind of team mate is that? I say trade him! No loyalty!!!

  3. Tman - Mar 9, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Jordan, Iverson, and Kobe are all ballhogs, not fun to watch. Long live Magic and Lebron!

  4. PistonsFan - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    20 and 11 with 2 blocks is “disappearing”? In what universe?!?
    If that’s a disappearing act, I’d love to have him on Detroit. We could use 4 of him.

  5. bukey - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:45 AM

    How dumb are you ? Only Wilt and Mj have have more 40 point games than Kobe. Amare has one more 40 point 10 rebound game than kobe since 2003. Stop catching the end of Sportscenter demographics and trying to assume you’re some student of the game…Idiot.

  6. Anonymous - Mar 11, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    MTD you’re a moron. Kobe’s top 4 of all time.

  7. coachal - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    I think you need to re-read my comment and then your comment. You make yourself look ignorant. lol. I said that Kobe could probably make the list and then I read off a list off definite top players. For you to trash Wilt, Baylor and Worthy (third option what?) shows your ignorance of the Lakers in itself. And I said there could be an argument that Kobe would probably make the top 5 of the Lakers. Not that he wouldn’t.
    Probably your most ignorant comment was saying that Baylor played at a time when players weren’t nearly as talented as they are now. DUH! The only ones who played in this era are the ones now playing in this era! Does that make sense? Exactly, about as much sense as what you said to trash Baylor. Let me break it down to you. Baylor was as good as you could be at the time ya dummy. He was an 11-time all star. His 38.3 points per game average during one season is the 4th highest ALL time. Kobe’s best season falls at 9th. WTH?
    Don’t let me start spouting Wilt’s stats! It would fill this page! For you to take a crack at Worthy’s worth proves you’re not a Lakers fan. Big Game James could easily be top 5. And so what if West was selfish? Was I ranking top 5 selfish players? Or top 5 Lakers players. If it was the first, then you’re right Kobe would definitely be in the top 5.
    p.s. not to break from the forum, Gasol needs the ball more if the Lakers want to win another title.

  8. Rick Hudnett - Apr 1, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Pau Gasol is averaging 17.6 PPG

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