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Pau Gasol benched in latest Lakers loss, wants more touches in the post

Nov 24, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Mike D'Antoni Getty Images

The Lakers have lost two straight after winning their first with Mike D’Antoni in place on the sidelines, and in both of those games, the frontcourt combination of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol was completely shut down.

The home win over Brooklyn was solid, but the loss in Sacramento was embarrassing, and the loss in Memphis — against what is currently the league’s best team — was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was how easily teams would deal with Gasol and Howard in the paint, and be able to hold them to numbers that aren’t even acceptable for one All-Star starting big man, let alone two of them combined.

Howard has the excuse of not yet being at 100 percent, while still working his way back conditioning-wise after undergoing back surgery over the summer. With Gasol, there seems to be less room for excuses, and less patience all around.

D’Antoni benched Gasol for the entire fourth quarter in Memphis, instead sticking with Antawn Jamison, who was having his most productive game as a Laker on both ends of the floor. He said afterward he did so because he wanted to win the game, meaning obviously that what Gasol was giving him on this night would not be enough to get that accomplished.

Afterward, Gasol blamed his lack of touches in the post for his subpar performance. From Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

“All my looks are jump shots,” he said. “I would like to see something closer to the basket and not just rolling, especially when Dwight is there. But we’ll see. We’ll figure it out. We’re just starting, pretty much.”

“I’m not a pure jump-shooter,” he said. “I can stretch the defense out and make a couple jumpers. But how I get going is by getting in the paint and creating off the post, things like that.

“That’s historically how I’ve been really successful and made a really good name for myself and earned my contracts. But hopefully I’ll find a way and we’ll find a way to get me a few opportunities there and get myself going in that way and be more effective.”

Gasol would certainly benefit from getting more post-up opportunities, but he’d need to do that alongside someone not named Dwight Howard for that to happen. Maybe those touches can come when playing with Jordan Hill or Antawn Jamison at the four during stretches when Gasol gets some run as the de facto center with the second unit. Like last year playing alongside Andrew Bynum, it’s going to be difficult to play him in the post with Howard demanding that space when the two are sharing the floor.

What’s odd about Gasol’s complaint, though, is that plenty of his looks were wide open, even 17-20 feet from the basket. He’s more than a capable shooter from there, and if you look at the shot chart below from Friday night’s game, even the one shot he made on the left side of the paint came after receiving the ball near the top of the circle, and then driving to the basket to score in the game’s early minutes.

source:

Presumably, the Lakers offense will find its way once Steve Nash (and even Steve Blake) make their way back into the lineup; there’s simply too much talent there not to show some serious improvement, at least in theory.

But Gasol needs to remain engaged along the way for that to happen. On nights when he’s not getting the touches in the spots he desires, he needs to make the most of his opportunities for the Lakers to have a shot.

  1. jtchernak - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    If I didn’t know it I would think the lakers are the only team that played last night

    • qwertify - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      lakersheatbasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

  2. 91devinhester23 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    at what point do we just admit that this is a bad lakers team?

    • brutl - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      I’d say you can do that right now, but be prepared to eat your words later.
      Everybody has real short memories around here.

  3. jeff6381 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    It will not be long before Gasol become the escape goat for the Lakers horrible play. First it was Brown and next it will be Gasol. Lakers fans and management have to realize that this team is old and not healthy.

    • bangwai - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      The term is scapegoat, not escapegoat.

      Sincerely yours,
      The Grammar Police

      Hugs AND Kisses.

      lolakers

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      The term you’re looking for is “scapegoat.” No “E,” no space.

      • bangwai - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        Beat you to it.

  4. sguy2130 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    They really need to fire Mike Brown to solve all their problems…oh wait…

  5. dls612 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Gasol and d12 have the same problem as amare and carmelo! On the floor at the same time won’t work for them! If he want more touches down low then come in on the second unit!

    • chrmngblly - Nov 24, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      Correctamundo! I hope Somebody on the Lakers is listening. YES. Move Pau to the second unit as captain and center and let those guys build an identity together, i.e.: the killer B’s, etc. Pau can lead this. He can even be 6th man of the year if he guns it. Come on, put Jameson or Hill on the first unit 4 spot–or maybe Sacre. Do it.

  6. eventhorizon04 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Not really surprising.
    Pau Gasol is one of the league’s most skilled big men in the low post, both as a scorer and a passer. He’s a decent jump shooter, but no Dirk Notwitzki, so asking him to set up shop 18 feet from the basket is taking him out of his most efficient areas.

    Floor spacing was an issue in the Princeton offense under Mike Brown, and it’s an issue in D’Antoni’s system.
    Mis-casting Gasol as a jump-shot specialist is the best solution the Lakers’ past two coaches (Brown and D’Antoni) have come up with, given the current personnel. This problem won’t go away without either more creative lineups or a trade.

  7. dko83 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Gasol is soft.

  8. LPad - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Given we just saw this last year with Melo (no postups even though you destroy other SFs in the post) and Amare (you’re now a stretch 4 even though you only have range to 20 ft), and that Pau is widely acknowledged as a good teammate and not a coach killer, does the media acknowledge that D’Antoni alienates his players and fails to tweak his supposedly unique pick n roll offense? I’m guessing when Nash comes back and he tells Kobe to go stand in the corner for 40 mins a game.

  9. thekingdave - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Except for that whole part where Amare is what he is because of D’Antoni and went to NY due to his presence. But it’s all good.

    • LPad - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      actually, I think you’re missing the point. D’Antoni knew Amare wasn’t a good three point shooter but rather than adjust his system after the team acquired Chandler he tried to fit a square peg in a round hole by having Amare become a stretch four. Give it two weeks and you’ll see that D’Antoni is going to try to do the same thing to Pau.

  10. fotydaze - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Under brown and d’antoni, they have two wins ALL year. and you hear talk about figuring things out on offense all the time. Under Bernie b they had one loss ALL year and they just played basketball .hmmmmmm

  11. progress2011 - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Pau has been the Scapegoat for several years now. He is being disrespected by being benched ….especially for friggin Jamison !

    This is simply because of SELFISH guard play. kobe averages more shot attempts than Howard and Pau…COMBINED !!!

    Educated- Unselfish guards at the college level, understand big men need touches !

    Oh, that explains it….Mr. wanna-be-like Mike, never went to college to learn “FUNDAMENTALS” !

    • mytthor - Nov 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      You don’t know anything.

      You think Kobe Bryant doesn’t know the fundamentals? Please.

      He’s basically playing out of position at PG and he’s averaging over 5 assists. It’s not his game, but he’s trying to facilitate. Sometimes the other guys play crappy, and I’ll be the first to admit that he goes into hero ball mode way too quickly when that happens.

      When Nash comes back Kobe won’t be the one making that decision.

      Kobe is a scorer; when you’re a scorer, scoring isn’t selfish, it’s your job. Durant is averaging 1 less assist than Kobe; is he a selfish player?

      • progress2011 - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        myth….

        Speaking of not knowing NOTHIN …..do you know the difference between a GUARD AND A FORWARD!

        I specifically said, SELFISH guard play !

        Guards are to distribute the ball and practice the other fundamentals of orchestrating an offense.

        Durant Ma’am….is a friggin FORWARD ! Do I need to break down the primary responsibilities of a FORWARD too.

        It’s not Durants primary responsibility to be a distributor. Based on your statement, the fact that kobe is only averaging only one more assist than a Forward, only further proves my point.

        Please read before posting unfounded gibberish. Because I only thought your were not astute in the complexities of bball…now you’ve proven it.

  12. bangwai - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    THE GOAT HAS ESCAPED.

  13. lilrock9 - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    2 bigs will never work in that stupid guard offense. You need a big & a undersized PF who can shoot 3’s for this to work. Worst offense in the world, remember tony Douglas jacking up 3’s before Melo & A’maré ever touched it

  14. BigBeachBall - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Can’t believe Mike Brown’s assistant coaches are still on the payroll… Dantoni should bring his own people in…

  15. fanz928 - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Htf does gasol gets more touches than Dwight u know something is wrong

  16. prosourcetalk - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Pau, I feel your pain man. I’m always tellin my girlfriend I need more touches down low too.

    • bangwai - Nov 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      /\ Best comment all day.

    • progress2011 - Nov 25, 2012 at 6:15 AM

      Prosource,

      Ahahahahaha…..That’s Funny!

      But I hate to tell you this. But I think you need a new girlfriend !

      If you can’t get touches now, wait til you get married….you might lose your mind. ahahahah

  17. magicbucs - Nov 24, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Lmao!
    Lakers should hire STAN VAN GUNDY! he won over 60% of games in Orlando with d12 at center. Runs the pick n roll offense to perfection ;-)

    GO MAGIC!

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