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D’Antoni again benched Gasol in final minutes. Again Gasol didn’t like it.

Dec 19, 2012, 10:20 AM EST

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol AP

The pattern at the end of the Lakers win over the Bobcats was unmistakable — Pau Gasol would sub for Dwight Howard, then a few minutes later Howard would sub for Gasol.

There’s a reason for that — lineups with both Gasol and Howard were -22. Against the Bobcats. Mike D’Antoni isn’t stupid, he saw what wasn’t working and went away from it.

But that meant someone sat late — Pau Gasol was in the game for the key hack-a-Dwight time before the final two minutes, but as has happened before this season Howard was on the floor and Gasol was on the bench in the key final minutes. This time the Lakers held on for the win.

After the game D’Antoni tried to play this off as happened because Gasol is getting back into shape following missing eight games with knee tendonitis. Sure. But Gasol was not too happy about it, as Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reported after the game on Sulia.

“When the game is on the line, I need to be on the court. That’s what I get paid to do.”

Gasol also said: “Hopefully, that won’t happen too often.”

It should happen every time the Howard and Gasol are -22 when matched up against Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo.

So far, in a very small sample size, the Lakers have struggled in Mike D’Antoni’s system when those two are on the floor together. And the Lakers have to figure it out because they can’t sit one of their best players in the final minutes of games if they are going to get near their potential.

D’Antoni said they would after the game and said they would tinker to make it work with those two on the court together. I hope there are more detailed plans in there somewhere. Because it not, this could become a bigger issue going forward.

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