Kobe and Gasol not an odd couple

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Thumbnail image for Bryant_Gasol_game.jpgIt gets played this way sometimes on the national stage — Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are battling each other for the soul of the Lakers. An epic struggle between light and darkness, like something out of Harry Potter and the Secret of the Triangle.

Except it’s not like that at all, says the Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding.

Bryant and Gasol still have a really good relationship – which I emphasized in a column less than a week before that Memphis game – and Bryant’s respect for Gasol’s basketball acumen is the reason why Gasol feels he can speak freely…

As Bryant has often noted, Gasol is really smart – in the traditional definition. That means everything is analyzed and dealt with logically, which is why Gasol shot 4 for 8 on free throws in the first half Monday night and walked straight from the locker room to the foul line at halftime to review that stroke.

When you’re a logician, you don’t mind letting someone else be the magician … but you believe unfailingly that logic trumps magic. The beauty of it for the Lakers is that Bryant believes that, too – especially when it comes to postseason play.

The article details how Bryant and Gasol are on the same page, and how their mutual respect allows them to say things to one another through the media without taking offense. Their relationship has room for that.

But don’t let this lead you to believe that everything is fine with the Lakers offense – it is not. The push and pull is still there. The Lakers run less of the triangle than they have in years and what they do run are more basic sets because Ron Artest is not yet up to full speed on the offense’s intricacies.

But do not mistake that push and pull for a problem between Bryant and Gasol.

Report: Wizards signing Ryan Hollins

Blake Griffin, Ryan Hollins
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Nene hurt his calf. Drew Gooden is banged up. Martell Webster is out for the season.

Those are three players the Wizards expected to play power forward this season.

So, Washington – which has lost four straight – will bring in another big man: Ryan Hollins.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players. They don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, which a team gets if four players have missed three straight games and will continue to be out. Only Webster and Alan Anderson definitely fit that bill. Gooden, who has missed five straight, might. But it’s unclear both how many of those absences were due to injury and when he’ll return.

So, Washington will have to waive someone to sign Hollins now. It’ll probably be Webster, whose $5,845,250 2016-17 salary is just $2.5 million guaranteed. If he’s out for the year and the Wizards plan to drop him by the summer to clear cap space, why not just do it now?

Hollins is more center than power forward and doesn’t appear to fit well with Marcin Gortat. But at this point, Washington just needs big bodies. Hollins – a nine-year veteran who plays decent interior defense, lacks offensive skill and rebounds poorly for his 7-foot frame – is at least that.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try: