Los Angeles Lakers Gasol drives on Dallas Mavericks Murphy during their NBA game in Dallas

Pau Gasol playing through knee tendinitis


Pau Gasol found himself on the bench for the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss to the Grizzlies, thanks to a lethargic and uninspired effort that was evident to anyone who was watching. He complained about his lack of post touches afterward, and talked about how getting those touches would help him get into a rhythm where he’d be able to be more productive.

Gasol got those touches in Saturday’s destruction of the Mavericks, and indeed looked to be more energetic and engaged during his 13-point, nine-rebound performance. But if there are nights when Gasol doesn’t seem to be himself moving forward, we now know the reason may be due to something other than pouting over where he receives the ball.

From Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:

Gasol was very active in the first quarter. He drilled a mid-range jumper, scored down low and hit a running left-handed hook shot over Chris Kaman.

He also had a revelation after the game. He has been battling knee tendinitis for over a month.

“It’s something that has been lingering since this preseason. I’ve been dealing with it the best I can,” he said.

The good news is that Gasol hasn’t missed practice or game time with the condition, so at this point, it isn’t too much of a cause for concern. What will help is keeping his minutes down, which is obviously much easier to do if the Lakers are rolling their opponents as they did Saturday night in Dallas.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.