It wasn’t a good night for Pau Gasol. He shot 4-of-11 from the floor, he looked uncomfortable and a step slow again, and Mike D’Antoni benched him the final six minutes of the game. (Of course, Orlando put up 31 points in those final six minutes and won the game, so feel free to second guess.)
Plus there was this — Glen Davis getting up and rejecting a Gasol dunk.
After the game Kobe Bryant said Gasol needs to put on his “big boy pants,” stop complaining and figure out how to help the team. He could have been thinking of this play when saying those things.
It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.
The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).
Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.
Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)