Pau Gasol is not soft. He is tired.
That is what former Laker assistant and current Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis sees, and what he told Dan Bareirro on KFAN in Minneapolis. Gasol looked good in the first two games when he was getting help from Andrew Bynum, but with Bynum fading and Odom MIA it is all too much.
“I told [Gasol] in Orlando after we won that championship that he was the biggest reason why we won that championship because he learned [to play through the physicality]. He started that way against the Celtics, but… it just looks to me like he is tired. He still has that aggressive mindset, but just physically he cannot absorb the punishment that the Celtics are putting out.”
As for the Lakers offense, Rambis sees what we all see: A lot of people standing around and watching the Kobe Bryant show.
“I saw a Laker team that was stagnant. I saw an awful lot of players that were either indecisive, non-aggressive or making improper decisions when it came to executing shots or sequences offensively. It was just stagnant. It was dead. I thought that he did a good job of jump starting the team to motivating them to play better. But, in a lot of ways it didn’t. The players didn’t seem to ride his coattails of momentum. They just stood around and watched him – which puts a lot of pressure on him. I can’t tell you how many times they are executing their offense and they pass up 2-3 shots. Finally, Kobe gets the ball in his hands and he has to find his shot… This is where he has to move the basketball on and his team has to step up. I think that fine line was not adhered to. It usually is with him. But in that ballgame, more of the responsibility falls on his teammates. They weren’t executing. They weren’t being aggressive. They were being very timid last night. That’s why he had to step up. I don’t think he had a choice.”
Hey Timberwolves fans. Both of you. Check out the interview because Rambis also talks about his team, and confirms he doesn’t think they can really win with an Al Jefferson and Kevin Love front line. He wants a center.
This time, there may actually be a reason for Lamar Odom’s quiet night.
Odom started feeling sick with flu-like symptoms on Saturday and did not feel better during his 8-point performance in Game 5 Sunday. He hoped to be felling better for Game 6, he told Lisa Dillman at the Los Angeles Times.
“I haven’t been sick all season … now I’m sick in the Finals,” said Odom after the Lakers’ 92-86 loss to the Celtics here in Game 5. “Had to put my hard hat on just to get out of bed. It was tough.
“I’m not feeling good, but I’m not making any excuses. I’ve just got to be ready to play.”
Odom has played better than any of the other Lakers bench players. Which is about like saying you’re the best of the Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitchers — it doesn’t mean you’ve been any good.
If the Lakers are going to force a Game 7, they will need a healthy Lamar Odom. Both his body and his game.
Apparently, you all care more about the Lakers/Celtics outcome than you do The Next Food Network Star.
Once again the NBA Finals drew a huge audience Sunday night, a 12.8 overnight rating, the highest game of the series thus far. That number means nearly 17 million people were watching Paul Pierce pretending to be Randy Moss and Ron Artest choking away free throws.
Those numbers are up 36 percent over last year, when either you didn’t care as much about Los Angeles and Orlando, or you found the Next Food Network Star more gripping.
This remains the most watched finals since 2004, which is when the nation could not take their eyes off the fantastic team defense of the Pistons and the fantastic hair of Ben Wallace.
Late in the fourth quarter of Game 5, Kobe Bryant stepped away from the free throw line when a fan threw something on the court almost hitting Lamar Odom.
Stay classy, Boston.
So what was it? The Riverside Press-Enterprise asked Odom (via SLAM).
“It looked like a vodka bottle,” said Odom, indicating that it was a miniature version. “It’s too bad. Someone could get hurt. I mean, I’ve seen it before, you know with tournaments around my way.”
Here’s what impresses me: In the middle of being focused on a crucial, tight Game 5, a small bottle comes whizzing by Odom’s head, and he could pick out that it was vodka. He probably knew the brand. That is some impressive alcohol bottle recognition. Apparently the man has spent some time in clubs.
Boston was talking about the big plays they made while the Lakers were talking about the defense they didn’t play after the game.