Tag: Lakers Mavericks

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four

Pau Gasol: “It wasn’t about confidence. I collapsed.”


The Pau Gasol that won the battle with the Boston Celtics front line in 2010 was nowhere to be seen. Same with the Pau Gasol that defended and scored on Dwight Howard in 2009.

Pau Gasol was not right in the 2011 NBA playoffs. He shot 42 percent this year, after shooting 53.9 percent ad 58 percent the last two seasons. He went from putting up big numbers on the game’s best last year to getting outplayed by everyone he faced this year. Some shortsighted Lakers fans went back to calling Gasol soft — if you drop 19 points and grab 18 boards against Kevin Garnett in a Game 7 you should get a lifetime pass from being called soft — while others questioned Gasol’s personal life.

In an interview with Spanish sports site Marca (translated by Hoopshype) Gasol said for all the speculation bothered him, but he was just exhausted.

“It wasn’t about self-esteem. It wasn’t about confidence. I collapsed. I was exhausted a little bit too. It hasn’t been a lack of confidence….

“A journalist from here told me that I’m an easy target. I’m polite, I’m a foreigner and I treat people with respect. Because I’m polite and a good person I’m an easy target. The lies about my personal life have affected me.”

Gasol became an easy target because he played like crap, not because he is Spanish. That said, the speculation about the cause of his poor play crossed lines — we all have some bad personal moments that impact our work, it’s just that the rest of us don’t have an army of writers and talking heads dissecting those mistakes.

The Lakers looked like an old, tired team. They had been to three straight finals and looked uninspired. Maybe a summer off and a new coach will change that. It has to for Gasol, because if he does not come back the old Gasol the Lakers are in trouble.

Video: Bynum apologizes for hit on J.J. Barea


We told you yesterday how yesterday after his exit interview Lakers center Andrew Bynum apologized for his cheap shot hit on J.J. Barea at the end of Dallas’ sweep of the Lakers.

We also told you the league gave him a five-game suspension at the start of next season (whenever that is) for the incident.

But we thought you should see Bynum’s apology for yourself. So below is the video.

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NBA Playoffs: Game 4, where we find out if the Lakers care

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three

We can talk about matchups — like how the Lakers need to get some kind of production out of the point guard spot — but that’s not really the biggest key in Game 4 in Dallas on Sunday.

It’s which Lakers team shows up.

More than anything, the Lakers have looked mentally fatigued in this series. Which is something that could come trying to make a fourth straight NBA finals. You see it when Lakers are not helping the helper on defense, when they fail to execute at the end of games. These are things the Lakers have done in the past, even this season, but have stopped now. The Mavericks are pushing them, playing great basketball, but the Lakers of previous years responded to those kind of challenges with a renewed fire and energy that this team just has not shown.

Do those Lakers fight in Game 4, or do they roll over?

I expect fight, but we’ve been expecting that for a while now and not seen it.

The Mavs will play hard — this series seems to bring them a sense or redemption. For the 2006 finals. For the 2007 collapse in the first round to Golden State. For all the playoff losses. It may not feel like redemption in the locker room, but they are sure playing like it does. And for the fans, this would be the sweetest of victories.

In terms of strategy, it’s nothing new. The Lakers need to get the ball inside to Andrew Bynum. He was the best Laker on the floor in Game 3 but he got no touches, no shots in the final 10 minutes. That’s not on Bynum, that’s on the Lakers guards for not getting him the ball. The Lakers more than any other team seem to go away from what works for them when the game gets tight.

For the rest of the Lakers, they need to get a good game from their point guards (good luck with that), they need a rested Ron Artest to take on some offensive load. And they need Pau Gasol. The one from last year. Credit Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas for playing good defense, but Gasol is capable of being one of those players (like Dirk) where the defense doesn’t matter when he’s going. He just has not been going this playoffs.

The Mavs just need to keep running their pick-and-roll action that the Lakers defense can’t solve. They need to be tough inside. They need Dirk to be Dirk. Basically, they just need to keep doing what they have been doing.

If they do that, it seems not to matter what Lakers team shows up.

Lakers’ Gasol admits he needs to “snap out of it”

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two

One thing we have learned from this postseason — the Lakers are not nearly as good without Pau Gasol.

Technically they have had Gasol. He has played 36 minutes a game through the Lakers’ nine playoff games. But he hasn’t been the same guy as he was in the regular season. That Gasol put up 18.8 points per game on 52.9 percent shooting. The Gasol of the playoffs has averaged 13.4 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting. Dirk Nowitzki is shooting 76 percent this series when Gasol is on him. Gasol’s regular season PER of 23.3 is All-Star level; his playoff PER of 16.9 is just a slightly above average player.

The Lakers can’t win that way, and Marc Spears of Yahoo quoted Gasol after Game 3 as saying he realizes that.

He’s “out of it” mentally and hasn’t been able to be “effective or comfortable out there,” but couldn’t explain why and says he needs to “snap out of it.” Time is running out….

“It’s been tough,” Gasol simply said. “It’s been tough more than anything [because] of the losses.”

When asked if this poor playoff season ruins his previous Laker accomplishments, Gasol sternly responded: “You tell me? Should it? I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

It shouldn’t — the Lakers wouldn’t have the two rings they do without him.

I’ve know all about the rumors of the strife in Gasol’s personal life and … it doesn’t matter. That’s his personal life and it should stay his personal life.

Whatever the reason for his play, he does need to snap out of it. But frankly, it’s too late for this season.

Lakers may start Brown, have Barnes come off bench

Image (1) Brown_dunk-thumb-250x166-11742.jpg for post 1998
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Phil Jackson needs to find a spark, because his team has lacked one for two games now.

So you can throw the conventional wisdom that Matt Barnes will step in and start for the suspended Ron Artest out the window — Shannon Brown may be getting the start, Kevin Ding reports at the Orange County Register. Brown would be the two guard, Kobe Bryant would slide to the three spot.

Frankly, both Barnes and Brown have been inconsistent with shots and been less than impressive on defense. Both are going to get their chance, one of them has to step up. That or Luke Walton… yea, better count on Brown or Barnes if you’re a Lakers fan.

Some Lakers fans are calling for the Lakers to go with more of a tall lineup that has Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom playing at once. Don’t expect it. Phil Jackson barely tried this during the season (only a handful of minutes all season), if he breaks it out now it’s more a sign of desperation than thoughtful strategy.