After sitting out the first two games of the Lakers three game road trip, there was a sliver of hope that he might try to play Friday night against the Thunder. The thought was that the extra rest may help his knees feel good enough to give it a go in what is certainly a big game for the Lakers.
That will not happen, however. Pau will continue to rest his sore knees instead of suiting up against the team that eliminated the Lakers from the playoffs last season:
It was a long shot that Pau Gasol would play at all on this trip, so this shouldn’t be surprise. Still, for an undermanned Laker team that’s already missing Steve Nash, having him sit out still stings.
In his absence, the Lakers are 1-1 but face their biggest test of the trip in this final game. And while a healthy Gasol would be an asset against the Thunder, the physically limited version would only be a liability against a team that has the athletes to hurt them in transition and the lineup versatility to force him to defend away from the basket.
Expect Antawn Jamison to continue to start in Gasol’s absence and for Jordan Hill to see minutes at back up center when Dwight Howard goes to the bench. Both players have done well in Pau’s absence and they’ll need to do so again tonight if the Lakers are to have a chance against a Thunder team that’s won their last 6 games.