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Photo Caption Contest: Pau Gasol putting in the dirty work

Lkrs_sprs_d001A

It's no coincidence that the Lakers' current seven-game winning streak corresponds with Pau Gasol's rise in play. 

During the Lakers' winless three-game trip in early March, Gasol shot below .500 in two of the first three games, was described by Coach Phil Jackson as "sickly" and was even asked to meet with Knicks forward Charles Oakley about playing physical.

It's been a different picture lately. Entering the Lakers' eventual 93-83 victory Wednesday over the San Antonio Spurs, Gasol had averaged 24.8 points on 69% shooting and 11.8 rebounds per game in the previous four contests. He didn't nearly match that production against the Spurs, scoring 11 points on only four-of-11 shooting. But he made up for that drop in play by locking down on San Antonio forward Tim Duncan, who was held to only six points on a two-of-11 clip.

And as demonstrated by the photo above, Gasol wasn't afraid to get down on the ground and try to grab a loose ball.

Gasol has many roles, some off the court, as detailed in a recent Sports Illustrated profile, and some in the acting arena. But Gasol hasn't been known as a janitor and reporting for mop-up duty. Until now. The best photo caption will be featured in Friday's morning links post.  

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Pau Gasol and Keith Bogans of the San Antonio Spurs dive for a loose ball during Wednesday's game. Credit: Billy Calzada / San Antonio Express-News

 
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Edwin,

Dropped the "D" in Derek Fisher for obvious reasons.

Decision was posted on the blog after e. Fish left Stephen Curry wide open to attempt a game tying 3 pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining against Golden State 2 weeks ago. Though this was only one of many e. Fish defensive lapses this season, it nuked the "veteran defensive floor presence" argument many people had made.

See Pau I told you, No waxy buildup.

Man it's so smooth we can slide and make a basket. Thank the Lord for new improved Pledge.

Where is that damn contact?

"Dropped the "D" in Derek Fisher for obvious reasons."

So what are the reasons? Why don't you make them explicit?

i've said this before, fisher should come off the bench and let one of the younger 1 guard start. if lakers need a strong shooter then he could be use to close the game, maybe...
bynum should be traded. pau, use both hand for rebound and dunking the ball, protect, protect the ball!!! and bryant stay with team plays and don't try to show off...we need the ring not an individual shelfishness.

THE ENIGMA OF PAU GASOL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
While I thought Pau played outstanding 1-on-1 defense against Tim Duncan last night, I did not like the job he did as a help defender as opposing players continued to attack the rim without any fear or hesitation. Offensively, Pau also continues to struggle in the face of the opposing defense physicality and is not attacking the rim or finishing his moves with aggression, instead becoming indecisive and often settling for jumpers.
~
I hope Pau realizes this is what he is going to see from now on. NBA players are as relentlessly predictable as sharks smelling blood when they sense vulnerability in an opposing player. Pau may have thought he put the “soft” labels to rest with his 2009 NBA Finals performance but his recent play has resurrected the feeling that he is a finesse player who can be intimidated and taken out of his comfort zone with overly physical play.
~
This is the major reason why Andrew Bynum is such an important component to the Lakers’ success. He gives the Lakers the physical defender to protect the rim on defense and dominate the low post on offense. He is the power to Pau’s finesse. He also demands the other team’s best interior defender, often giving Pau a personal matchup which he is far better suited to take full advantage of on offense and defense.
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All year I have maintained that bloggers arguing that we do better with Pau at center rather than Drew and quoting the terrific record we have had since we acquired Pau are missing the point, which is that we are a better team when we have BOTH of our 7-footers in the lineup. The biggest negative about Drew’s strained Achilles is that it again interrupts the chemistry and teamwork that he and Pau were starting to develop.
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Reading that Drew’s Achilles is getting better is encouraging. We need his physicality and pure power back in the lineup. Unlike Pau, Drew provides us with the intimidating interior presence needed to protect the rim. Unlike Pau, Drew pretty much tries to block or alter the shot every time an opposing perimeter player drives the lane, rather than just backing off and allowing the layup or dunk in order not to foul and have to sit.
~
With no disrespect intended, the bottom line is that Andrew Bynum is a better center than Pau Gasol and the Lakers are a better team with Drew at center and Pau at his natural power forward position. That is the lineup that we need to repeat as NBA champions. That is the Lakers lineup that other teams fear the most.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Re Dyan/Dianne/Diane,

In addition to what you said, Mark G - all those names came from Diana, Godess of the Moon or the Temple of Diana erected in the early centuries. According to Shakespeare, what is in a name? The author also quotes "love" in his posts. I think love can be expressed by being more considerate and understanding on the feelings of others. As long as we connect or understand, that is good enough.

Thanks for the clarification Todd.

True, Fisher has been slowed by the passing of years but he has been a Laker veteran since 1995, offered his body several times in the past as a wall to PF's or initiated contact against power players just to wake up the team. To continuously vilify him relentlessly is also unfair especially when the team just won the game convincingly.

Secondly, it is Phil who makes the decision in playing him. How good are we to 2nd guess Phil after a victorious approach. He plays match ups like when he inserted Artest as soon as Popovich put in Jefferson. What we see as blog critics are only segments of the game, while Phil has known his PG's in practices, in totality of games, can we be judgmental at all times and micromanage his coaching? Are we qualified for those tasks? Let us just assume that Phil is like an aircraft carrier, he has all weapons within reach to annihilate a country however, he is also slow in changing course to different directions.

If I can ask a favor from D'Fish and also u Todd, please be patient perhaps, by July Mitch K or the Buss family will solve that problem. Therefore, if we win games, let's give them a little lift or due respect.

From Mutual of Omaha's Wild Hardcourt -

The Dominate Power Forwards from each pride circle the unsuspecting ball. Suddenly, bearing their teeth they pounce...


JR

sweet victory on the road but lets not get carried away.. spurs are no longer an upper echelon team.. remember they almost got swept by dallas in first round last year and parker their main playmaker was down.

the good:

-- the black mamba is slowly workin his way back.. looks whos startin to get his playoff groove on.. played a near flawless game orchestrating the offense like a maestro... that turnaround on hill (like oucchhh said) is what the mambas all about.. delivering a fatal blow to his prey rendering him paralized.. i dont think hill scored again after that.

-- ron ron the pickpocket.. dont turn yo back or he will pick u clean. by the time you turn around he'll be halfway home blowin kisses to the crowd.. damn i love that man.

-- odom the human swiss army knife.. not much props to lamar but damn did he show up to play.. that block and coast to coast finish at the end of the first was a man's play.. when hes focused in like that he can be an opposing coaches nightmare

the bad:

--gasol.. good but not impressive game.. hit some clutch shots but timmy dont exactly like to play rough.. gasols still fumblin passes and missin plenty of shots that were automatic for him last year.. i'll be lookin very forward to his next game against the thuggets

the ugly:

-- dfish.. though the blogger dfish can be a little obssessive compulsive about the real dfish theres still some validity to what hes sayin... 20 first half points by hill has got to be another career high but good thing phil pulled the plug early in the second half.. both laker runs in both halves were with dfish on the BENCH.

-- luke.. nothing brightens my day more than seeing luke in streetclothes but if luke becomes an assistant are we gonna have to look at him everytime theres a timeout? uh oh.. that could be a bit of a problem.

and off topic

-- is ginobli jewish? cause i swear that thing on the top of his head looks like a yamaka.

-- lebron... can i watch one just one 30 minute BSPN segment without 50 lebron highlights.. jesus!! lebron the heatcheck.. lebron the finisher.. lebron the human highlight.. lebron this lebron that.. lebron has hit one freakin buzzer beater his ENTIRE career and that was a completely lucky off balance shot and they still show it to this day over and over... kobe has like 7 game winners and not once do they ever replay it..

With no disrespect intended, the bottom line is that Andrew Bynum is a better center than Pau Gasol and the Lakers are a better team with Drew at center and Pau at his natural power forward position. That is the lineup that we need to repeat as NBA champions. That is the Lakers lineup that other teams fear the most. Posted by: LakerTom | March 25, 2010 at 02:42 PM
*
THEN THAT IS THE LINE UP IT SHALL BE!
LET IT BE WRITTEN, LET IT BE DONE!

Where is that damn contact? Posted by: Mark G | March 25, 2010 at 02:08 PM
*
Sorry Pau but I see it and I'm gonna smash it so you can't see for the rest of the game. OH PLEASE NOOOOOO!

From Mutual of Omaha's Wild Hardcourt -
The Dominate Power Forwards from each pride circle the unsuspecting ball. Suddenly, bearing their teeth they pounce...Posted by: Jolly Rancher | March 25, 2010 at 03:03 PM
*
ROFLMAO!! hahaha!
Mamba24(larry)

Edwin,

The enemy knows The USS Jackson is headed their way. Phil has his hand on the button ready to launch the most devastating weapon, the *Atomic Bean*! So, there is no need to change coarse, steady as she goes.

TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!!

"Dropped the "D" in Derek Fisher for obvious reasons."So what are the reasons? Why don't you make them explicit? Posted by: Caliphilosopher | March 25, 2010 at 02:26 PM
*
Preach,Cali preach! Yes, we all would like to know those Freakin reasons!
mamba24

yellowfever,

Thanks for the more balanced post about the game.
It was a good win but with Parker the Spurs will be a better team and they will be a tough out in the playoffs.
The West is certainly a tough conference this year but I can't remember a year when all 8 playoff teams were this good. I don't expect any 4-0 sweeps in the West this year, should be some fun games to watch.

E. Fish? Hill torched him in the first quarter.
Fisher is the Lakers biggest liability as he again proved last nite.
Have made several posts on this topic and stand by them all.

Posted by: Todd | March 25, 2010 at 09:33 AM

---

Which game were you watching? Hill scored 14 points in the first quarter and here is the breakdown:
-
11:30 - Hill drives past Kobe and shoots over Gasol - 2 points
-
09:32 - Fouled in the act of shooting by Fisher; makes 2 FT's - Total 4 points
-
05:28 - LO hedges on defense, Derek switches to cover McDyess; LO closes on Hill but Hill makes 3-pt shot - Total 7 points
-
04:59 - Hill drives against Fisher - Total 9 pts
-
04:00 - Fisher is guarding Ginobli; Artest is guarding Hill. Artest attempts a steal, Duncan recovers and passes back to Hill. Artest is late in going back to Hill who makes an open 3-pt shot. Total 12 points.
-
03:43 - Fisher commits 2nd foul; replaced by Jordan
-
02:20 - Hill makes jumpshot over Jordan. Total 14 pts.
-
So of the 14 points that Hill scored in the first qtr, 4 were made while being guarded by Fisher. So, what do you mean exactly by 'Hill torched him in the first quarter.'???

Can we get an update on LO's shoulder?

I mean, is this something that just takes time to heal on its own and if so, how much time or will he need surgery at some point?

Will it be like this through the playoffs?

A shoulder injury is no joke and slow to heal.

I think LO is very crucial to the Lakers success, not sure we would have won last night without him.

-- lebron... can i watch one just one 30 minute BSPN segment without 50 lebron highlights.. jesus!! lebron the heatcheck.. lebron the finisher.. lebron the human highlight.. lebron this lebron that.. lebron has hit one freakin buzzer beater his ENTIRE career and that was a completely lucky off balance shot and they still show it to this day over and over... kobe has like 7 game winners and not once do they ever replay it..Posted by: yellofever | March 25, 2010 at 03:06 PM
*
MY GOODNESS!...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!
mAMBA24

and off topic

-- is ginobli jewish? cause i swear that thing on the top of his head looks like a yamaka.


Posted by: yellofever | March 25, 2010 at 03:06 PM
---

AFAIK, there are only two Jewish players in the NBA: Jordan Farmar and that Israeli player, Casspi, with Sacramento. Manu is Catholic, just like Kobe and Pau.


My ball! My ball!

that Andrew Bynum is a better center than Pau Gasol - LT

It opens another can of worms on arguments from Hobbit and Kblitz that never ends.

More appropriate is a statement of fact - while Drew is injured, Gasol took over the Center and Lakers are winning.

"I want to win," Farmar said. "I want to help this team win. I sat down with the coaches last week and they told me some of the things they want me to do to help this team win."

Does anyone else find this kind of odd?
I mean, after 70 games the coaches sit down with Jordan and give him some direction?
Or do the Lakers really take the regular season so lightly that they wait until the final 10-12 games to evaluate players and really put things in motion and get the team prepared for the "real games"?

Well anyway, I know Jordan has taken a lot of criticism here in this blog, much of it deserved, but I still kinda like the guy and think he has some potential.
Maybe he isn't quite right for the Lakers, but I will bet a dollar to a donut if he leaves he will be a starter somewhere.

He played a good game last night, hit some big 3's and look who was on the floor in the 4th quarter. I would love to see him make it with the Lakers. Despite his erratic play, he may never be a great defensive player, but he just needs to be a good consistent offensive player who can hit the open shots and use his speed, when warranted.

I know this is unlikely, but is there any chance we can get a Lets Go Jordan band wagon or does he still rank down near the bottom of the list on this blog?

BLOG CRUE
I think the Lake Show is coming together at a great time. We need to carry this into the playoffs and remember that everyone is gunning for us. Let's begin in the west until we get out of the west.

Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!

"Well you're axle looks good and I don't see any wear on your brake lining so you should be good for the road trip coming up, Keith. See you in 10,000 miles!"

Laker Tom

~~~~~re: the Lakers are a better team with Drew at center and Pau at his natural power forward position~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know you've been a proponent of Lamar playing with Pau and Andrew, but since Phil hasn't gone that way, shouldn't the "better" lineup discussion be more about the combinations: Pau / LO vs Andrew / Pau vs LO / Andrew? Wouldn't say the better Laker team is one with Lamar on the bench but that's where he is when Pau and Andrew are on the floor.

Andrew's defensive presence depends on his foul situation and though Pau's not anyone's image of an historically great NBA center, he and LO are a championship mismatch nightmare for every team. Last night, Stu and James Worthy singled out Pau's defensive effort. His help defensive focus might have been secondary to keeping a multi MVP off his rhythm which he certainly did. Last year, he team defended Howard well enough and although, as Craig Hodges said, Andrew is the best center in the league now, LO takes better advantage of that on offense than Pau seems to be able to when they play together. Could be because Pau hasn't played Pau-like till recently.

His midrange game has started to round into form and that helps the spacing but he's not a threat entering the ball to Andrew at the 3 point line. On defense, he chases the Nowitsky's on the outside, which LO does better and the lineup suffers from less speed than last year created by a slower Ron, Fish and Andrew. As the game slows down in the playoffs, we may see Pau and Andrew flourish more than we've seen yet this year, but Lamar has proven to be quietly invaluable, maybe not so quietly now that his wife has him on the A list. haha

We need Andrew, who again was peaking at the right time when he was injured. I wish Phil had given the long lineup more of a chance to merge, but I like the space and flow of Lamar with both Pau and Andrew more than what we've seen from Pau and Andrew this year. It's great to have all the options. In the end, it's the end game that matters and, predictably, if Phil holds to form, would opt for Lamar on the floor with Pau.

Snake,
Basketball is all about confidence. When George Hill (or any other PG) knows that Fish will be the opposing PG that night, his eyes will light up, and he will begin to salivate, similar to when a hungry lioness sees a baby buffalo with a severe limp. His confidence will be sky high before the game even starts, knowing that Fish will be nothing but a safety cone on defense. There's a reason Popovich's game plan was to have Hill be aggressive from the get go. There's a reason why Hill had more shot attempts than Duncan. Pop knows how to expose the other team's biggest weakness, and I think it's pretty obvious by now what the team's biggest weakness is. Fish might not have been guarding Hill for all of his shots, but believe me, Fish was 100% responsible for Hill's sky high confidence level to start the game.

.
LakerTom,
"Andrew Bynum is a better center than Pau Gasol and the Lakers are a better team with Drew at center and Pau at his natural power forward position. That is the lineup that we need to repeat as NBA champions. That is the Lakers lineup that other teams fear the most. "

There are some inaccuracies in your statement. I've made some corrections:
PAU GASOL is a better center than Andrew Bynum and the Lakers are a better team with PAU at center and LAMAR at his natural power forward position. That is the lineup that made it to back to back finals. That is the lineup that we need to repeat as NBA champions. That is the Lakers lineup that other teams fear the most.

Pau Gasol tries to save the basketball from a feral, and possibly rabid, Keith Bogans.

Nice take Vman....why should there be a competition? We need Drew, we need Pau, we need Lamar but most of all Kobe & Artest. Without these guys, we have no chance of repeat.

The best horses can't sustain 48 minutes of high energy and efficiency. The 2nd unit must resume continued inertia as a support cast include here, Fisher. If you miss one or two players, there is vacuum to be filled. Players get tired filling so many missing slots, actions are slowed down and that's when people would be missing shots in the perimeter or in the free throw line. When bodies are weary they become mere shell in the 4th Q decisions-making becomes flawed too. It all happens when other teammates missed their roles.

"You think that hurts, try this!"


Anyone notice whenever they start comparing new rookies to established players, no one is ever compared to Kobe? Hmmm.


Wes

Then there's: "That hurts." / "That stinks."


Wes

As I always said the combination of Pau, Andrew and Kobe is not working but if either Andrew or Kobe (preferably Andrew) goes out we are unbeatable!

Go Lakers Go

*
LET'S GO JORDAN - BANDWAGON
*
(01) ART-FL-LAKERSFAN - OWNER - know this is unlikely, but is there any chance we can get a Lets Go Jordan band wagon or does he still rank down near the bottom of the list on this blog?, I know Jordan has taken a lot of criticism here in this blog, much of it deserved, but I still kinda like the guy and think he has some potential. Maybe he isn't quite right for the Lakers, but I will bet a dollar to a donut if he leaves he will be a starter somewhere. He played a good game last night, hit some big 3's and look who was on the floor in the 4th quarter. I would love to see him make it with the Lakers.
(02) MAMBA24 - DRIVER - We still got face in you JFarm.
(03)

I think this caption should be an audio.

Pau: Mine. Mine.
Spurs guy: Mine Mine.

Both in the voices of the seagulls from Finding Nemo.

Guys, I've been getting a few emails lately saying they've been having trouble posting. So if that's been the case for you lately, I apologize for all this. I'm actually going through a similar problem. Management is well aware of it and is figuring out the root of the problem.

In the meantime, if you're having trouble having your comment saved, try clicking on preview first and then posting. That's worked for me thus far.

Thanks for your patience and I'll keep everyone updated on any developments.

MM

bynum should be traded. pau, use both hand for rebound and dunking the ball, protect, protect the ball!!! and bryant stay with team plays and don't try to show off...we need the ring not an individual shelfishness.

Posted by: apujac | March 25, 2010 at 02:27 PM


Just a reminder for you, since you seem to have forgotten:

1) Bynum is going nowhere for the rest of the season; the trading deadline has passed.

2) We won a championship last year with Kobe doing what he needed to do, so get off this "selfishness" stuff.

3) The lakers would appreciate your support; you can banter about possibilities once the season ends, but for the rest of the year, what you see is what you get.

looking for our championship swagger. is it under here?

I saw Pau's trying hard to add a component of dirtier gaming to his usual set.
That coming sure from PJ, I have to think it has to be done for the sake of the Lakers plans.

He's workin on it, not always with the results expected so far, but he's workin on it.

I still don't like THAT version of Pau, not totally.
I don't.

Not sayin it's not useful, or it won't be when he will be better at it: just saying that way to play someway "bastardizes" his superior skills.

It makes him less natural in his usual plays, which are among the true best and the most beautiful actions you could EVER see on ANY basketball court.

As I said, I trust PJ 's requests on Pau.
I like the way he's committing in gaining even more layers to his incredibly skilled outcome as a player; I have still to verify how he can actually adjust well to being a warrior the way Americans think a warrior should be.

There is a different approach to toughness between you and us Europeans.
And I hope to mash up things too much won't ruin the most beautiful hands and mind in PF territory NBA has to offer.

That'd be seriously a crime in the making.

Not to mention, in the end, not a good option for any of the Lakers plans of dominance.

There are many tough players around.

There are certainly NOT that many (not even a few actually) players with the perfection of gaming Mr. Gasol achieves when just being himself.

The thug option can be makin us stronger in some aspect of the game.

But losing for it the creativity and virtually all opening schemes hand Pau gives through his impressively variated approach at the basketball game, would in the end make the Lakers less loaded, less efficacious, less unpredictable and in the end less... Lakers. Less Unique.

Mind U.

Balance these tearing opposites, please, and possibly without de-naturate your true essence, Pau.

Nothing works well against the truth inside anyone's heart&mind.

I'll be keeping fingers crossed... ;)

The reason why Pau is increasing his effectiveness and improving his play is very simple, is a physical matter. Gasol has been 2 years with no resting, since he had eurobasket and he had olimpics during summers. How can you explain how his performance went down so much during winter?. When he arrived the NBA this year, he was playing just superb, but, i think he had to sacrifice his performance on regular season this year, to be able to be 100% at playoffs, thats why he is rising his level now. We will see the best Pau gasol coming back every day progressibly till the playoffs, im sure of that, and u all will admire him again, he is just so damn good. He wont be outplayed on physical games as on regular season, and his shooting % will improve everyday, when u are not physically good, ur shooting looses efectivenes aswell, i wouldnt be worried about Pau, cause , ive been following him for years, and i know if u stay on his side, you always win at the end.

Caption:

Pau: "That's not how you break dance. Let me school you, punk."


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