Photo Caption Contest: Pau Gasol putting in the dirty work
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
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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