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Looking at what led to Pau Gasol's best statistical month in February

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Thinking out loud, Lakers forward Pau Gasol wondered how he could become more consistent; his ideas included playing more aggressively, demanding the ball or attempting more shots.

"I got to do something," he said.

A month later, he has.

Gasol statistically capped his most productive month of the 2010-2011 season by averaging 20.5 points on 59.2% shooting in February, numbers that are drastically different than the ones he posted in January, when he averaged 16.8 points per game on 50.8% shooting.

February was Gasol's most productive month since November, when he earned Western Conference player of the month honors by averaging 20.3 points on a 54.1% clip.

It's worth noting that a 16-points-per-game average still currently rounds out in the top 48 in scoring, and that a 50% rate ranks in the top 20. The Lakers have found out much of their success hinges on Gasol's production as well as Kobe Bryant's, with Gasol averaging 19.7 points on 53.8% shooting in the 43 games the Lakers have won and 16.2 points on 50.4% shooting in the 19 games the Lakers have lost.

Those wondering what's led to the turnaround shouldn't go to Gasol for the explanation.

Pau Gasol on Charlotte Bobcats

"Still doing the same work and shooting the ball a little bit better, except the last game," said Gasol, referring to his 12-point effort on three-of-10 shooting in the Lakers' 90-79 victory Tuesday over Minnesota. "Other than that, just working like the rest of my teammates and understanding what point of the season we're in and how important it is to finish up in a good spot in order to have a better chance down the road."

Coach Phil Jackson and Bryant  offered two possible explanations, explained below the jump, on what's led to the turnaround. 

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Gasol no longer feels fatigued

All during the preseason, Jackson made several suggestions that Gasol should be ready to handle a larger workload. Jackson frequently cited Bryant's surgically repaired right knee, Andrew Bynum's 24-game absence while recovering from offseason surgery and Gasol's effort level in hopes of sparking him to take more ownership of the team. At first, it appeared to work. Through November, Gasol scored at least 20 points in 10 of the 18 games and recorded 14 double-doubles. His stat line of 28 points on 10-of-10 shooting and an eight-of-eight clip from the free-throw line marked the sixth time in Lakers history that a player secured a perfect shooting percentage when attempting at least 10 shots.

"What's next?" Gasol asked, jokingly.

He followed that up by shooting below 50% in three of the next four games, contests in which he played at least for 40 minutes, finishing up a month in which he averaged 39.7 minutes per game.

There are numerous reasons why Jackson has said Gasol should have been able to handle those heavy minutes. Gasol rested all of last summer after three consecutive Finals appearances and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His increased playing time didn't drastically exceed the minutes he logged in the 2009-2010 season (36.97). And the nine games he logged 40-plus minutes was partially offset by the four contests he played below 35 minutes because the Lakers' coasted to double-digit victories.

Still, that led to inconsistency. Even when Bynum returned to the lineup on Dec. 15 and assumed a starting role 12 games later, Gasol's play in December (16.3 points on 49%) and January showed that the reduced playing time didn't completely make up for the heavy lifting he performed during Bynum's absence.

"I think it's a second wind for him," Jackson said of Gasol. "He burned out and played a lot of early minutes in the season when Drew was out. Now that Drew's back, minutes are down and he has a little bit more energy and playing a little bit better."

That's most evident when Gasol receives plenty of rest between games. Consider the discrepancy in points in his 12 games after a back-to-back (17.5), 39 games after one day of rest (18.9), six games after two days of rest (18), three games after three days of rest (19.3 ) and two games after more than three days of rest (21.5). It's also seen in his mid-range jumper, seemingly because the increased energy enables him to have better lift. According to Hoopdata.com, Gasol has shown a drastic improvement in his shots from 10-15 feet and 16-23 feet from January (38.7%, 42.9%) to February (51.9%, 61.9%).

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Gasol has shown more aggressiveness

It may be well documented, but it's worth repeating.

After the Lakers' 109-96 loss Jan. 30 to Boston, Gasol lamented the offensive chemistry. He argued that the Lakers' need to play a more balanced offense that emphasizes utilizing the front line. Gasol by no means faulted Bryant's 41-point performance on 16-of-29 shooting, noting that Bryant's individual play was rooted in his own lack of aggressiveness in getting open looks that contributed to a five-of-13 clip.

Yet, it's a topic Gasol admitted he hadn't addressed with Bryant, saying, "I'm just trying to do the right thing."

Instead, Bryant approached Gasol and told him he needed to be more aggressive by demanding the ball, making sharper cuts and remaining engaged in hustle plays. Gasol responded by scoring at least 20 points in five of the first six games in February, notching three double-doubles and shooting above 50% in all six games. Even in the Lakers' embarrassing 104-99 loss Feb. 16 to Cleveland, Gasol actually showed up, posting 30 points on eight-of-15 shooting, a 14-of-14 mark from the free-throw line and 20 rebounds.

"It's a long haul," Bryant said. "It's a long season. He's certainly had long years. So I'm sure a little bit was him pacing himself, but also he has an aggressiveness switch, where, depending on the circumstance and pressure of the game, he becomes more assertive and more aggressive. He's been doing that on a more consistent basis."

-- Mark Medina
Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Upper photo: Pau Gasol powers his way to a shot against Nick Collison in the first half of the Lakers' 90-87 victory Sunday over Oklahoma City. Credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA

Middle photo: Gasol has the ball knocked from his grasp by Chris Kaman in the first half of the Lakers' 108-95 victory last week over the Clippers. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Pau Gasol confers with Coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant during a break in a recent game against the Celtics. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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For the Revenge theme, I don't know if this has already been used this year:

James Brown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsOmvSlPuys

Damn it!,

Sorry Larry, I didn't see that you had already posted The Big Payback. I should have read the posts more carefully. Good pick Larry!

I couldn't think of one for a revenge theme so I'll go non-theme related with a great Bobby Womack tune, the strings and the rhythm guitar are great on this track - Across a 110th St.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOg_8hCC4u4

In my trial conversion to the 27 and my attempt to follow the 27 commandments

I am checking in for roll call (commandment #5)
unable to do live chat (commandment # 6) though as I'll be at work
is this considered an excused absense?


bty
my favorite is commandment # 15
Thou shall never fart in the general direction of another blogger. Only Trolls think it reaches.

My take on the Heat's collapse last night

with all the minutes the big 3 are playing they are exhausted by the 4th quarter.

last night LBJ and Bosh nearly 40 min Wade 41
Season average LBJ 38, Wade 37, Bosh 36

only Gasol 37, plays as many minutes on average

not a lot of statistical difference until you start looking at back to back games vs having 3 or more days of rest.

In the playoffs, you tend not to have 3 or more days of rest.

So... I'd like an update on this stat towards the end of the season looking at Feb beyond

Across 110th Street?? ACROSS 110TH STREET??? HELL YEAH MARK G!!!
MARK G, HOBBIT, LAKER NATION...LETS RIDE AMIGOS!!!!

To all you wondeful souls who wonder how Mrs. Mamba24 is doing, thank you so much for your nice wishes. Well the sweet, wonderful, blushing, 3-Peating, darling is doing just fine...As for Mamba24...SWEET JESUS!!! AND IT COUNTS!!!! OH THANK YOU LORD!!!! I'M NOT WORTHY...Carry On!

OK, TIM-4-SHOW, Mamba24 will try to give it his best shot.

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in years past. Matching each other, blow-for-blow, against all-comers until the time to meet arrives.
They are looking squarely in the others direction while they simultaneously brush aside any with the
misguided notion that they are contenders. It is the same as how Bruce Lee will casually vanquish all
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of his team mates. He can even win BY HIMSELF (just ask Dallas & Toronto). Champions are
forged in the 4th QUARTER. Franchises are defined in the 4th QUARTER. Dynasties are cemented
in the 4th QUARTER. Sit back & watch PJ, Kobe & Fish orchestrate this symphony we call Lakers
basketball to another parade down Figueroa Blvd.@ FEARLESS
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WHO THE HELL ARE WE!! ALL TOGETHER:
We’re the World Champion LA Lakers , we’ve won (16) Rings
(10) of the 50 Greatest players played under our wings
We’re on Lakers Dynastiy Number (4) and counting by the way
We have more Dynasties than others have Titles in the NBA
Best Winning Percentage in History is part of Laker Lore
You want Hall of Fame Coaches, Check it we’ve had (Four)
Weve appeared in Half of all the Finals there have ever Been
We’re the Freakin LA Lakers and all we do is Win baby WIN!
We got the (2) Time Finals MVP, Black Mamba Kobe Bryant
He scored more points than an entire team without even trying
He scored 81 points in a game & could have scored More
But Rings not number of points is what Mamba plays for.
With Pau Gasol lending The Mamba a helping hand
The Lakers will continue going to that Finals promised land
We got a man giving up his Championship Ring for Charity
Ron Artest, Great basketball Player & Human Being is He
We got The Logo Jerry West & 1st Great center George Mikan
The Legendary Elgin Baylor & Magic Johnson the Icon.
We’ve had all the great centers like Shaq, Wilt & Kareem
Super Stars Worthy, Goodrich & Silk played on the Laker Team
Karl Malone & Gary Payton, A glove & Mailman we just Leased
(11) time Title Winning HOF Coach, who mastered Zen in the East
Chick Hearn the Broadcasting Legend, Broadcasted Lakers Games
Now he’s Broadcasting from Heaven & is in the Hall of Fame
We got Sports Winningest & Best HOF Owner, Kudos Dr. Jerry Buss
We play for Rings & Rings only , which is why teams FEAR US
That’s just a summary of our Resume, we don’t talk we Do.
We’re The Freakin Champion LA Lakers, Who the Hell are You


Nice February Pau, but like the Yankees are only judged by their October performance; the Lakers are primarily judged by May & June. The finish line is now in sight for Pau and the rest of the Lakers. I look for their focus to remain sharp for the last 20 games of the regular season.

WOULD THE AUTHOR OF THE FOLLOWING GAME DAY PRAYER REVEAL HIM OR HERSELF SO THEY CAN GET THE PROPER KUDOS??? THANK YOU!!
.
.

________________________GAME DAY PRAYER __________________________
Many of you have made requests for a game day prayer. Your wish is my command. As I do not
want to offend anyone of certain faiths, I have included several divine beings from the skies above.
.
LET US PRAY
.
Dear God, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, The Golden Calf, Buddha, The Alien Greys, The Reptilians, & Sam Cassell, We ask that you use your divine powers to grant us, not world peace, not the end of world hunger, not even the destruction of the TV show, Jersey Shore. We ask only for a Laker victory. We know you don't concern yourself with resolving such petty issues as world peace and poverty, as these problems have existed for thousands of years, and have yet to be resolved. We do know that you care about the Lakers, as you have blessed them like no other, and have have granted them back to back titles. We pray for another Laker victory tonight for your favorite team. You may hear similar prayers coming out of Northern California asking for a Warriors victory, but I beg of you, oh divine one, ignore their silly prayers, and listen only to ours. We thank you in advance. Can I get an AMEN?
.
Posted by: Game Day Prayer Temp | January 12, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Mamba 24,

The game day prayer is hilarious; would the real game day prayer author please stand up?

Thanks
PSP Intern

Mark G - Nice Bobby Womack selection. It was cool how Tarantino used it in the intro of Jackie Brown.

And speaking of Mrs. Mamba24 and her Sweet, Blushing, 3-Peating self, I dedicate this to yes, yes, yes...The Love of My Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ooMbYobAk - Best Thing Since Candy - Ojays

Mamba24,

The Dresden files has been a fantastic series.

P ang,

no. Ghost story is not out yet. and THAT SUCKS!!!

PSP,

My initials are LT.

The Dresden files has been a fantastic series.Posted by: hobbitmage | March 04, 2011 at 10:00 AM
*
Thank you sir, say no more. A recommendation by HobbitMage is the Gold standard as far as I am concerned. I shall attempt to make purchases immediately!! Thanks my brother!!!!

PSP you little devil you!! You, Yes YOU must be the author sir!!! Come on Fess up... LOL! I really would like to know who is though!

Yes,

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Heatles lose to the Magic last night.

"And then it's sing-song time."

The Outlaw and Baby Outlaw are present and accounted for.

Looking forward to the revenge game tonight. Reminder for every single Lakers player on the court: INSIDE FIRST, OUTSIDE SECOND.

Go Lake Show!

Are we all still in practice season mind set around here?

The Outlaw and Baby Outlaw are present and accounted for.Posted by: The Outlaw | March 04, 2011 at 10:13 AM
*
OK...Now the Band is complete...LET'S RIDE AMIGOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Game Day Prayer Temp

For a second the PSP thought LakerTom and started yelling "NO WAY!" but the thought quickly corrected itself to Paul Pierce.

Mamba24

Do you not realize that law enforcement has to abide by separation of church and state? Lol

Magia32

You are perilously close to breaking one of Regular Season Police's 27 commandments.

Thanks
PSP Officer

My initials are LT. Posted by: Game Day Prayer Temp | March 04, 2011 at 10:06 AM \
*
Could be...LakerTom. Could be Justa's Lost Twin. But my money is on...LAKER TRUTH, COME ON DOWN!!!!!!! OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!! KUDO'S!!!!!

It's time for the Lakers to turn the Bobcats into the Boobcats!

There's an old Marine saying: "Through Revenge One Finds Forgiveness."

Tonight, on the Greeatest Stage known as The Staples Center, the only mercy that should be shown is sending the Boobcats packing with a consolation prize of a Big Fat Bag of "Salt Peanuts!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOmA8LOw258&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Thanks Dizzy! (Video is from the days prior to Dizzy's bell/horn getting bent creating his signature 45 degree bend pointing the bell up. But the signature Bull Frog cheek puff is Classic!)

Go Lakers!!!!!!

After being pretty much entirely absent from this blog over the last 8-10 weeks, I'm happy to say that I think I'm back!
The mighty Purple & Gold are starting to look good right about now and it'll be nice to see Matt Barnes back into the rotation, hopefully starting tonight!
MM, Mamba24, Justa, and all the regulars - hello...hello again! I've missed you guys!
Game Day Roll Call!
I'll be at Staples tonight looking for some Bobcat Payback!
Jefe101 and the Lakers are Coming In Hot!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMQjuKC1oJs

There's an old Marine saying: "Through Revenge One Finds Forgiveness."Posted by: The Triangulator | March 04, 2011 at 10:35 AM
*
You know, I never heard that saying. Of course... Mamba24 was a piss poor Marine. Carry On!

After being pretty much entirely absent from this blog over the last 8-10 weeks, I'm happy to say that I think I'm back!I'll be at Staples tonight looking for some Bobcat Payback! Jefe101 and the Lakers are Coming In Hot!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMQjuKC1oJs Posted by: jefe101 | March 04, 2011 at 10:39 AM
*
AW HELL NAW!!! YIPPEEE, HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!!! HEY JEFE101, You got some Splainin to do. Gone for weeks and then just walks back in just as Matt Barnes goes back into the...Wait a minute!!! I never see Jefe101 when I see Matt Barnes and I never see Matt Barnes when I see Jefe101. JEFE101!!!!! Or should I say Matt Barnes!! OK Matt how come you can only afford the 69.95 Data plan and not the unlimited Text plan. Huh?

TRADE UPDATE:

Perk out 3 weeks with knee strain
Nate out 4-6 weeks with knee surgury

In Danny we trust!!

Perk out 3 weeks with knee strain Nate out 4-6 weeks with knee surgury
In Danny we trust!! Posted by: 131-92 | March 04, 2011 at 11:00 AM
*
Shame on you!! You probably put some kind of Leprechaun hex whatchama calit on them!!!! So the little gnome blunders into another seeming miracle. Danny, Danny your luck is only gone last so long sir. In Danny we trust? IN DANNY WE TRUST???? NO, No, No!! It just does not have the strength, The Power, The Majesty of...IN BUSS WE TRUST!!! Carry on 131!!

The Power, The Majesty of...IN BUSS WE TRUST!!! Carry on 131!!

Posted by: mamba24 | March 04, 2011 at 11:09 AM

I always hate to see former Celts go down but better Oklahoma than the Celts!

In Danny we Trust!!

I always hate to see former Celts go down but better Oklahoma than the Celts!
In Danny we Trust!! Posted by: 131-92 | March 04, 2011 at 11:28 AM
*
LOL! True dat! And in a way Laker Nation may, MAY I say, owe Danny a thank you for weakening one of our adversaries. Ah what the hell...GOOD JOB DANNY BOY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DquA6KyHTos

LOL! True dat! And in a way Laker Nation may, MAY I say, owe Danny a thank you for weakening one of our adversaries. Ah what the hell...GOOD JOB DANNY BOY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DquA6KyHTos

Posted by: mamba24 | March 04, 2011 at 11:35 AM

LOL!!! How the hell did you find that???

Im sure the Buss version would have 18 year old Playmates singing!!

Im sure the Buss version would have 18 year old Playmates singing!! Posted by: 131-92 | March 04, 2011 at 11:41 AM
*
OH SWEET JESUS!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!
I thought you might like that version with the..Celtic Woman. LOL! Yeah we got to keep our teams on course for this showdown in June, 131-92! It's almost, ALMOST I say, a shame that one of us has to lose but...It sure in the Hell aint gonna be The Lakers!!! LOL! Keep that Swagger 131 and protect our NBA from that Nuveau Super teams nonsense!!!


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