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Pau Gasol to donate $1,000 for every point scored against Clippers for Japan relief

March 25, 2011 | 10:56 am

Even if the Lakers have Kobe Bryant's scoring dominance, the team needs to make every effort to make Pau Gasol the focal point of the offense Friday against the Clippers. Even if Andrew Bynum returns to the lineup since serving a two-game suspension, Coach Phil Jackson should still give Gasol heavy minutes. And whether the Lakers blow out the Clippers, mail it in against them or simply need another triple overtime effort to secure the victory, the Lakers should focus on Gasol scoring by any means necessary.

This surely doesn't sound like the right strategy since the Lakers want a balanced offense, don't want Gasol to burn out and hope to continue establishing a definitive lead over the Dallas Mavericks for the second spot in the Western Conference. But for the sake of charity, executing the aforementioned game plan wouldn't be a bad idea. Gasol plans to donate $1,000 per point he scores against the Clippers for Japan relief efforts, an initiative he also did with Wasserman Media Group last year for Haiti.

"When a natural disaster like that occurs, it affects us all," Gasol said of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. "You never know where it's going to happen next. It could happen to somebody close to you, related to you or yourself. The world has to team up."

There's 20 total NBA players,including Gasol's brother, Marc, and Thunder guard and former UCLA product Russell Westbrook. who are teaming up with this effort through Direct Relief Intetrnational, which says has provided emergency funds for thousands of displaced victims in 20 different facilities throughout the Miyagi prefecture.

Gasol's advocacy is certainly nothing new. In addition to his Haiti relief efforts last year, Gasol makes frequent visits to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles and provided a $20,000 donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Incidentally, that was the same amount Gasol donated in Haiti relief last season after scoring 20 points in a win against the Knicks.

"It's something you feel like doing," Gasol said. "You put yourself in the position of the people who are struggling. You can't even imagine and have a certain idea even if you watch some of the images that are out there. Just for that, you try to be a leader in a way and attract more people and awareness so people also join you and more support is created by it."

--Mark Medina

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