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Four ways to make up for a possibly limited Pau Gasol against Utah

GasolWhen Lakers forward Pau Gasol fell to the ground after Nuggets center Nene delivered a hard foul, thoughts immediately swirled in his mind.

"It was a scary moment for me, but I was able to get up," Gasol said. "As I was walking, the pain was decreasing so that was a good sign."

Consider it a false alarm.

After leaving the game to check on the ligaments surrounding his right knee, he returned shortly afterward. Gasol received an MRI on Monday and the results showed he had a bone bruise in his right knee. Still, he felt healthy enough to suit up Tuesday against Utah.

"He came in this morning and, you know, is feeling fine and ready to go," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson told reporters at morning shootaround. "Obviously, we'll watch him closely but right now he says he feels OK."

Considering the possibility he would be limited against Utah, here are four ways to compensate.

1. Have Kobe Bryant take over. Well, duh. But it's not as simple as it sounds. As talented as Bryant is, and as someone who can seemingly score at will, that task becomes much easier when Gasol is on the floor and fully effective. Gasol is the yin to Bryant's yang as the two work off each other in pick-and-rolls and make defenses remain split on who to double-team. With Gasol in the lineup against Utah, the two will still have that luxury. But Bryant will likely feel compelled to shoulder more of the load. That's a good strategy to have, but the Lakers need to make sure that comes off more on effective ball movement and less on isolation plays.

2. Andrew Bynum should ease the burden.This is something he's actually done pretty well and is the main reason why the Lakers have gone 17-2 since the All-Star break. He's finally accepted Bryant's edict expressed last season: "I eat first, and Pau eats second. Everybody else can eat what's left." Sometimes there's not many leftovers to go around, so Bynum has relied on the scraps (rebounding, blocks and becoming a staple of the team's defensive set). They're simply scraps because it's not the most glorious responsibility. But it is important and quantifiable, two variables that made it easier for Bynum to embrace. The Lakers may have to rely on that even more. This isn't an excuse for Gasol to check out. But let's face it. Many times when he's hit adversity such as fatigue, physical play, etc, he has. So Bynum should at least anticipate it.

3. The Lakers should build up a sizable lead so they can reap the rewards of recalling Derrick Caracter. After a glorious three-game stint with the Bakersfield Jam, the Lakers are asking for his services. This isn't so much a promotion as it is an insurance policy. Jackson made it very clear Caracter will pack his bags again as soon as Bakersfield begins its playoff series Friday against Rio Grande Valley. Caracter's main focus should entail staying ready. He's admitted being mixed bag in that department this season, saying the unpredictable playing time prompted him not to think it was always necessary to do the proper preparation before the game. Tuesday night isn't the time to do that. Although Gasol told Jackson he's healthy enough to go, the Lakers are mindful that they can't afford for his knee to get any worse with the playoffs still looming. Less playing time for Gasol because of a comfortable lead would ultimately be a good thing, which will be partly measured by how well Caracter can play.

4. Gasol should adjust his game if need be.It's easy to assume Gasol will play tentatively because of the desire to keep his knee healthy. But he didn't appear any less aggressive after taking the fall against Denver. Then again, he was reluctant to drive to the basket the entire game, opting mostly for midrange jumpers. But if Gasol's jumper isn't falling for whatever reason, he should find something tangible, such as rebounding or timely passing, to help contribute.

--Mark Medina

[email protected]

Photo: Pau Gasol reacts after making a basket against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on Thursday. Credit: Mike Nelson / EPA

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LRob - great pick with Floyd to keep it going...This is my favorite category of music, and since jefe got me started, I can't turn

Well Floyd was my next here is my back up choice...

Jim Rome: "Celtics took a huge gamble trading Perkins, and relying on Shaq...Looks like they craped out..."

Bill Simmons may be a self professed Laker Hater but he does write some really good ( and very funny) articles:

The PSP just picked up Book of Basketball; will read that over the weekend.

PSP Solutions Architect

LRob - evidently you've struck a bit of a pleasant nerve with Lewsters and I over this business of 70s progressive rock!
Now I feel compelled to add to the compilation something with a little avant garde twist, with a big assist from Brian Eno...for your pleasure!
and as re-invented in '98 by Venus In Furs...2HB

i just realized that i haven't seen any posts beating up on what is this, change of heart or just laziness

Thanks for the Ebanks interview!

@LRob and other DJs
thanks for the diverse selections- my first of the day is this:

As for the Lakeshow, we need to come out strong tonight and build an early ten point lead. No more of this sleepwalk basketball. I want to see a taste of that intensity that they played with against Dallas.

"i just realized that i haven't seen any posts beating up on what is this, change of heart or just laziness

Posted by: lance from da' bronx | April 05, 2011 at 02:20 PM "

If the team is winning comfortably even with D-Fish shooting 1-6, it's not much of an issue. Even Luke could be out there getting major burn and people wouldn't complain as long as the team is winning.

Posted by: LRob

Oclezy- Yep DRose is legit MVP. Yep he’s kept the Bulls up top despite all the injuries to Booz and Noah. Plus, his 4th quarter performances have been the best in the association imho

Thanks for the argument in favor of Derrick Rose for Mvp,very solid i might add i forgot about all the injuries to his team mates.I still think him and Westbrook games are similar;and you would probably have the same results if they both change places, but valid point none the less and i agree..So big ups man.

Go Lakers!

jefe - great choice with Roxy Music...I love their single "Love is the Drug"...

My next selection...

Laker Tom.....Enjoy the game with your Grandson!! Our Grandson's 14 and 11 went to their first Laker game against MN. They were on spring break and knew we were going so being CRAZY LAKER Fans like my husband and I decided to go too. They loved it!!! Our son has always been a Magic and Cooper fan and got to see his first game too. At least us Grandparents did our job and kept the LAKER LOVE FEST going. So happy to hear about Andrew and the BRACE that saved him and Pau will be a go tonite. You should hold up a sign that says Laker Tom!!

Not sure you can afford it with your lowly pittance you’re allowed for serving and protecting the blog community but I would like a Fat Tire not a Bud, we have that covered here in Nor Cal.

It’s all good on the Northern front; I hope the Triangulator and his insights return for the playoffs. Still haven’t decided if I want to be at the game tomorrow or if I want to watch it at home. I will decide tonight if I'm going and post here in the morning a place we can get a beer together at half-time. If I don’t go I would still like to meet up with you and Lewsters for a game in May. The “Lakers Bar” I was talking about is in Nob Hill on California & Levenworth.

You didn’t start anything; in fact I don’t know what you are talking about. Spin another record and enjoy the ride to banner #17. When you are a Laker fan in the spring this is the song that should be playing on your stereo.

@CCX ... Mike, thanks for the good wishes. Nick and I will have the time of our life. It’s his Christmas present from me and we’ve got excellent seats in the section directly across from the Lakers bench. I’ll be wearing jeans and a black Lakers T-shirt and Nick will be wearing a gold Kobe 24 jersey. Look for us. Section 113 row 16.
@NMLL ... LOL. They ought to give us Lakers hats with little basketballs for each child brought into the Lakers family, whether sons and daughters or grandsons and daughters. I know I have four patches on my hat and sounds like you and your husband have at least 3.
@NBA4EVER ... No problem. I would love to meet you at halftime to share a beer if you go to the game. I appreciate your taking the high road. Hopefully, Mike will settle down and do the same. Please ask MM for my email address so we can share cell phone numbers to connect at the game.

Lewsters - I love the Supertramp / Gentle Giant 1-2 punch!
And now for my ultimate glam/prog.rock/one.hit.wonder guilty pleasure!

If the team is winning comfortably even with D-Fish shooting 1-6, it's not much of an issue. Even Luke could be out there getting major burn and people wouldn't complain as long as the team is winning.

Posted by: Bay to LA | April 05, 2011 at 02:36 PM

Actually, S Perkins and, to a slightly lesser extent, Magia32, take it upon themselves to trash Derek Fisher win or lose.

The same goes for LAKER TRUTH with Luke. When Barnes was suspended, he took it upon himself to trash Luke BEFORE he even played. He trashed Phil Jackson for playing Luke over the rookie while Barnes was injured. ANY mention of Luke Walton brings him out of the woodworks. Before the season during the time when Matt Barnes was arrested on domestic violence charges (which fortunately the DA did not pursue), I SUGGESTED that Luke might be in the rotation ahead of Barnes, which Mr. TRUTH took upon himself to cleverly suggest to the LA Times Lakers blog world .. and actually convinced people like LRob .. that I actually said that Luke Walton was a better player than Matt Barnes.

I like Luke Walton. As deep as the 2003 draft was, only one player can boast that he has been to the NBA Finals 4 times and has 2 rings. Yes, his skills have eroded to the point whereby he's better off as an assistant coach than a player, but let's face it, that's pretty much what he is now. While many fans wish he had retired to put them out of "their" misery, this fan is glad he's here for one more championship run. Devin Ebanks has plenty of time to develop.

Yet I digress ...

By the way, take a look at the 2003 draft! Look at all the Round 2 players who are still playing and who Mitch passed up on. To think that we could have Kendrick Perkins and Mo Williams (Stinks) instead of Luke and Brian Cook. Oh well, at least we wound up with Steve Blake!

That's true, it does happen either way but I've noticed that when the team loses, people start focusing more on the weaker links in the chain.

Injuries have robbed Luke Walton of most of his ability. A lot of people have forgotten how good he was and that he did earn that contract he has now. Because of those injuries, as well as the additions that have made him expendable, his contract has gone very bad over the last few years and people wonder why he's still around. It's not like the Lakers keep signing him to one year deals, they have no choice but to keep him until that contract ends.

The Pistons are probably kicking themselves the hardest for that 2003 draft. They could have had Carmelo, Wade or Bosh, among others and went with Darko who never really came together for them. The draft is always unpredictable. The Lakers probably had to sell it but the Toney Douglas pick from 2009 looks like a regrettable move sometimes with how he is playing.

Big game for the Spurs tonight. Other than the Lakers game, this is the most lose-able game remaining on their schedule so I think a win tonight essentially ensures the #1 seed for them.

Coming up, the Lakers have the Warriors on the back end of a back to back, a game at Portland, and a Sunday game against OKC. I think winning 2 out of 3 there would be a success so the Spurs still need to lose 3 more times.

Toney Douglas was a stud on my FBB team...I never knew we picked him in the Draft in 09...Did we release him, or trade him...

WOW this blows my mind, with all the talk of our weakness at the PG spot...he would of been perfect...

"Toney Douglas was a stud on my FBB team...I never knew we picked him in the Draft in 09...Did we release him, or trade him...

WOW this blows my mind, with all the talk of our weakness at the PG spot...he would of been perfect...

Posted by: LEWSTRS | April 05, 2011 at 04:25 PM "

I forgot about it until reading about it earlier this season. I think the Lakers had to sell the pick so they wouldn't be stuck paying a 1st round pick salary. I'll have to do some more research but it might have been unavoidable given who they wanted to sign in that offseason.

First time commenting on this blog, although I have been a lurker for quite some time enjoying the comments of others, and I just have to say I miss ouchhh when threads like this come along. I miss my daily Pau bash almost as much as I miss the daily roll call of Mamba24, but seriously how can a blogger like that actually quit cold turkey. Pau Gasol is the steady influence the Lakers need to repeat as champions this year and it is great to hear this injury will not slow him down for this crucial playoff run. While Pau will rarely amaze you with highlight dunks his consistent stat line of around 18 ppg and 10.2 rpg makes him indispensible to the Lakers three peat hopes. It is weird at this time in the season to still be pushing for playoff position and while it would be great to secure at least the 2nd overall seeding in the playoffs, if Chicago starts to pull away and third overall is already secured I would love to see starters get some rest. Finally I hope to see this blog in postseason form soon so I can get my needed Lakers fix while toiling away at work.

The Lakers traded the rights to Toney Douglas, who they drafted in 2009 with the 29th overall pick, to the Knicks on June 25th in '09 for their 2011 second-round pick and $3 million in cash considerations.
I have to imagine that the cash helped Buss and Kupchak to re-sign Fish and Shannon this past summer.
It remains to be seen what the FO will eventually get with the Knicks second round pick this summer.

Ok...focus on basketball.

But one does think that Larry--Mamba 24--has been a good friend to many of us here. I'll leave the porch light on for Mamba when he's ready to rejoin the fun. Look for it when the playoffs start!

Sorry MM. We're a bunch of crazies. but someone has to moderate us.

Lets get along for MM's sake! (Yeah!)


Ok, ok... You want 70's progressive, acidic, psychedelic tripped out music? See if you remember this "late comer" to the party:

Careful with tonight's game. The Lakers will have their hands full. Coach Carl can coach and he has his team "believing." Denver will want to prove that their last win was no fluke.


Terry I don't call you a are are very foolish...I apologize, but this is the only response that warrants your post...

jefe thanks for the info on Douglas now...I remember now, you have refreshed my memory...I remember we all thought it was a brilliant move by Mitch, for after that o9 Bling, our main concern was resigning everyone on the team...I also remember how devastated I was we didn't resign Ariza, and picked up Artest instead...But then I was ecstatic we resigned LO...

Who would of thunk that Ron Ron panned out like he did...Same breath as who knew that Douglas would turn out to be like he did...And also, that deal with the Knicks, when we sold them that draft pick, it was prearranged that we would pick Douglas for them...and I thought we only got 2 mil, not 3....

frmkt - Nektar, wow!
Luckily for the Lakers, we're hosting the Ty Corbin led Utah Jazz tonight, sans Devin Harris (again), and most likely sans Kyrylo Fesenko - the ugliest dude in the NBA. ; )

Posted by: NBA4ever | April 05, 2011 at 03:18 PM

Don't let some ignoramous person ruin your day. Our comment on Cuban being smart was merely a straw that broke camels back. This virtual forum attracts good and the bad so discretion must be observed at all times.



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