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Will Pau Gasol's improved Game 3 performance offset big picture concerns?

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With the shot clock winding down, Lakers forward Pau Gasol had no other choice but to step out of his comfort zone.

He had spent most of the game trying to stay aggressive and create a rhythm so that he could shake his playoff funk, and it seemed likely that hoisting a three-pointer would do little to change that.

Except it did.

His second career playoff three-pointer with 10:52 remaining in the fourth quarter provided the momentum he needed to finish with a 17-point, 10-rebound effort in the Lakers' 100-86 Game 3 victory Friday over the New Orleans Hornets, a huge improvement from the eight points and 5.5 rebounds he'd averaged -- as well as his four-of-19 (21%) shooting clip -- through the first two games.

"It's funny how a shot can turn things around for him," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant told reporters, including The Times' Mike Bresnahan.

But it did. After pumping his fist in delight following the three-pointer, Gasol grabbed a rebound off a missed shot and converted on the put-back, prompting him to scowl. It provided a perfect image to what pointed to Gasol's increased aggressiveness and confidence, and could, perhaps, prove a turning point to even better performances, beginning Sunday when the Lakers play Game 4 at New Orleans Arena.

It's far too early to say whether that will happen because this is what Gasol was supposed to be providing in Games 1 and 2 against an undersized team, especially since he averaged 22.2 points on 70.5% shooting in four regular-season victories against the Hornets. New Orleans also lacks David West because of a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury, Emeka Okafor has never matched up well with Andrew Bynum and Carl Landry's consistency against the Lakers should've been manageable. Instead, aggressive defense from Landry and reserve center Aaron Gray proved overwhelming for Gasol, even in the first half of Game 3, when he finished with only four points and four rebounds.

Even though he attacked down low more in the second half, finishing with 10 third-quarter points, New Orleans' front line doesn't provide a good barometer on what Gasol might face against future playoff opponents. The likes of Portland's Marcus Camby and LaMarcus Aldridge, Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka or Miami's Chris Bosh would prove much tougher than the matchups Gasol has faced thus far. There's no discounting how Gasol's inside presence and basketball IQ have spurred the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two consecutive NBA championships, but his improved effort in Game 3 shouldn't be seen as a turning point yet. Gasol still has more work to do to prove it isn't a fluke.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol is triple teamed by New Orleans center DJ Mbenga (28), guard Willie Green (33) and power forward Carl Landry (24) during Game 3 on Friday night at New Orleans Arena. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2011.

 
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3 years of championship ball proves this is not a fluke.

Tired of these reactionary posts. Zero content.

2 rings. An all star. A couple of bad games and suddenly we're going to start questioning the man's game?

IMO, Pau has nothing to prove. He has proven already that he is capable of being our number 2 option. Games 1 and 2 was more mental. Now he's back. Credit goes to that 3 pointer he buried on game 3.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Thank you and thank you. Pau has brought the most to the team second to Kobe in the past 2 championship seasons; like the PSP said, he has earned himself a few 'get out of jail free' cards.

/PSP Intern

I think I made it pretty clear he's been a huge part of the championship runs. But this post is more to show that it's equally reactionary to take one bad game and equate it to a slump and then one good game and equate it to a turnaround.

****** REPOST******

I'm dedicating this one to Dirk No-Blitzkrieg

and the Dallas Sowbacks--

Tyson "Chicken" Chandler
Jason "No Longer A" Kidd
Jason "Cherry" Terry
J.J. "The Garden Gnome" Barrera
Predrag "PostDrag" Stoiochovich, et al

and to that pathetic little Sonny Belch-Fast (who seriously needs to seek psychiatric help before he becomes totally psychotic)--do you really think we read your drivel or are you trying to give us carpal tunnel massive scroll syndrome?

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

"IT’S THE PLAYOFFS, NOT THE LAYOFFS!"

KOBE BEAN BRYANT IS STILL "THE LOGO OF PROFESSIONALISM!"

LAMAR ODOM IS "THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE!"

"AND THE BEAST GROWS UP..."

This was written by Sonnybelfast...

"Have you not noticed that the number of insults which I direct at others,
pales in comparison to those which are directed at me? Did you see that?"
__________________


I guess Sonny forgot he was on a "LAKERS BLOG".

------------------------------------------------------------
LAKERS BLOG (Round the clock Purple & Gold)
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You heckle Lakers fans at their BLOG(again, LAKERS BLOG) and you dare to compare the insults 'given and taken' by you Sonnybelfast???

And you called Adrian a "Tarugo"? Which, according to some poster, is a slang word for P*N*S. And you were hurt by the amount of insults thrown back at you? Really?

Nuff said.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

he has earned himself a few 'get out of jail free' cards.

Posted by: Practice Season Police | April 24, 2011 at 12:42 AM
_______________

LOL! Now that's what I'm talking about!

PSP Humor! The Blog is a better place now.

PSP Sir, how about those Blazers tonite? Also, I hope Denver gets to extend the series against OKC, though it looks remote.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

The strange thing about Pau is that he rested the entire summer to be ready for this season. Maybe he should've played the summer. It worked wonders for LO.

But seriously, he was fighting a sinus infection. At least that's what the broadcasters said in game 3. If true, that can wreak havoc on equilibrium. Since balance is a major part of the game, that could be a major factor in Pau's poor shooting and flat-footed D. He should continue to become the Pau we've grown accustomed too.

MM, can you confirm or refute the sinus infection? BSPN is known to report erroneous info...

"IT'S THE PLAYOFFS, NOT THE LAYOFFS!"

KOBE BEAN BRYANT IS STILL "THE LOGO OF PROFESSIONALISM!"

LAMAR ODOM IS "THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE!"

"AND THE BEAST GROWS UP..."

Can you stop dissecting Pau's every move? The guy's got tremendous talent, fighting off a lousy respiratory infection that can fell a guy that big...who hasn't felt like crap from that?

Give him his due, some props and just let the guy play.

Laker fans are behind him...quit with the hassle!!!

LAKERS!!

Hahahaha Pau will be alright as the playoffs go deeper expect for him to elevate his game like before.We should be concern about Andrew health his so fragile like a glass.Hope he finish the playoffs healthy this time and help us to 3peat.

As for me being a Lakers fan,I won't backdown to any haters or trolls in this blog.il always defend my Lakers no matter what win or lose il be a Lakers fan forever.

MMsays:
"I think I made it pretty clear he's been a huge part of the championship runs. But this post is more to show that it's equally reactionary to take one bad game and equate it to a slump and then one good game and equate it to a turnaround."

um, yes and no.

I didn't really see anything about it being reactionary to say two bad games are a slump.

As for a huge part of championship runs: "There's no discounting how Gasol's inside presence and basketball IQ have spurred the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two consecutive NBA championships, but..."


Well, you could have said he made the world in 7 days, but when you end with:
"Gasol still has more work to do to prove it isn't a fluke", that's all you remember.

Take your reader's reactions more seriously. Whatever the intent, the tone was off.

sorry.


Mark Medina, I agree with RANDOM LURKER !!

Saying one game shows you've left a slump is statistically justified by the fact that Pau's norm is playing well. That's why it is called a "slump;" it deviates from the norm. The bad games are the exception that proves the rule. But the rule remains . . . PAU CONSISTENTLY ROCKS !!!


GOOOooooooOOOOO LAKERS !!

Hey Mark, you do realize this isn't Pau's first playoff with the Lakers don't you? You have been reading too much Clublakers and internet sites. LA has been to three finals with Pau since getting him and could make it four this year. Yes, they got there because of Kobe, but Pau also played a big role so give it a rest.

I think some of you misunderstood what Sonny was saying. Tarugo was a troll-like poster here about 4 or 5 years ago. Sonny thought Adrian's posts were similar and that's all he was saying. Tarugo (I believe) was banned from using his handle, but I don't think the guy has been here for years... essentially since the Lakers started winning again.

MM,

You wrote, There's no discounting how Gasol's inside presence and basketball IQ have spurred the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two consecutive NBA championships, but his improved effort in Game 3 shouldn't be seen as a turning point yet. Gasol still has more work to do to prove it isn't a fluke.

Let's see; you're saying Pau's 3 consecutive NBA Finals appearance is a fluke because of his poor performance in a couple of recent games. I'm sorry to say this, but your I.Q must be pretty low to say this. Please don't make such asinine statements. Not only you generate articles like spam, the contents/analysis are deteriorating as well.

I'm kinda liking the idea of the Gasol brothers squaring off in the WCF

Oh, and once again, I was wrong with my trivia question yesterday. In fact I had it all mixed up...

Derek Fisher does NOT have the 3rd most NBA finals 3-pointers behind Michael Jordan and Robert Horry. I was watching a two year old stat and they didn't give the numbers...

Derek Fisher is tied with Horry for the MOST NBA Finals 3-pointers...

Derek Fisher - 57
Robert Horry - 57
Michael Jordan - 42

This season DFish will take over as the leading 3-point shooter in NBA Finals history.

**********************************
LOS ANGELES LAKERS GAME DAY
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WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS
***********************************

**************************************************
LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
**************************************************

April 24, 2011 Round 1 - Game 4
Venue: New Orleans Arena
Series: LA 2 - NO 1
Game Time: 6:30 PST
TV: KCAL, TNT

***********************************
LA TIMES LAKERS BLOG ROLL CALL
***********************************

>++
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\_(O)-(O)____________(O)-(O)___/


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All together now...May we stay focused and have the inner strength to reach our goal of ultimate victory. Keep us free from injuries and injustice.
Keep us strong, determined and give us the will and stamina to overwhelm any and all obstacles.
We are the Los Angeles Lakers, and we spread the FEAR.
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LOS ANGELES LAKERS 2009-2010 NBA CHAMPIONS!

LAKERS DYNASTY - THE NEXT GENERATION!

#17 cOMING UP!!!

The number of Pau's good games heavily outnumbered the bad ones. The recent 2 bad ones happened to be playoffs games hence they were magnified and much more noticeable. In the spirit of Easter, Pau can't be a good egg forever, at some point of time the good egg becomes bad, and the cycle starts again. Another point is Landry has been very active and agressive, he was good against the Lakers when he was with the Rockets too, but he should not have been able to bother Pau to the tune of avg. 8 pts and 5.5 rebounds the first 2 games. I gather Pau lost confidence somewhere along the line, and the importance now rests on the new found confidence that hopefully does not vanish anytime soon. Another thought about posts by Lakers haters, I have developed a good memory, recognizing their handles and therefore ignore the ridiculous, sometimes downright vicious, comments. My fav BS repellant is ignoring their posts. The flies will soon get tired of their posts that draw no reply and they leave.

Pau is no Mihm. MBenga cannot push him around.

GOOOoooOOOO LAKERS !!

he has earned himself a few 'get out of jail free' cards.

Posted by: Practice Season Police | April 24, 2011 at 12:42 AM

I would agree with that statement, especially in the game of NB-Apology.

This season DFish will take over as the leading 3-point shooter in NBA Finals history.

Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | April 24, 2011 at 07:47 AM

- That has to be the stat of day. Incredible.

Good morning Lakers Nation! Its game day!

And thank you LEWSTERS for that amazing roll call!!!

This question isn't really a serious one. Pau's our dog, a champion, until proven otherwise. That's it.

And he's had a lingering cold. He's just doing the Kobe Bryant "no excuses, admit no weaknesses" thing.

Next.

You know, Kobe didn't give Pau Gasol the label, "The Gladiator" for nothing. Do you think this is where Kobe got his inspiration for the name?

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

The highlight of my morning is being put on the Laker's Bus. Thanks LEWSTRS.
I predict winning a couple of beers on a bar bet over who has the most finals 3 pointers, Jordan or Fisher.
Folks up here understandably dig their Blazers, and the great Roy, so ignorance about the great Fish will work in my favor.
I most enjoyed the last game, and swore after his fighting over a few pics that my first NBA team jersey will have to be Fisher's with the number 2.
I might have .04 sewn on, just for the memory.
Go Lakers.

HAPPY EASTER LAKER FAMILY

He has risen and given us our salvation...May you have a blessed day with your family and loved ones...

If you want your daily fix of Pau Gasol bashing, read Medina or Turner at the LAT. Elden Campbell got better treatment in the rag than Gasol does.

LEWSTRS,

Rockin' game day prayer. Thanks! Gooooooooooooooooooo Lakers!

There is a difference between playing two bad games to start the playoffs and playing two incredibly passive and SOFT games. If you can't see that Pau's effort was very weak in the first two games, then you are blinded by Laker love and unable to see reality.

Pau is hugely skilled, and when he plays hard and aggressively he is the best power forward in the game. When he plays soft, he gets manhandled by the like of Carl Landry. In my view, the latter should never happen in the playoffs.

MM, I'm not sure why "Gasol has more work to do to prove it isn't a fluke." You seem to be privileging Gasol's marginal performance in this series over his track record of being an essential part of 2 championships. Shouldn't it be the other way around? It seems to me that his shaky performance in this series should be seen as as the fluke, esp given the fact that Landry has given Gasol trouble since that Houston series a couple of years ago.

You also state that a number of possible future opponents would give Gasol even more trouble. Whats the basis of this statement? With the exception of Perkins, I don't think any of the players you list are more physical than Landry. Landry gives Gasol problems because he has a strong lower body, and a low center of gravity. You throw in the respiratory infection and I don't think Gasol's performance against NO gives much of an indication how he will do in future series.

Thanks for the roll call Lewsters! Game Day - Sunday Whites!
Here's to the more Black Swan than White Swan from Pau tonight!
Great stat find on Fish, LTLF!

Mark,

You're way off on this post. Pau Gasol has nothing to prove. He's a two-time champion who logs more minutes than any other Laker. Three seasons of stellar play aren't nullified by a couple of subpar games.

MM
I now appreciate how difficult your job is. I am astounded by the near ubiquitous defense of Pau for a comment that questions Pau's toughness in playing against future opponents, when these same people would not defend Shaq, R. Horry, D. Fish, and even KB24 against similar sentiments. My comment to the teary-eyed Pau supporters, stop this double standard.

Most of the talking heads don't know anything about basketball. For example, for them to blame the first-game loss on the bigs--especially on Pau Gasol--when Paul went off for 33 points and 14 assists! Paul is a guard, guys, and the problem is that the Lakers guards can't stay with him. Then, in the second game, Kobe controlled him (which impacted Kobe's offensive output), so people picked on Kobe. Guys, Kobe won the game with his defense! The key to Lakers' success is, as always, tied to getting the ball to the bigs on offense and having someone in the backcourt slow Paul down. Lakers have nobody who is a consistent outside shooting threat, so stop jacking up 3s and giving the other team fast-break opportunities. Play smart and this should be a 5-game series.


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