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Pau Gasol's postseason play largely led to Lakers' demise

61460348There he sat on the Lakers' bench Sunday, drained and frustrated, a blank expression on his face.

"Come on!" Pau Gasol yelled to no one in particular in the waning minutes of the Lakers' 122-86 Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The moment captured Gasol's ineffective playoff push in so many ways. He continuously talked about his need to be aggressive, remain calm and to elevate his play. But rarely did he ever back up those intentions on the court, delivering with the same tepidness as he yelled for his teammates to pick up the intensity and the same passivity that defined his on-court play. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Gasol's 13.1 points on 42.9% shooting he averaged against the Mavericks proved the main factor in the Western Conference semifinals sweep.  

The irony behind all this is Gasol had been the missing ingredient the Lakers needed to contend for a championship. Since the Lakers acquired him in February of 2008, they had appeared in three consecutive NBA Finals, won two consecutive championships and even made some believe he should've been the 2010 Finals MVP for his Game 7 effort when he posted 19 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Only a year later, Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson is suggesting Gasol, who's owed $57 million over the next three years, would be a good candidate for the Lakers to trade in a deal involving Magic center Dwight Howard, rapper Snoop Dogg is questioning his manhood via Twitter and Lakers fans alike are left wondering his value to the team.

Gasol's aforementioned accolades shouldn't be forgotten during his time with the Lakers and no one should suddenly wish the club had kept Marc Gasol, who's posted better numbers than his older brother during the 2011 NBA playoffs. But in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society that we live in, it wouldn't be surprising should Laker fans hold him in contempt. After all, some even argue Shaquille O'Neal doesn't deserve to have his Laker jersey retired, focusing more on the stops in Miami, Phoenix, Cleveland and Boston as well as his feud with Kobe Bryant over the fact that he was the main reason the Lakers won three consecutive NBA championships. Nonetheless, even when you account for the Lakers' inconsistent play, unreliable bench, Bryant failing to elevate his game, ineffective defensive rotations and the team's failure to close out games, Gasol's poor play proves to be the largest variable that led to the Lakers' demise.

61463325That's because Gasol's poor play created other problems that plagued the Lakers. His lack of aggressiveness and the emergence of Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood neutralized the Lakers' post presence. His frustration and inattentiveness on defense made it even easier for Dirk Nowitzki to hit ridiculously hard-to-make fadeaways and contributed to the Lakers' slow reactions on rotations. And his unreliability put further strain on Kobe Bryant to produce on offense, Bynum to carry the defense and many wondering what they should do about Gasol. 

The reasons were quite obvious. Everyone including Gasol acknowledged the fatigue wearing him down, an ongoing theme that dated to heavy playing time during Bynum's 24-game absence while recovering from offseason surgery. They all recognized the tentativeness. And Gasol denied Internet reports suggesting relationship problems factored into his inconsistent play. 

Just as Gasol's immediate comfort with fitting into the Lakers made a noticeable difference in helping them in three consecutive NBA Finals, his sudden drop in effectiveness made a drastic difference on the Lakers' chances to win. That's why the team couldn't suddenly work around his problems, appear indifferent to him or refuse to get him involved with the team. Instead they had to find any way possible to jump-start Gasol, ranging from Bryant calling him out publicly, the team giving him extra touches, Coach Phil Jackson berating him and thumping his chest on the sideline, Bryant and Jackson providing positive reinforcement and, in desperate measure, suggest that Gasol was getting unfavorable treatment from officials. None of those tactics worked, only adding further frustration as Gasol continued to experience the same struggles in each game. 

As discomforting and sorry as some had to feel seeing Gasol play at this level, none of the reasons for his sudden ineffectiveness should fly. He talked openly about the adjustments he needed to make. He acknowledged the problems affecting his psyche. And he vowed that he'd change course. But just like he did when he pleaded for a better effort as he sat on the bench with a tired and defeated look, all the gestures were just talk that he couldn't back with his play on the court.

--Mark Medina

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Top photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol takes a shot over Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd and forward Peja Stojakovic in the first half of Game 4 on Sunday afternoon in Dallas. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / May 8, 2011

Bottom photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol unloads a pass as he's triple-teamed by Dallas defenders (from left) Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during Game 4 on Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / May 8, 2011

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Pau Gasol has been made into a scapegoat for the Lakers 2nd round failure when in reality the problem lies much deeper.

Truth of the matter is that the Lakers players as a whole weren't prepared well enough by their coach to face a well studied Mavericks team. As evidenced by post game comments to the media, Andrew Bynum knows... The Lakers and the general media is just in denial.

Phil Jackson may well indeed be the greatest coach of all time, but it doesn't change the fact that he was flat out coached by Rick Carlisle who had his own team extremely well prepared.

Unvelievable! First at all I'd like to ask apologies for my english. I'm a spaniard, living en Madrid, Spain, so my english is not as good I'd like. I've already readed the news and comments about the Lakers defeat last night and all that I can say is ... you're a short memory country, at least in sports. I know the last year is in the past, and two titles in three years (and one nba's final) it doesn't be enough for the all Lakers supporters. Obviously Pau doesn't make a good play during play offs, and not a good season neither (except 30 first games more less) But in my opionion, the rest of the team have had a terrible season and a very bad play off games. What about Bynum the last night? Unforgivable the game's last night and unforgivable assault. I think the Lakers need some new players, especially in the guard position, and a couple of players in the forward and center positions as well. But be sure that if LA doesn't want Pau Gasol for more time, he'll find out other team in a short time. Here, in Europe, we've got a long history at our backs, and we've got a lot of mistakes, but one of them is not the short memory.

Many thanks for the opportunity to write what I think.

Greetings from Spain.

Paul Gasol needs to go. further Andrew Bynum cheap shot, was one of many cheap shots by both teams. I'm embarrassed the league allowed this series full of cheap shots to get out of hand. Dallas did not beat The Lakers, they beat themselves. quite frankly I don't see Dallas getting past the next round, because the next team they play won't be as fractured as this Laker team was.

It's easy for some people to say Pau has weak personality for he allowed himself to be affected by his personal problems. It's not typical of him to fade just like that in the playoffs. He learned his lessons well during the 2008 finals against Boston and came back strong; with his talent and high IQ in this game makes him one of a kind. I don't think its fatigue factor; it the reports are true, my heart goes with him. How many valiant men fell and died because of a woman? What would you do when you are in his place? Can you handle it? Trading Pau and Odom is not the answer to our quest for another rings but new coaching techniques, design plays, and better defensive coordinator to name a few. Look at what is happening in this playoff? Lakers, Magic, Spurs have great core players but why these teams are out? Jackson, Pops and Van Gundy are great coaches but it seems they are stuck with their old habits of coaching styles. In lakers case, how the hell Barea, Terry and Stojacovic combination destroys the LAKERS bench and Jackson was not able to adjust and solve this issue? One thing I noticed, old school coaches do not trust new players and that's what happened with the LAKERS. Another thing to consider really is our bench and PG guys know better than I do so i will not elaborate on this. I will not break up this core of the Lakers totally, and I still trust the Laker front office for they have been in this business even before we saw Kobe made his first basket in Laker's time for them to heal their minds and bodies...even valiant warriors need a good rest ...Lakers forever

CaptainJackSparrow is not a Kobe Fan. I always called Mamba the Garden Snake... Having said that I will defend Kobe probably the first time in my life.

Kobe kept Lakers in the game (Game 4) in first quarter. No one in Laker uniform could hit anything. Kobe comes back in 2nd quarter and lead is now 8 pts. And what I saw is the Lakers completely ignoring the primary playmaker. He was begging for the ball. Dude franchise players should not be clapping his hands and asking for the ball.

Even Igoudala gets more respect by his team.

Bynum as I said before is complete junk and now also a punk.

Coming back to Kobe... Now I hear some of trying to sell Kobe for Peanuts. What kind of people are you? I would never trade my star player for a championship. Never. And I think your next championship hunt or several of them still go through him.

I don't think Kobe is MJ's second coming but Kobe is still probably one of best closures in the game. Every star player has an up and a down. Pierce vanishes for 2 games and is back in the hunt again. The Three Divas (Lebron, Wade, & Bosh) vanished last game. You saw what happened to MVP Derek Rose last night. Look at Duranchula and Westbrook they took a day off as well.

Kobe did not look like Kobe but he still could have easily carried the team with a better game plan. the cast was more than enough to get to finals or even win it. They got tired after 3 long playoff runs and this one wore em out. Kobe's ankles, knees, and fingers all gave up on him but dude was still competing and complaining and making excuses. He fought and did the best he could. Sometimes u fall and fall hard but give him summer off and put some pick and roll offense he will get most of NBA teams next year. Give him good screens a quicker point gaurd and Kobe will be the BLACK MAMBA (God I hate saying it!) again.

I bet you if you get DOC RiVERS to coach LAKERs.. Screens for Kobe, Set plays for Kobe, Kobe in transition with his defense, Kobe on pick and roll.. possibilities are endless.

You will see a fourth kind of Kobe from now on.

1st Kobe under Shaq's shadow
2nd 81 point solo Kobe aka MAMBA
3rd Facilitator Kobe (last 2 championships)
4rth Kobe the leader

Kobe is not done my friend.


A perfect analysis of why Pau cost us this playoff series loss. I've said it all along, if you're knowledgeable about the game of basketball, and the Lakers style, you'll understand that Pau's poor performance caused a ripple effect that ruined the Lakers. If you're a cheerleader, you'll pass Pau's performance off as his "being tired", or that it really wasn't his fault, when it was, dammit.

I DESPISE Pau Gasol, and I have for the passed 3 years. Trade him NOW, Mitch.

Mitch is blowing off Magic's call for changing the team, and making excuses. Screw him. He's a bigger culprit than Pau. Look for the same Laker team and the same problems. Sorry Kobe.

I don't post alot here, but I'm a life-long die hard like the rest of you and am a regular daily reader. After getting over the anger/shock/embarrassment of yesterday (which I expected) and slept on it for a night, I have a few thoughts:

1) to the extent anyone thinks management can "blow it up" next year and return with Kobe + 13 new guys, you're just fooling yourselves. First, I don't think you would want that, and second, with all of our long term deals for older veterans, it is frankly impossible.

2) As bad as Pau was during the playoffs (and at the end of the regular season as well, if I recall), he definitely is a guy that we want to finish his contract here. He'll get it together for next season. Remember folks, he's basically played a whole extra season in the last four years. I don't hink anyone whose name isn't Kobe Bryant can do that and not be worn out. He needs some mental and physical rest, and he'll be back to being the Pau we all know and love next year.

3) Lamar is another guy we want to keep. He was outstanding all year and still has 2-3 good years left in him. He's a keeper regardless, in my opinion.

4) At most, we may have a couple of minor trades or end of the bench signings. Even our bench rotation - who raised the term "suckitude" to a new level this past three weeks - is coming back. Barnes and Brown both have player options, and Blake has two more seasons. They'd be fools to become free agents considering their play for the second half of the seasons. The only major move I see: I wonder if Fish doesn't retire on the "suggestion of management". He's 36 (is this right?). Even that, though, won't provide much relief 'cause management has no ability to make a major free agent signing assuming the rules are the same or more restrictive. Artest and Bynum - long term contracts.

5) Kobe will still be Kobe for the next 2 seasons - he was pretty good this year. His stats were the same as always when adjusted for the fewer minutes per game.

6) Orlando isn't going to do a straight up Bynum for Dwight Howard deal, and what other tradable assets do we have? It seems to me that draft picks are it. Maybe that's enough, maybe not.

In short (or long), I think relief for this team is at least a season away.

Thanks for Everything DF ... enjoy retirement. Bye Lamar ... you're a distraction. Grow up Bynum ... no excuse!! Howard for Gasol ... no.

Until Next Year

Laker fans, let us be real! Gasol, Bynum, or Odom won't be traded! Barring the playoffs, Gasol and Odom are not the problem. We would have not made the playoffs without them. OK. I think they were just wore down. It is hard to go to the Finals 4 times IN A ROW. That doesn't happen often. The Lakers & Celtics of the 80s- that's a different breed. I think this loss will be good for the Lakers-vacation/rest earlier than last 3 seasons which will help them come back recharged. Bynum should be healthier than ever to start the season- if there's a season. The Laker problem are in three areas: we need a quick starting point guard who can shoot the rock. In a perfect world, that would be CP3, but let's face it, NO is trying to keep their franchise in NO, so I don't think they will trade CP3. Besides, trading him will mean giving up a big man which I don't think LA is willing to do. But we can find a point guard that fits the need in free agency. Let's face it, any pt guard is an upgrade. It's time for Fish to come off the bench. Artest will be difficult to trade- he is older and does not have an expiring contract, but we need a quality 4. Ron come off the bench. And speaking of bench- this is the third area of need. We need some quality bench players, preferrably someone who can shoot the 3 from Dallas. This is VERY NEEDED! I say get rid of Blake, Brown and Barnes both have player options, but if they opt out, let them. Or if not, trade them when they opt in. Luke gotta go. Bye to Ratliff and Joe Smith. And if you can get something good in return for Ebanks and/or Character,go for it. These guys won't be Laker superstars, anyway. We need some shooters on the bench and a couple of proven defensive players. I think we can find what we need without blowing up the team. And last but not least, while I love Magic, he will have very little to do with the decision making in the offseason. I don't think you blow up a team after they don't make it back to championship. Yes,they lost in 2008, but they were not even expected to be there in the first place. I am confident Mitch and the Buss family know what to do. Laker Nation, we played inconsistent all year and maybe this early exit will be exactly what we need- early rest and a renewed hunger. Sometimes losing gets you hungry AGAIN. I look for the Lakers to be a beast again next year, when the season finally starts.

TROLL MAN, stick with this handle. I like your posts, but i disagree with you when you say some posters ruined this blog and now they are gone. I miss many of the bloggers who are gone now. -And now some thoughts about it-

I started posting here before the debacle in 2008, because many of the fair weather fans went away, and the real fans stayed here faithful to the Lakers team. The worst part of winning championships is that many newcomers believed that they were bigger than the blog -not the old ones-. So they started trolling many bloggers who take this blog too serious and can't separate their real beings from their thoughts. Maybe you trolled away many of them. You just said that you have many handles... or maybe you weren't responsible. You know better than me.

Many fans are here because they are furious. But they will go away soon. The coward vultures trolls who waited untill the end of this run, are being "edited", so we can talk now. In this blog i prefer failure than success. Success make people change, make others came by to benefit from it, and when it's gone, they turn their backs to you. Go away trolls, you weren't woman/man enough to post here when we were on top. Go away fair weather fans, it's time to be real fans now. Welcome real fans, this is your home.

I'll post something about our team later.


Insta post is good but remember "there's no freedom without responsability".
You can't have that freedom if you are not responsible for your sayings, and change handles to avoid the consecuences. The sign in is a good way to know the people and change this. It's possible to sign in and insta post then?

You explained later in the article that you aren't pointing Gasol as the only responsible for the sweep, but the title is tendencious. You can use that to sell newspapers, but we are in a blog and that's not a must.

Who said no team can beat us in seven game series???



"Last I checked, Pau didn't play Dallas 1 on 5 and lose 4-0 to them"

No, but the Lakers played 4 on 5 most of the series and lost 4-0.

Sometimes it was even worse with the Lakers playing 3 on 5!

The Kbros had 100% moderation and could share those duties amongst themselves. There have been definite benefits to Medina's style, and one of them is not having to wait literally 3 or 4 hours some days to see your post show up.

Many PRIVATELY owned blogs will give moderation privileges to trustworthy and high volume users to alleviate some of the burden. Not sure if that would work here, but an idea of what has worked elsewhere - of course there is the problem that LA Times is not a private blog but a public company if I'm not mistaken.

I also want to agree that the CONTENT here under Medina is clearly superior to what we had before him.

If Kobe is getting surgery, getting it done in the next two weeks would be awesome.

And Ron Ron's comments after the game were remarkably spot on. It's perplexing to me that he's so perceptive and yet couldn't get himself up to par in this series

Now, about the game.
In 2008 we lost because lack of defense. This year, the same. Last year, we won because of defense -the first time in this time with PJ i saw the Lakers playing serious D, although they used it sometimes the previous championship-


I can't understand that. And i blame it to PJ. They have Kobe, Artest and a shotblocker in Bynum. WHY NOT PLAY DEFENSE????


We lost to the pistons because of defense. We lost to the ceptics because of defense. And we won last year and defeated de ceptics because of defense. HOW OUT HALL OF FAMER COACH CAN FORGET THAT?

We need a coach that can play defense when it matters. And one that will not be afraid to pull out Kobe when he is not doing what he is being asked to, and still being respected by him.

My wish list: Sam Mills from Memphis if he can get got, CP3 and Dwight, Marvin Williams from ATL and JJ Redick, Sam Dalembert, JR Smith, keep Kobester, Trey Johnson, Ebanks, Lamar -- everyone else can kick rocks!

The photos say a lot. Apparently the Mavericks thought enough of PG to triple team him. Where was the open help? One player does not a team make. When the opponent is triple teaming someone, someone else has to be open. Dallas proved that. The difference was that Dallas had some perimeter shooters who could make baskets. The Lakers perimiter shooters were absent.

Yall give them too much credit saying the Lakers are the "best" but this year the best came up short...Every dynasty collaspes. You can only reign for so long. I dont blame Gasol for the lakers downfall, if you do, you have to blame Bryant, Bynum, Fisher,Odom, Artest, Blake, Barnes, Brown and everybody else because Gasol cannot had play by himself. None of them played to their best...look at the numbers. Terry,Barrea, and Dirk in the second quarter is the reason why Lakers couldnt get the lead afterwards. And emotions got to the best of the. It was a team contribution, not an I.

First I would like to congratulate the Mavericks for taking a well earned series. They played hard and smart and used their talents skillfully to defeat the Lakers. We have all seen what younger, quicker, better 3-point shooting athletic teams do successfully to beat the Lakers. I'm sure Mitch Kupchak will address some of these issues and make corrections before next season. That being said, I really have a hard time laying most of the blame on Pau Gasol. There is enough blame to go around for all the players. Other teams have found out ways to attack and defeat the triangle offense. It does help when you have the type of talent mentioned above. However, after being a Laker fan from back in the Jerry West days I believe the Lakers have just tuned out the coaching of Phil Jackson. If you remember, Pat Riley once said, after winning back to back to back titles, it was time for him to move on because he believed the players will eventually tune out the coaching if any one stays too long. It is time for another coaching philosophy with a more upbeat and progressive offense and defense. Sorry if I offended anyone. It is just what I have observed over all these years. Once again, good job Phil. Thanks for the championships. But time waits for no one.

Some of you people should not even post. The sheer ignorance of the comments made is childish, extremely speculative and subjective. Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, blaming him for Pau lack of performance in the playoffs is thoughtless. Then you should blame Kobe for Bynum ignorance and playing inconsistent as well; how about Ron Ron? How about Fish, this guy couldn’t guard a waste paper basket? And don’t forget the bench, we got nothing from them. Pau is a professional sports figure; it’s his job. DO you think out of all the NBA players in the games, he’s the only person to break-up with his girlfriend? Heck, Tony Parker got dumped, and his team had the NBA best record for a long time. But here’s the most important aspect of this, at this point, most of the information being printed are rumors.
The Lakers got out-foxed in this play-off. We never took advantage of the Mavs, partly because Pau was ineffective and Bynum tentativeness at times. We got out rebounded in the NO series, and we had the larger front line. Why, because of sheer hustle. They out worked us. The same thing here, but the MAVs coach is pretty good. He knew that Phil will run the Tri-O most of the time, which does not allow the offense to take advantage of the opponents weak linked. We should have killed Barrea when he was in the game. We should have pick and rolled him to death, but we did not. When we did, Pau or Bynum would stay on the pick to long, thus making ineffective. People this is a game that is more than stats, it’s a game within the game that really wins. We did not do any thing remotely close to playing at a professional level.


From ...
[Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom are totally whipped by their women. And all of this is on the eve of the worst playoff series in L.A. Lakers’ history. What an embarrassment this series and team has been.]

Gasol is soft, Andrew has bad knees, Odom is playing up 2 his potentials, PJ has overstayed his welcome, Kobe is a ball hog, Old man fisher should retire ... These are all issues that have been there in the past and this team still managed to win

If the rumors in d article above is true, would a better constructed team have won the championship this year with the same level of drama? Playoff basketball is war, you need to fight as a team, you need to fight for each other.

Still perhaps this gives LA a chance to clean house. Yes there's still an argument to be made for continuity based on the past success of our core group of players, but this is LA after all. A hit tv show in it's 4th year starts to get boring, a season of disastrous ratings is good enough reason 2 cancel the show.

I still can't get my mind off kobe's shot totals in this series ... He definately still fought hard, but just feels like he didn't want to put his neck out there for the team like he's done time and time again in the past ... he gave it his best shot but within the parameters of ensuring nobody could accuse him of derailing the series by playing hero ball throughout ...

Regardless of who's on the roster next year ... irrespective of my ties to the city of chicago and budding man crush on derrick rose ... I'm still going to continue to bleed purple and gold ... the 55 win bandwagon from way back still beats within as does the mamba within

Final verdict, LA needs to get younger not older ... so I say trade Gasol/Fish/Odom, that group is good enough to make a struggling team a playoff team or to give a competitive one championship aspirations ... in return LA should be looking for an athletic power-foward and a young pg ...

Z-bo and 1 of memphis young guards might be the answer ... Gasol gets reunited with his brother and Z-bo gets rewarded for a good playoff run by coming to hollywood ... throw in Jeff Vangundy to entertain us on the sidelines and we're back in business ...

thanks vanessa.
she destroys everthing she touches.

Things seem to be calming down here. That's a good thing.


You've had a rough outing. Thanks for all you've done.

Everyone else,

I'm very interested to see if LakerTom or KobeMVP888
have anything to say.

I admit to being fascinated by what will happen this offseason/before the
trade deadline.

I admit that I'm hoping for a lockout, because that would give Kobe more
time to heal/get surgeries.

The old saying is if it ain't broke don't fix it.The bench last year had more offense and energy than players added this year Barnes and Blake in particular.I didn't see the depth of the bench improve and it showed all year long not to mention the post season.The same team from last year would have made a different story.To see the Champs get swept like was a disgrace

Gasol was MIA this postseason and really after the Denver game when Nene took him down hard. He never really recovered from that hard foul (the same type Bynum should have used to take down Barea rather than the cheap shot he gave him). Gasol's issues was the primary reasons the Lakers were swept and he needs to reevaluate why he plays this game right now. He took the offseason off last year and it showed. Pau, take a two week vacation and then get back to working out hard this time. GM Mitch Kupchak also needs to work out this offseason by bringing the team a competent post player off the bench that can actually play, a quick, penetrating Point Guard and 2 three point shooters that can be used off the bench. If he does those things we don't need to trade for anyone.

If this franchise has any pride they will never let pau wear a laker uniform again.. Plain and simple he quit on the team during the playoffs... That is inexcusable no matter how u slice it. There is nothing to defend here. He showed no effort showed no heart no mental fortitude and just abandoned the team. For a soldier that's called desertion. I say prosecute this coward and ship him to fu**en siberia

Blame the white guy.

I highly disagree with the Gasol blame game. kobe,Gasol and Odom were all playing below their regular season stats and of those three, Gasol had the highest EFF nba stat rating. For the playoffs Gasol led the team in assists and kobe led the team in turnovers. The plan has always been to pass to the big guys down low. kobe chose to be solo scorer rather than team facilitator. kobe's expression when the game was starting, looked like he had gotten a big chewing out. I don't know if that happened, but its possible everyone released their anger in the lockerroom before the game started. Its Jackson's fault for allowing kobe to skip practices(as co-captain of team it is important to be at all team gatherings) and allowing him to stay in the games when he doesn't follow the game plan. The difference between an entertainer and an athelete is, the entertainer gives the crowd what they want to see, an athelete will realize that there are other players on the floor and if you're not making your shots you PASS THE BALL. Most of kobe's teammates yesterday had no choice, but to follow his lead and be an entertainer yesterday instead of being the fine athletes that the Laker teams have always had. Doesn't matter who the Lakers trade or who they receive in a trade, if the person is a big star, kobe will have a problem adjusting to that and the same thing will happen next year.

if kobe can't control his wife and her incursion into other players lives, then it is time for him to go. this isn't the first time vanessa has allegedly caused problems. so kobe, you wife cost you a sixth ring? what are you going to do about it?

The greatest disapointment this season is the way Bynum committed vicious flagrant fouls, not once but twice, the latter one was especially horrendous because the victim was a guard, a foot shorter than Bynum and maybe 100 lbs less. Bynum may have made the decision to get himself traded easier. The Lakers have gone to the Finals last 3 years, winning twice, that contributed to the expectation of the 3rd trophy in 3 years. In reality all good things must come to an end at some point of time, and the retooling begins. I was not happy that they lost to the Mavs but not deeply disappointed.

What a stupid commentary by Mark Medina. Are you blind, did you just watch the same Laker team I did, or are you just unwilling to admit the true problems because they are next to impossible to address. Pau played terrible, but think of it this way, with the emergence of Bynum the two big men's numbers combined are remarkable similar to the championship teams of past. So even with Pau's terrible play, if the Lakers had a team they might have survived or at least lost in less spectacular fashion. It is not the Power Forward/Center's job to defend the three point line or stop guard penetration (they are there for help but are not supposed to be primary defenders on a point guard). Pau Gasol had not part in the terrible shooting by the Laker guards and small forwards. Shannon Brown is worthless and can not hit an open shot to save his life. Without a signature postseason moment Derek just looks old and the only thing I remember about his playoff performance was allowing point guards, or whoever he had to be assigned to, free roam while missing crucial shots on offense. Steve Blake should have stayed home with the chickenpox becasue he never showed up. Matt Barnes never fully recovered from the knee injury and never provided the defense or scoring needed from him. Odom was inconsistent but what is new there. Ron Artest had a terrible second round and reminded everyone why Laker fans cringe when he shoots. Kobe Bryant played mediocre and should also share in the blame. The perimeter defense was terrible and the Lakers were lit up from three point range. But no, it was all Pau's fault. If he would have played better the Lakers would have hit all of those three's, Kobe would have had more games where he crested 20 points, Derek would have guarded his man, and the bench would have held their own. If you believe that then maybe you should give up your blog control to someone who actually watches the games.

I'm honored you chose to call me out when many other commenters make the same complaint. So yeah, I'm sorry I called your article apologist "sports writing." But that's how it reads (yes, I did actually read your article.) You may have mentioned many ways how Gasol's fade-out affected the rest of the team, but your entire point, and headline, serves to call Pau out and blame him for the sweep.

That's apologizing for the fact that the Mavs bench pretty much outscored the entire Lakers team. That's hypothesizing that Gasol ultimately had control over Kobe, Phil and the entire team, and it's not giving anyone else credit that they either A) stunk up the joint, or B) were once a championship team who by even the smallest stretch of imagination should have been able to make a better showing.

These guys are millionaire pros and they rolled over. If Pau really has that much influence over the team then something is seriously wrong.

You want to lay all the blame on Pau, go ahead, but it reads to me like scapegoating as a way to get a provocative column.

Regarding, Pau, I think you are all being very very unfair with he is to blame for two rings and also for this...... Come on........

Without Gasol, Lakers don't win Championships....

Period, end of story

Ballhog Bryant didn't do crap pre-Gasol...

Ballhog Bryant didn't do crap without Shaq too

Let's not forget.

Good points here. not to blame Pau fully...but mostly it was his play that hurt them. Going from all-star, 2nd best player on the giving 5-10pts a game or something???@!!?? but the internal problems sound like the biggest thing that sunk them. THEY HAD NO HEART THROUGHOUT THE PLAYOFFS. Like they stopped playing. Lamar's foul wasn't so bad. just a hard foul. if they started playing w fire early on...they could've set a tone...but instead they got punked.

Kobe had no fire... wasn't pissed they were getting beat down almost every game??? that's very un-kobe-like

Reality Check Time,

>>>We really missed Sasha! I would be happy to come back with the same front
>>>line but we MUST address the point guard problem either by trade or with
>>>the mid level exception.

And here's a reality check for you...

Steve Blake WAS THE BEST PG available at or below the MLE. That's the level of PG you can get for MLE money.

A good PG costs much more and their teams aren't willing to trade them for Luke Walton and scraps.

That is why there is talk that one of Bynum or Gasol or Odom might be traded. Those are the kind of pieces that teams MIGHT (not will, but might) be willing to take in trade for a quality PG.

Since I'm the undisputed king of proposing ridiculous trades, let me start with this one (assuming current CBA, or very close to it):

Lakers trade Andrew Bynum to Golden State for Stephen Curry and Andris Biedrins.

Golden State still has Monta Ellis at PG, and gets a BIG improvement in their front court.

Lakers get a quality young starting PG who can hit the 3, and a reliable backup C in Biedrins.

Or if Golden State would prefer to part with Ellis instead of Curry...

Pau Gasol for Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, and a first round draft pick (possibly lottery protected)

Paul should not become the scapegoat for the Lakers demise.

The reality is that the Lakers lost to the Mavericks due to bad coaching decisions and the lack of coaching by Phil Jackson.

Phil Jackson did not make the necessary personnel changes to combat the outside permiter skills of the Mavericks. Gasol, Bynum, Odom, and Artest cannot play defense against guards. This was exposed by the guards at New Orleans.

You cannot expect your big men to continually check the 3-point line. That is the job for the guards and the small forwards. I did not see Kobe run at the 3 point line.

Phil Jackson should have gave more minutes to Shannon Brown (the athlete). By putting a smaller line up of Kobe, Fisher, Shannon Brown, Artest and Bynum they would have made the difference. In addition, the Lakers were busy chasing Barea on defense. This is crazy. The way to get rid of Barea is to continually post up the little guy on offence. Back in the day teams got Spud Webb and Mugsy Bogues off the court by having their guards post up the little guys time and time again until the opposing coach took them off the court.

It was a poor performance of coaching by Phil Jackson. His time is done. He can only coach superstar talent, but cannot coach a team.

>>>Howard couldn't get out of the first round in Orlando and he was
>>>surrounded by great shooters there; how effective would he be in LA with
>>>the brick layers that play on the perimeter for the Lakers?

Well, for starters, Howard would have been a HUGE improvement over Bynum on the offensive end.

Take away Bynum's post season stats and add Howard's to the Lakers, and the Lakers win the first 3 games. Howard shoots a higher percentage than Bynum, scores more points than Bynum, and gets more rebounds and blocks than Bynum.

Bynum got a total of 3 blocks in the Dallas series. Howard would have turned some of those layups by Barea and Terry into monster rejections or fast breaks in the other direction.

>>>After finally playing an elite team in the second round of the playoffs the
>>>Lakers were exposed as the classless posers they are.

As opposed to the classless poser that Mark Cuban is or the classless poser that Kevin Garnett is or the classless poser that LeBron is.

The NBA is full of classless posers.

And it's generally the most ruthless of them that make it to the top.

here's the answer...Magic wants big changes...well a new coach is a pretty big change...duh.

1. new coach
2. trade bynum. the cheap shots are part of basketball really. big deal. although still can't see why a 7 footer can't make a legit play and block the ball from a 5 foot dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he actually played well in the playoffs...but he doesn't have the heart. I'm fine to see him go.
3. new/faster point guard.
4. couple good bench players (keep Barnes).


@Edwin Gueco -
1. Coach K has already said NO to the lakers THIS year!!

2. Your Howard and Paul scenarios are WAY off. kobe is signed for 3 more years at 30 mill, there is NO WAY you can sign a FA in that time. Don't see either Paul or Howard playing for the MLE.....while it may be possible to acquire ONE of those two, you cannot acquire both.

If you trade Bynum for Howard, Otis Smith should be fired!! Howard is FAR superior to Bynum and they could get two or three players for him. They have an offer on the table for him - I wish he would just sign it!!

If you trade Bynum for Paul, that weakens you upfront because you have to play LO at the 4 and Gasol at the 5 with NO backups!! AND NO already has Okafor!

If you trade Gasol for either one of them, KUPCHAK should be fired!!

Hope that helps you out, man, you've got to be realistic - kobe bryant and his insistence on 30 mill/yr has financially strapped your team for the next 3 years!!

>>>, but Kobe has dropped his number from regular season in scoring,
>>>rebounding and asists, but not his turnovers, he´s had his worst playoffs of
>>>the last 10 years.


So after all the WHINING and COMPLAINING and CAJOLING that Kobe needs to pass to Bynum and Gasol more, he did exactly that in the Dallas series - passed more and shot less (I think because of his ankle, but he'd never admit that).

Kobe had ONE GAME where he took 29 shots, and the Lakers only lost by 2.

The other 3 games in the Dallas series, Kobe passed and passed and passed. And the Lakers lost by bigger margins.

The only bad shooting game Kobe had was the last game, and it was because he was shooting out of desperation to try to keep the team in the game after Pau/Drew/Odom shot 1 for 4 in the first quarter.

And let me recap the early part of the 2nd quarter, when Dallas started building the big lead:

11:18 - Lamar turns the ball over
10:21 - Andrew makes a jumper (yay Drew!)
9:47 - Kobe misses a shot
9:07 - Blake makes a shot
8:30 - Pau bricks a shot
8:02 - Drew bricks a shot
7:32 - Artest makes a shot
6:54 - Kobe misses a shot
6:18 - Kobe makes a shot
5:33 - Drew bricks a shot

At that point, Dallas had built an 18 point lead. Yes, Kobe was 1 for 3 in there... but it's not like he was playing Kobe ball. Drew was also 1 for 3, and he was shooting from a lot closer. Pau was 0 for 1. Lamar had a turnover. Blake and Artest made shots.

So it wasn't like everyone else was letting Pau and Drew and Lamar down. In the stretch where the lead slipped away, Pau+Drew+Lamar scored 4 points while the other Lakers scored 7.

To be honest, I think the Lakers would have done better in this series if Kobe HAD played Kobe-ball and shot a lot more. When he shoots a lot, Kobe usually gets in a rhythm, and can carry a team for long stretches at a time. When he deliberately defers to his teammates, as he did in games 2, 3, and 4, it's a lot harder to take over if he needs to.


>>>Next Year's Roster:
>>>Center: Dwight Howard

Not until summer of 2012, if at all.

>>>Power Forward: Andrew Bynum

Andrew's not capable of playing PF.

>>>Small Forward: Blake Griffin

As if the Clippers would give him up... riiiiiight.

>>>Shooting Guard: (Kevin Durant if we get him) / Kobe Bryant

Sure, why not Durant with Kobe backing him up, as long as we're being realistic.

>>>Point Guard: Chris Paul

More reality, of course.


WHAT?!??!?! If you're going to go to such realistic detail in forming the starting lineup, why don't you continue with such realistic precision in forming the bench:

PG: Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
PF: Kevin Love, Amare Stoudemire
C: DJ Mbenga

>>>Kobe, if you cut your salary to half.... I will let give you shares of my
>>>internet company in return so that the Lakers can pay or recruit solid
>>>young players to help you win championships in the next 5 years

Note to you: Players can't change their contracts. Even if Kobe was willing to do what you ask here, he couldn't.

pau gat outplayed by gat outplayed by kidd. Kobe gat outplayed by terry...thats why u lost...this wont ever change cept maybe kobes matchup...

Add that ur bench gat outplayed by ur bench, in the 4 th ,they had way more clutch shooters and better defense esp from ther bigs..

Add ther outside shooting was way much better and u arrive at how u lost whc is far more than gasol..gasol gat all the calls in the finals game last yr.. Hes weak but why give odum a pass..

Ur need is a shooting ,penetrating pt gd..who can play marginal d. Look at wat paul did almost by himself. Pts from the sf position position too. And some youth w talent off the bench. Mitch is not a judge of talent wen it comes to gaurds n small forwards...

The kardashians are behind ur miseries..get odum outta ther..

Reading some of these posts is like stepping into in alternate reality. There are a handful of thoughtful, intelligent posters here who are obviously Lackers homers, but are still students of the game first. These educated fans look at the facts, make their judgments, and then post their opinions with a level head. This post is not directed at you. As for the other bozos on here that spew nonsense, delusional fantasies, and regurgitated noise, I can only wonder what league they have been watching.'s as easy as just "getting" Howard, D-Williams, or CP3 next season? Really? Have you numbskulls any understanding of the salary cap? Aside from that, do you really think that all the other NBA superstars are just clamoring to play with the 2nd son of the Almighty, Kobe De La Hoya? Ask Shaq, Malone, Payton, and now Gasol how much fun that is. The guy is physically a great player, but he is a cancer. An egotistical, spoiled, pouty, selfish cancer. I could give two squirts less about the glorified stats.......Kobe De La Hoya has never, and will never be the player that Jordan, Magic, or Bird were. Those guys made everyone around them better, night in and night out. Can the same honestly be said about Kobe? No my poor, simple little Vic "The Brick" disciples, I'm afraid it's gonna' take a lot of hard work on the Lackers management's part to get this ship righted. So, just trade Pau for Howard? Easy as that huh? Quick question......if you are the Orlando Magic management, do you seriously say to yourself, "Hmmmm, let me give up a younger, stronger defensive superstar who is only getting more and more dangerous on the offensive end, for an aging, fragile big man whose only forte is a sound offensive skill-set." C'mon folks, please try and deal in reality. As for the flugel-binder who posted the Lackers starting lineup for next season as-

C- D.Howard

Please tell me you're just joking........right? If you are not, then I would just like to say that I've been a Knicks fan since '85, and I was actually thinking our starting lineup might look a little something like this next year-


Does that put it a bit into perspective? Little bit ridiculous huh? As I said in a post some time back......this is not the Lakers. The real Lakers died some 15 years ago when the organization sold its soul and brought in Rodman, Phil, and Kobe De La Hoya. Great players and a great coach, but there is more to greatness than just physical or mental gifts. The "real" Lakers teams, (keyword being- TEAMS), of the '80s would've dropped 150 pts. on these selfish, chavala punks. Believe that.

A front line of the two best centers in the NBA (Dwight & Bynum) would b near impossible to score or rebound on inside. They would alway b a favorable post matchup also on offense (whoever the pf is guarding). Id b in favor of a Gasol Howard swap. a run at rudy gay would b good too, to give us another wing scorer and defender


Can I say this: Honestly, when I saw the Lakers lose in the preseason against Barcelona (I think) in Spain (I think), I knew this was going to be a strange year. And when they lost to Cleveland, even more strange. When I they lost 4 games in a row since the acquistion of Pau- strange, strange, strange. And to end the season on a 5 game losing streak- beyond strange. Bottom line is, we came into the season, though we started 8-0, playing inconsistent and it became a reoccuring theme throughout the year. Guys had too many outside interests and it looked like whatever Shannon had done over the summer to take Shasa's job, he stopped doing it during the season. I'm not sure if there is any truth to thing with Gasol, but if it is, he is really love sick or something. I don't think I've heard of a pro athlete that played as horrible as Pau played in the playoffs because of something with a girlfriend. Athletes have been devastated by the death of a parent, child, or close family member/friend, but was able to pick up the pieces and move on. That is amazing to me that Pau just went south. If it is a problem between Pau and Kobe, we will find out, because Pau will ask to be traded. If he asks, then we will know something was up. I look for the Lakers to rebound and be ready next year to get back. Hunger is the key and I think Pau will be hungry again, at least to redeem himself. And the rest of the Lakers will be hungry as well.

Can I say this: Honestly, when I saw the Lakers lose in the preseason against Barcelona (I think) in Spain (I think), I knew this was going to be a strange year. And when they lost to Cleveland, even more strange. When I they lost 4 games in a row since the acquistion of Pau- strange, strange, strange. And to end the season on a 5 game losing streak- beyond strange. Bottom line is, we came into the season, though we started 8-0, playing inconsistent and it became a reoccuring theme throughout the year. Guys had too many outside interests and it looked like whatever Shannon had done over the summer to take Shasa's job, he stopped doing it during the season. I'm not sure if there is any truth to thing with Gasol, but if it is, he is really love sick or something. I don't think I've heard of a pro athlete that played as horrible as Pau played in the playoffs because of something with a girlfriend. Athletes have been devastated by the death of a parent, child, or close family member/friend, but was able to pick up the pieces and move on. That is amazing to me that Pau just went south. If it is a problem between Pau and Kobe, we will find out, because Pau will ask to be traded. If he asks, then we will know something was up. I look for the Lakers to rebound and be ready next year to get back. Hunger is the key and I think Pau will be hungry again, at least to redeem himself. And the rest of the Lakers will be hungry as well.

I haven't read through all the comments, but it's worth pointing out that Kobe Bryant's shooting percentage for the series was only 3% better than Pau Gasol's. It's too easy to pile onto Gasol. He had a bad series, but he wasn't solely or even mainly responsible for the loss to the Mavericks.

A more nuanced and thoughtful analysis of the series loss and defensive problems that plagued the Lakers is @ Analysis there highlights the huge defensive difficulties posed by guarding Dirk. His shooting ability means Lakers defenders never rotate off of him to help cover the ball-handler; because many (most) Maverick offensive plays are initiated with a Dirk screen, he's either able to draw and pass out of double teams if he gets the ball; or the dribbler can shed his defender and shoot an open 5-7 foot shot.

Pau's troubles are the easy (and cliche) story. Most of those blaming Pau for the Laker series loss are falling back on the 'soft European' cliche. Ironically, the real reason they lost is because of Dirk - who for years has gotten the same treatment by the sports media.

LA performed as I knew they would.

Like wimps.

If this core of players is back next season. my days as a Laker fan are over. its obvious Fisher must go, or be the 2nd option. Fisher has a bi ego , so he won't go on his own. Gasol or Bynum must go , don't really care which one.

If Lakers come back with this core players they will be toast..

Carlos. Please keep your rantings to yourself. Thanks.

its funny how Lakers have so many haters who make comments like I knew they would lose or choke or whatever. There is no other team in the history of the NBA that has been more consistent with winning that the Lakers. Yes, I know Boston has more rings, but LA's rings span across different decades. Boston has 17 rings with only 4 of those rings won from 1980s to 2009. And they hadnt won a ring since 1986 before 2008. But it amazes me how the people say they expected Lakers to lose. No, you should expect your team to lose since all other NBA teams are inconsistent winners, if they are winners at all. Actually, you can expect the Lakers to be in the mix every year- even if not champions, they rarely miss the playoffs. I think they have only missed the playoffs 8 (EIGHT) times in their history. That is amazing. So all you haters, see you next year in the playoffs. If your team gets there!

I stand corrected. Lakers have missed playoffs a total of 5 times. How many teams can say that? None.

It is interesting to me that Gasol who had to work overtime and get beat up all the time Bynum was out is blamed for this failure in achieving the championship. Kobe is great but he very often goes to save a game and messes up the offense flow to the point it is feckless. He forgets to assist which leaves people standing around wondering if they have to rebound or not, instead of being ready for desperation and unusual pass that don't work. Artest works hard and can be highly effective at times, no one on that team has been a steady consistent performer whether due to illness or injury or whatever. Let's give them all a break and say that they just got worn out by aging, injury problems, and drama and could not climb to victory in this championship series.


3rd attempt to post here in 3 days without getting published, do you need an Inner Circle membership Card or something?

Let's see First one ended with DUMP PHIL and, Go Lakers. and that was Before the 4th game debacle. We die hard Laker Fans have enough Humble Pie on our plate to last 6 months.

By then, I hope, Phil will be comfortably RETIRED FOR GOOD! along with M. Kupchak because those two have Bred and Led one of the best NBA teams from Showtime, to Sideshow.

Let's be frank, Phil won all those Rings due to the LUCK OF THE DRAW. He was handed 3 Dynamic Teams in his career and he basically sat on the bench and watched as they dazzled

It just not fair to put all blames on Gasol. He deserved at least co-MVP on last year final. He must had used all his energy at regular season while Bynum on injury list. Kobe didn't dominate the game like he used to. I like Dallas. Go all the way.... Dallas.

I've been a fan since the 80's, and i honestly think the combination of Fisher and Blake is the weakest pair of PGs the Lakers have had, at least in the last 30 years. Getting Chris Paul or D Williams isn't realistic... a mid-leve PG like Aaron Brooks from Phoenix or Ramon Sessions from Cleveland is much more likely to happen, without having to give up too much. Unfortunately, we're stuck with Artest, Blake and Walton's contracts.

Sometimes you have to start at the top. Phil Jackson could not have looked at that roster and believed they could make it through these grueling playoff series. Mitch Kupchak rolled the dice from day one believing that Matt Barnes and an ancient Joe Smith and Derek Fisher could fill their roles. They just got exposed plain & simple. Phil has forgotten what made the Bulls so great other than Michael and that is role players. Somebody has to be able to hit a damn open shot off the bench. There are guys in the league who can fill these roles but Mitch has to go get them. I guess no one can accuse Stern rigging series for ratings because I will be skipping the Western Conference Finals.

The modern NBA game is inside-out. While apparently Gasol's dwindling role was due to off-court issues, his main problem was that he is a finesse player who needs space to operate, as someone else on this thread pointed out. The utter collapse of the perimeter shooting and the lack of foot speed on the perimeter on defense are more to blame for the failures than Gasol.

What would I do if I was Mitch and Buss? I'd put everyone on the block potentially except Kobe and entertain offers. I'd prefer to keep Andrew Bynum who, despite his cheap shot at the end of game 4, still played better than anyone on the Lakers in the playoffs, is young, and has tremendous upside potential. The Lakers need a quick, penetrating PG and sharpshooters from the outside along with a big guy inside and Kobe. That's it.

Ariza should never have been traded and as much as I like Artest, he's slow, prone to dumb plays at times, and extremely inconsistent in his shooting. The Lakers need young legs to penetrate and prevent penetration and they need people who can consistently hit from outside. If those things are there, then Gasol can do his thing inside. But if the rumors are true about friction between him and Kobe's wife, then it's best if Gasol goes somewhere else.

The Lakers have a huge number of players with which to deal and can be contenders again for the title right away if they make the right trades.

Bad losers, you lakers.
All the worst things human beings can show appear when you lose: hate, blindness and even racism! Pau a "caucasian"? "Pout Gasol"? Gasol the one and only to be guilty?

Excuse me men, but sport has the same value of a s..t if you ignore acts like Bynum's and spum the "finesse".

I do really hope Gasol come back to Europe. You don't deserve him.

There are many of us who would not play arm-chair GM if the moves made any logical sense. Artest should have been one and done for his services after last year. Now what do you do with him? His position is a huge liability because he has no consistent offensive punch. The Lakers must get quicker and have a guy who does not mind sacrificing his body for rebounds and loose balls. That guy does not exist on this current Laker squad. Losing in this shameful manner is a good thing in a way because it forces them to take the blinders off and see the team exactly as it is instead of fooling themselves that the "BIGS" were going to be enough. I mean these are the Los Angeles Lakers. When the trade deadline came around I knew they were going to get that shooter and another "young" role player. OH well......

I think it's a cheap analysis to focus all the blame on Pau, when the Lakers allowed 20 3 pointers in game 4 and Dallas has shattered the record for 3s in a 4 game series.

Is it too much to ask that your perimeter players like Blake, Fischer, Brown or even Kobe be blamed for that or is it also Pau's fault?

Paul Gasol or Andrew Bynum for CP3 (straight up trade). Salaries match.
Or Lamar Odom + Steve Blake for CP3.

CP3 should wear purple and gold.


I would put the blame more on the shoulders of the poor or inconsistent guard play. It's the guards that are the first line of defense against the 3 point shot and that is what KILLED the Lakers. 3-point shots brought Dallas back in Game 1 and Dallas' 3 point shots destroyed the Lakers in Game 4. The prrof is in the video. Look at how how for some inexplicable reason Laker Guards were diving into the paint to help out when it was the their centers and power forwards that were supposed to provide the cut-off defense. In doing that Laker guards would leave their players completely uncovered. Guards too slow to run back and cover the 3-point shot, guards making poor defensive decisions and guards again and again leaving their men open. Dallas forwards also hit big threes. So a little of that should fall to Kobe and Artest and Barnes defense as well. Maybe the lack of trust came from the fact that Lakers guards and small forwards didn't trust their big men to defend and set up walls in the paint, and that left Dallas guards and small forwards and Nowitzki open all day long to hit threes. Poor discipline on defense, and some low-basketball IQ cost the Lakers everything this year from day one. But the Lakers have been beating everyone for the past two years with superior talent, superior skills and superior athleticism AND NOT with high basketball IQ. So throw age into the mix along with low defense discipline and poor guard play and your have the end of a mini dynasty. It's time to move on to the next Laker era. I've been a Laker fan since 1980. Let's relax, it's just basketball, people. Thank you Lakers basketball organization, you will always be my team!

@ Sy - Your analysis is basically right but for the 'inexplicable' part re: help down low. Nowitzki shot 59% in this series and is an excellent passer. Ergo: lots of help down low, lots of open 3's.

To get back to Pau's performance, briefly: it's astonishing how much blame is heaped on him during poor performances, and how little credit he gets for wins. Game 7 of last year's final, Pau shot a very poor 37%. However, that was still 12% better than Kobe: an abysmal 25%. Overall the Lakers shot about 35% from the field, but still beat Boston, which shot over 40%.

What made the difference for LA? Many, many more rebounds, particularly offensive rebounds - 23 to Boston's 8. And Pau was, by far, LA's leading rebounder (total and offensive). So he was a decisive factor in LA's victory, but Artest got most of the credit for that win.

No mention about Pau's contribution in that win from most writers, including Medina. Just lots of ink about Artest and Kobe's "head-scratching" performance.

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