FIBA European Championships: Pau Gasol of Spain scores 20
I'd love to offer substantial analysis on Pau Gasol's 20-point performance in Spain's 87-73 victory Thursday over Portugal in the preliminary round of the FIBA World Championships.
But there are a few problems and it has nothing to do with sleeping through my alarm clock set for the game's tip time at 5:15 a.m. Knowing I could use the trusty ESPN3.com replay device since I use Time Warner Cable as my Internet provider, I figured I could just enjoy the replay. Instead, I just encountered bureaucratic nonsense that I don't really have an account with them even though I pay a monthly bill.
So here are the basics: Gasol has scored at least 20 points on back-to-back games to open the European Championships. Though it's hard to correlate success in the European Championships to next season because of the differing competition, it's still important for Gasol to continue having good outings.
He maintained to The Times earlier this week that "I do not think there's anything to prove" after a disappointing 2011 playoff performance. Fair enough. His track record with three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, two back-to-back titles and remaining one of the league's top centers proves impressive enough. But as much as the national team's performance is unrelated to how Gasol will mesh again with his Laker teammates or even Mike Brown's new system, playing for Spain completely relates to how he'll overcome the negative psyche that plagued him in the playoffs.
In the meantime, I hope I can resolve my log-in issues so I can catch Gasol when Spain plays Britain on Friday at 5:15 a.m. I'll be sure to set my alarm clock.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Spain's Pau Gasol, left, drives around Darius Songaila of Lithuania during a friendly match on Aug. 18. The Lakers forward could be spending a lot of time in Europe if NBA labor negotiations fail to lift the lockout before the scheduled start of the season. Credit: Valda Kalnina / EPA