Pau Gasol plays in Spain's victory over Germany
After sitting out Spain's preliminary-round loss Monday to Turkey because of what the team termed a "mild ankle sprain," Lakers forward Pau Gasol returned to the court in Lithuania on Wednesday, scoring 19 points in a 77-68 victory Wednesday by Spain over Germany.
"Important victory against Germany," Gasol tweeted. "Tomorrow we will rest and we'll start thinking about our next opponent."
That would be against Serbia Friday to be televised at ESPN3.com at 5:15 a.m.
Although I've argued that Gasol's participation in the European Championships will prove valuable in overcoming the problems that plagued him in the playoffs, it's hard to see how that will translate to how Gasol will mesh next season with his Laker teammates or Mike Brown's new system.
Still, here's one tangible sign beyond his point production that shows Gasol has rebounded from his poor 2011 postseason. Dirk Nowtizki, who lit up Gasol on nearly every opportunity and contributed to his frustration level, scored 19 points on less than 50% viewing. I wish my login issues with ESPN3.com weren't persisting so I could see this first-hand, but the box score alone at least indicates Gasol held his own defensively. It also shows that Gasol managed to overcome a slow start after missing his first four field-goal attempts.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Pau Gasol playing for Spain. Credit: Georgi Licovski / EPA