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Category: Pau Gasol

Little clarity provided about Pau Gasol's role

The Lakers' front line remains so talented that Pau Gasol roared something that the Orlando Magic might want to tack on its bulletin board.

"I don't think Dwight Howard is that much more talented," Gasol said, "than me and Andrew in the post."

Yet, when it came to talking with Coach Mike Brown about his hope to have more of a low-post presence than simply facilitating, Gasol suddenly became silent.

"I'll let the coaching staff make their own judgements and coach," Gasol said. That's what they're here for, they're here to coach and decide what's best for the team."

What that entails remains unclear.

With the Lakers (10-8) entering their game Wednesday against the Clippers, Brown remains just as vague on whether he'll restructure his offense so that the Lakers feature Gasol more in the offense. He only said that "depended on the flow of the game." Brown gushed about Gasol's ability to score in the post and facilitate, still remaining excited about his season-high 10 assists and zero turnovers in the Lakers' 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers. And when it came to determining whether Brown will add more sets featuring Gasol or simply have the offense react to how opponents are defending them, Brown mentioned it was a "combination of both."

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Lakers have plenty of issues to deal with on offense

 

The TImes' Ben Bolch explains why Lakers forward Pau Gasol wants to work more in the post

 

--The Times' Ben Bolch explains why Lakers forward Pau Gasol wants to work more in the post. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr notes Derek Fisher's hope that the Lakers maintain a determined attitude through their three-game losing streak. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky explains why it's unlikely the Lakers will make any minor changes to their roster. 

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe says he loves it when Gasol runs the fast break. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford notes that the Lakers took the day off on Monday. 

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell analyzes the Lakers through 18 games. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's wondahbap credits Kobe Bryant as the player of the week.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano breaks down the Lakers' offense. 

--Lakers Nation's Nadya Avakian argues that the Lakers lack an offensive identity.

Tweet of the Day: "Just saying: Pau spent a lot of time outside the paint yesterday during a 2Q stint with both Bynum and Kobe on the bench." -- ZachLowe_SI (Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "This is the dilemma ... having a nice guy like Pau avoids friction with the alpha male ... but nice guys rarely demand the ball in the post aggresively ... I don't think Kobe will refuse those who demand the ball as long they make the play ... on the other hand having team mate like westbrook in OKC could create potential frictions ..." -- Binsar Sitorus

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Pau Gasol is fouled by Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen while receiving a pass during a game at Staples Center last month. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Pau Gasol wants more work in the low post

The timely behind-the-head pass that earned Andrew Bynum a trip to the free-throw line epitomized Pau Gasol's strong chemistry with his fellow 7-footer. His constant passes to Kobe Bryant as he cut toward the elbow epitomized Gasol recognizing Bryant's sweet spots. Finding Matt Barnes penetrating across the lane for a one-handed slam showcased Gasol's strong court awareness.

Gasol was happy with his season-high 10 assists and zero turnovers Sunday against Indiana. The only problem: Gasol isn't happy for reasons beyond the Lakers' 98-96 loss Sunday to the Pacers, current three-game losing streak and 10-8 record.

Gasol's stat line of eight points on four for 12 shooting against Indiana represented an ongoing trend where he's struggling with his midrange jumper and establishing post position. It also reflects the Lakers' tendency of making him more of a facilitator and less of a post threat.

"I would like to get a little more inside myself," Gasol said. "I always like to get different looks and be able to attack from different angles."

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Lakers lament late-game breakdowns against Indiana Pacers

Out of nowhere, Lakers guard Derek Fisher swiped the ball from Darren Collison's hands and the Lakers appeared ready to draw up a game-winning play.

Instead, the Lakers improvised with disastrous results. After encountering multiple defenders, Kobe Bryant made a baseline pass to Pau Gasol, who immediately gave it back to Bryant as he cut to the right wing. Bryant beat another double team by sending the ball up to Fisher.

"I didn't want their defense to get set," Brown said of not calling a timeout. "I started to call it and then I pulled back. Obviously in hindsight, I should've called it whether Kobe had the ball or not."

The result: Fisher drove into the lane and appeared to air ball a floating shot in the lane that went out of bounds, denying the Lakers a potentially game-winning play in their 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers. In reality, the play was actually a lob to Bynum, who like everyone else thought Fisher was putting up a shot.

"I probably should've looked to try to finish it," Fisher said, "and then maybe allow [Bynum] the opportunity to get an offensive rebound."

That didn't happen, and it represented one of many late-game miscues that shows the Lakers (10-8) have problems beyond their three-game losing streak. They still don't know how to execute on the court.

After Collison's free throws on the ensuing possession gave the Pacers a 97-94 lead with 8.7 seconds remaining, the Lakers blew another late-game play. Gasol dumped off a pass to Bryant as he curled to the top of the key. With no one else appearing open behind the perimeter, Bryant launched a long three-pointer from straight away. But the shot hit back iron.

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Five things to take away from Lakers' 98-96 loss to Indiana Pacers

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1. The Lakers suffered late-game miscues in their 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers. There's lot of plays that the Lakers could've executed better at the end of the game. Matt Barnes' missed three-pointer could've given the Lakers a definitive lead in the final minute. Pacers center Roy Hibbert grabbed a late-game rebound and made a shot over Andrew Bynum. Derek Fisher air-balled a floater and Bynum let the loose ball slip through his hands. Lakers Coach Mike Brown didn't call a timeout on that sequence. Kobe Bryant missed a long three-pointer that would've tied the score with 2.4 seconds left.

2. Pau Gasol is playing too much of a facilitator. Credit Gasol's versatility and ability to adapt. With Bynum an increased role in the post, Gasol has relied on his his play-making abilities and mid-range jumper to remain relevant. The former quality proved to be magnificant as Gasol dropped 10 assists, and could've had 11 if his Bynum converted off his one-timed behind-the-head pass. But his eight points on four for 12 shooting left a lot to be desired because most of them came off mid-range jumpers. It appears Gasol's losing his aggressiveness to score, while relying too heavily on his ability to facilitate. 

3. Where's the Lakers' perimeter defense? This game wouldn't be close if the Lakers defended the perimeter. The Pacers stayed in contention, thanks to a 10-of-18 mark from three-point range. That included Indiana scoring 35 points in the second quarter and going on an 18-12 run after most of the starters entered the lineup at the 6:13 mark. While the Lakers' defensive communication and help looked sharp in the paint, they remained inconsistent on closing out. 

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Lakers draw on 2011 playoff exit as motivation against Dallas

All the shuffling personnel and coaching changes trace back to one memorable moment seven months ago.

The Lakers lost in a four-game sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals, prompting more urgency in the team's front office to make roster changes. Phil Jackson's far-from-glorious last chapter in an otherwise storied career convinced ownership to move far away from his influence in hiring the next coach. And the Lakers were left stewing throughout a prolonged off-season, wondering where it all went wrong.

So of course, the Lakers (9-5) have attached extra importance to hosting the Dallas Mavericks (8-5) on Monday at Staples Center.

"I know everyone says it's just another regular-season game," Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "It is, but it's one of those regular-season games that will be a little more exciting. You want this a little more than most of the other ones."

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Lakers have trouble reaching Lamar Odom

The Lakers' locker room appears less jovial. The team's bench remains at worst unproductive and at best inconsistent. The reality television show cameras no longer are present.

But there is another tangible reminder of how much life has changed for the Lakers without Lamar Odom: Nearly all of the phone calls that Pau Gasol and Luke Walton have made to Odom lately have gone unanswered.

"He doesn't answer his phone," Walton said. "His voicemail is always full."

Odom's relationship with the Lakers organization became strained after the team included him in a three-team trade centered around Chris Paul, a move the NBA rejected. So much so that the Lakers accommodated Odom's request for a trade and sent him to the Dallas Mavericks. But that hardly applies to Odom's former teammates, who look forward to hosting the Mavericks on Monday at Staples Center.

The game marks the first time this season that the Lakers will face the team that swept them in the Western Conference semifinals last season, and it also will be the first time at least for some of the Lakers players that they have talked to Odom for a while.

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Lakers' offense features little chemistry

With his arms pointing out toward the block, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hoped Pau Gasol would cut across the lane to receive an entry pass. Instead, Gasol missed the body language, Bryant's pass went into traffic and the Lakers turned the ball over.

With his eyes darting toward the baseline, Lakers center Andrew Bynum shouted to Jason Kapono about moving into a passing lane on the perimeter so he could kick out of a double team. Nothing happened, so Bynum settled for a poor left hook that hit off the rim.

And with Bynum established on the low block, Lakers guard Darius Morris made perfect eye contact with him. But Morris' entry pass went directly toward Bynum's ankles instead of his hands.

These plays may appear isolated but they represent a much more complete picture of the Lakers' fragmented offense in their 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers, more than even Bryant's 42 points on 14-for-28 shooting. Regardless of whether Bryant fired good looks like he did in the second half or remained trigger happy in the first half, a constant remained. Despite the Lakers' Big Three in Bryant, Gasol (14) and Bynum (12) each cracking double figures, the offense hardly looked in sync. 

The Lakers mostly blamed the loss on the 50-42 rebounding disparity, particularly the 17-11 deficit on the offensive glass. But that effort is an anomaly compared to the rest of the season and arguably can be attributed at least partly to the Lakers playing five of their league-high 14 games in the past week. The Lakers' chemistry on offense, however, has remained flimsy and unpredictable all season. 

"It's moving in the right direction, but we have a ways to go," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "We don't have a great feel of what we want all the time when it comes to different options. Sometimes when we forget for a second or third or fourth option then we have a tendency to look for someone to help us out. the guy who can always help us out is Kobe. Thats the thing we have to make sure we keep trying to guard against."

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Lakers offer incomplete picture through 10 games

The Lakers' 6-4 start marks their worst 10-game beginning since they opened the 2005-06 season with Smush Parker at point guard and went 4-6. There are plenty of positive and negative developments as well as a slew of uncertainties that make it hard to see what happens next. 

The Good

1. Work Ethic — This team's identity immediately flipped into a grind-it-out team partly because of Mike Brown's coaching style and partly because of the uncertain transition period. The Lakers have high expectations and the execution has been far from pretty. But it's nice for a change to see the Lakers actually trying in every single game.

2. Kobe Bryant's shooting — It's beyond comprehension how Bryant's been able to adjust his shot and go 49% in the past four games despite the torn ligament in his right wrist still ailing him. But he somehow does it.

3. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — Bynum stormed out the gate strong and showed more offensive aggression. Meanwhile, Gasol has adjusted nicely by becoming a facilitator and maintaining a consistent midrange jump shot.

4.Half-court defense — Expect plenty of free-taco nights. The Lakers have allowed only 90.7 points per game, fifth best in the league.

5. Josh McRoberts — He doesn't exactly replace Lamar Odom, but his hustle and ability to hit his shots   has proved infectious when he's in the lineup. 

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Mike Brown admits struggles in handling compacted schedule

As he headed toward the trainer's room Monday, Lakers guard Derek Fisher simply shook his head. 

The Lakers' game tonight against the Phoenix Suns marks the second contest of a five-game stretch this week, leaving them with a late-night flight to Utah for Wednesday's game and Monday and Thursday as the only practice days. A reporter pointed out that next week's schedule of games against Dallas (Jan. 16), at Miami (Jan. 19) and at Orlando (Jan. 20) at least gives them four practice days. But that hardly assuaged Fisher's concerns.

When Coach Mike Brown stepped out toward the Lakers' practice court, Fisher said the following within earshot: "This week, we say we wish we had more practices, but when the practices come next week, we're going to say we need more rest."

Brown, Fisher and a small group of reporters laughed at the thought process, but it epitomizes an approach to this year's compacted schedule that Brown admits he's struggled handling. 

"I've been trying to teach and learn and all that, while not trying to do too much," he said. "But I have done that at times."

That's included three-hour practices. A few that were open to reporters included hourlong shooting sessions. After training camp started Dec. 9, the Lakers didn't have a single day off until Dec. 28, after playing three games on consecutive nights.

Brown initially wanted an even more intense schedule, but scrapped some of those plans. Instead of having six two-a-day sessions during training camp, the Lakers had three. Brown reduced the playbook to a third of its original size, and he has tried to limit recent morning shootarounds to no longer than 90 minutes. 

"We knew it was going to be a challenge," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. We knew we would face adversity first. We knew all that coming in."

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