Blog Entry

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

Posted on: February 8, 2008 11:01 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. -  Pau Gasol didn't care about Phoenix's acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal. Obviously, he took note of it, thought it was interesting that people felt it was a move made in part to counter his presence in a Lakers uniform, but as far as his thoughts about whether it can work or not, he's frankly not interested.

"That's their business.  I'm trying to focus in on my day-by-day thing and what I can do to help my team in the situation where I'm at," Gasol said after dropping 30 points on the Orlando Magic to win for the second time in three games since coming over from Memphis "If it works for them, good. There's a lot of doubts and things going on with them. They're going to have to figure it out on their own. I'm not really going to worry about it."

What Gasol is worried about is getting to the All-Star break, resting his body for the season's stretch run after landing right in the middle of the Lakers nine-game, 16-day road trip. He still hasn't been greeted by warm cheers at Staples Center, still hasn't gotten love from Denzel Washington or Jack Nicholson. L.A. has had one-and-a-half practices since Gasol joined them and those have basically been walk-throughs, so the majority of his learning has been on the run. He didn't disagree that it was similar to rejoining Spain for international competition after the NBA grind, meshing with teammates that play in different teams or even different leagues to play a different style of basketball altogether.

If there's one reason Gasol's transition has been so seamless, it's that he's a 7-foot basketball player. He's a phenomenal passer, an effective outside shooter, boxes out well, understands positioning and moves like a small forward. All that has come together to allow him to join a complex offense and fit in without missing a beat.

"You've got to give him a lot of credit for that. To come into a complex offense like ours, not knowing anybody here, not playing with any of us before, he's done a great job of studying film and using his talents to fit in. When we watch him play you kind of forget that he's only been here for a week. He makes the right cuts, makes the right reads, passing the ball great, getting everyone involved. That's what this offense is all about, " Luke Walton said. "You couldn't ask for a better fit as far as someone of his skill and talent in this offense."

The Lakers are now two-thirds of the way into this grueling road trip, one that has seen Walton and Kobe Bryant having to play through injury. Bryant shot 11-for-26 and showed some signs of discomfort due to his injured pinkie, but loves the fact that Gasol's arrival has been the equivalent of a strong sip of  Espresso.

"It took a big load off for everybody," said Bryant. "As you saw, his presence in the post, being able to get Dwight into foul trouble. It makes our job a little easier."

I asked Gasol if he was finally going to break through and win a playoff game this year, the equivalent of asking Tracy McGrady if he's finally going to get into the second round and got a few chuckles.

"I've never been in this situation but my mentality is to go game-by-game, go after the division and prove day-by-day what type of team we are. Hopefully we're going to win," Gasol said. "My goal is not to win a playoff game. My goal is to win many. My goal is to help this team get as far as we can get."

Early returns suggest it will be much further than he ever could've dreamed of getting with Memphis.

An interesting side plot occurred when Phil Jackson lost his patience with second-year guard Jordan Farmar various times in the fourth quarter, getting in his face over not rotating over to a wide-open Keith Bogans 3-pointer that pulled Orlando within 100-98. Farmar was berated for about 10 seconds before Jackson turned his attention to convening with his staff to get the team back on track. Meanwhile, Farmar took a seat on the Lakers bench while Derek Fisher took his place. He never returned.

Walton, who has had his share of growing pains under Jackson's tutelage, understood where both parties are coming from.

"It's frustrating, but Phil's record speaks for itself, so he obviously knows what he's doing. Jordan realizes that but he still gets mad like any player will, but once time passes, you calm down and realize that Coach is just trying to help us all grow," Walton said. "It definitely takes time to get used to but he's a great coach. He's one of those coaches you want to play for, but it takes sometime to get used to it, to be mentally strong to handle the stuff he does to players in terms of messing with them and mind games and such."

Farmar seems like a gamer and will persevere through this, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the incident in the immediate future. The Lakers are in Miami on Sunday.

Category: NBA

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: February 11, 2008 3:52 pm

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

probably because faramar hasn't made it to mediorce yet

Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2008 9:25 pm

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

Will you help my side in the war that is about to happen vs. HurricaneDij39 and RamboReturns and there posse because all they are on here to do is get people banned and start trouble so me and the people in my faves in my profile decided to revolt against them but we need more people to help us out.

Will you join? and if you do try to get other members on our side.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2008 4:43 pm

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

when i look at the lakers they have the deepest team in the leauge meaning they could play big or they could play small which would be a big problem for the other elite team amater of fact they are so big that they have the potential to be the best defensive in the leauge

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2008 7:58 pm

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

interesting comments about phil jackson. Luke Walton's

remarks, including that jackson is a great coach and it takes a while

to get used to the way he gets into ones head, suggest that jackson

has a style that is his he certainly doesn't fit the mold of

a mediocre nba head coach who goes through the motions and then

gets canned (as isiah should). but one must remember the lakers under

phil jackson have done something they didn't do chamionships...

with similar talent. sure kobe and shaq took a while to play together, but

once phil got things going with them they won.

to suggest that the lakers could win without phil and perhaps pau gasol is

shortsighted...and belies history. kurt rambis, still an assistant under phil,

could not do the job and then they brought in phil. not everyone can win

with great talent. it takes a coach who has a lot going for him, strange as it

may seem, to win with great talent. one time the lakers had west, baylor and

chamberlain, albeit the latter two were on there last legs, and still did't win.

then a year or so later they did, though baylor was injured most of the year.

bill sharmon won with them where before they didn't...point of this is that

ya need to do more, regardless of whom you have, than throw out the balll

and get the nba title.

Only two coaches in nbA history have won at least 9 titles..............

red auerbach, mr incomparable, and phil jackson. People often forget

that auerback coached for several years before his teams won ANYTHING of

note. What changed that? Bill russell, 1956. result? 9 of the next 11 years the Celts won.

Phil Jackson had almost that kind of run in CHicago and now with the Lakers he has won3.

His tormenting of Farmer will not wreck Farmer's career. If he does so to Farmer and

not to fisher it is likely because he sees something in Farmer that he recognizes as

future quality...something that Fisher only had in a limited amount.

Regardless. Here is a coach whose record speaks for itself. To assume he

is not as good a coach as people who, it total, have not reached the number

of titles as jackson is, to say the least, short on evidence that he is not a good (make that great)

Coach. As they say, "you could look it up."

Since: May 21, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2008 2:41 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2008 2:17 pm

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

Phil Jackson is an a$$.  What he did to Farmar shows he likes to intimidate young players and plays a lot of politics.  I have been a Lakers fan for a long time.  I can't deal with him anymore.  He didn't do that to Fisher when Fisher was not doing his job as a point guard when Shaq was with the laker.  Jackson was so busy playing politics with Shaq.  He was so intimidated by Shaq's whining about Kobe which played into his character in intimidating young players (like Kobe at that time).  He just cannot do it on Kobe's face because he knows Kobe was and still is very popular and very talented player that he needs.  I remember he did the same thing with Pippen because just like I said he likes intimidating players.   He knows that he had Jordan and the whole of Chicago on his back.  The way he did it with Kobe was through the media that Shaq got big headed because Jackson made it appeared he was on Shaq's side.  In a lot of people's eyes he is a good coach but for me he is NOT.  He was just lucky that he had Jordan and Pippen and Shaq had Kobe.  Probably Jordan could have won a championship without Pippen, but Shaq (and Phil) would not have won those championships without Kobe.  As a pure basketball coach, technically Larry Brown, Don Nelson, Hubie Brown, Popovich and a lot of other coaches are a lot better than him.  As a motivator he really destroys the incentive of YOUNG AND TALENTED players to serve his personality in favor of him being popular with the rest of players and fans.  He likes getting credit for the development of those talented ones.  Kobe just held back and still holding back the ill feelings when Phil Jackson was trying to intimidate him by trashing Kobe in a subtle way through the media and playing politics with Shaq. 

If he is really fair he would have done that to Fisher during the championship years.  Fisher was a very lousy point guard and overrated on his defensive skills.  I don't know where that "fisher is good in defense" came from but I can name about a dozen point guards during those times and even now that can score on him at will.   He has a hard time creating his own shot much less creating one for his teamates(though this year he is showing improvements). That's why every team that they face with just a tad above average point guard toys with him.  Sure he can shoot but without anybody around him.  Heck, he can't even make shot more often than he can when the game is on the line!  How come Jackson didn't do that to Fisher what he did to Farmar (he did the same thing last year to Farmar) which Farmar is way way talented than Fisher.  Fisher is mediocre at best as a point Guard.  Maybe Jackson did that to farmar bec he has Gasol to rely that the frontline players dont need a point who can create shots for them.  They can make one on their own.  Sorry, I was just pi$$ed about the incident.  I just feel awful for Farmar, now especially that the Lakers has a bigger chance of winning it all.  As a matter of fact, I really think without Gasol and Phil Jackson this team is a championship team.  Ok, I am not knocking on Gasol, I like him and he is an added bonus for a great team with or without jackson.  That's all I meant.

BTW, Mr. Phil Jackson why don't you do what you did to Farmar to Luke Walton.  Oh please, his injury is not the reason why he plays so bad.  Walton runs and plays like he is still in college.  Hiding from the ball, indecisive, cannot jump and cannot run.  Why don't you scold him in front of the public and other players?  Are you afraid because Luke's dad is with the media now?  There are a lot of people who think you are just there for the free ride and for your egos that don't deserve a lot of accolades that you got!  Jerry Buss' son is right about you, you freakin a.$...e!

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2008 11:14 am

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

Finally Meija has a great blog.

Kobe and Pau already look like they have been playing together for years.  Once they can master the pick and roll and Bynum comes back, this team will be lethal.

Go Lakers

Since: Jan 31, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2008 11:13 am

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

Of coarse Gasol will be a factor. He is an All Star. He has the respect of every player in this league. When youre an ALL STAR of his caliber youre going to get yours no matter what. The Lakers are going to play through him on offense still because he can score, pass, and has a high basketball IQ. They arent going to waste his talents because their other big man is back. Odom will be the dirty work player. Its funny that he'll be the #4 option when he's making more money than most people in the LEAGUE. I see the Lakers easing Bynum back in now that theyve seen how great an impact Gasol is having. They wont rush him back to play. The Lakers whole front court causes matchup nightmares that will make each player better. Expect each game to have a different "Star Sidekick" to Kobe, because they'll play team ball and get the ball to the mismatch.

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2008 2:26 am

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

sorry bout that ^... anyway, when bynum returns, do you think gasol can still be a big factor on both ends of the court?  and what would happen to odom then?

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2008 2:24 am

Pau powerful in third game with L.A.

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