While Gasol didn’t really allude to Bryant taking too many shots, like he did last year at around this time, he’s in a way passing off the blame to someone else.
Go ahead and place the blame on Bryant, or don’t because Phil Jackson isn’t going to.
“I didn’t think anybody else wanted the ball,” Jackson said. “We did run a couple other things to get people in position but I thought those times [Bryant] had the best opportunities. A lot of times, it didn’t look like we were running anything out there offensively.”
There were plenty of things wrong with the Lakers effort against the Celtics. Maybe it was Ron Artest’s inability to contain Paul Pierce early on in the game. Maybe it was the bench being a non-factor. Regardless, there’s no excuse for Gasol not raising his play in a pivotal game against a quality opponent.
Perhaps Gasol was thinking that two minutes of hard work in the regular season doesn’t compare to two minutes in the playoffs. It’s a long season, but there needs to be a steady upward progression of improvement going into the playoffs. There’s no time like the present to practice good habits.
So really, two minutes potentially could make all the difference.