Injuries have served as a consistent impediment to the road to success for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and that continued against the Milwaukee Bucks as Andre Drummond went down with a toe contusion in his debut, prompting Marc Gasol to play in the fourth quarter.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel recently called Gasol a ‘true pro’ for how he handled the move to the bench to clear room for Drummond to take his spot as a starter.
Vogel’s words manifested, as Gasol started the fourth quarter and bestowed an immediate spark for the Lakers. He quickly filled the stat sheet in six minutes, putting up two points, three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal.
Unfortunately, the energy he dispensed couldn’t fuel a late comeback, but Gasol made an impression on his teammates with his readiness off the bench. Wesley Matthews, in particular, commended Gasol for how he helped the Lakers in a tough situation.
“That’s what I expect out of everybody, not just Marc,” Matthews said. “I’ve been in that situation myself, that’s what this comes with. You’ve got to be a man about it, you’ve got to understand that you’ve got to stay ready regardless. This is our job. Outside of being parents, this is the best job in the world in my opinion, and that’s what he was for us.
“Obviously it’s not easy, by any means. Give that man his credit. We love what we do and we compete and we’re ultra competitors, and that’s never easy for anybody in that position.”
Matthews added he appreciated Gasol’s encouragement as well.
“For him to step up like he did and make the plays that he made and to be there supportive of us the whole time, I ain’t got nothing but respect for him. That’s how it’s supposed to be and that’s how it is.”
Vogel impressed with Drummond’s debut with Lakers before injury
While he didn’t have the debut he would’ve liked, Drummond showed some flashes of how the Lakers could benefit from his interior presence. Though a toe injury disrupted his game, Vogel liked what he saw out of the 27-year-old center.
Vogel explained how Drummond’s defense will help Los Angeles moving forward.
“You see the physical presence that he brings,” Vogel said. “The athleticism blocking shots at the rim, striping the basketball with his quick hands, and the ability to move his feet and contain while taking the big-shoulder contact and staying in there. He’s definitely going to help us on that side of the ball and we saw some of it tonight.”
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