Maybe the Lakers led us to believe that their inherent size would lead them to four-straight finals appearances and three-straight wins. As if it was automatic. Everyone just figured they’d bog down Dallas by executing their sophisticated offense to perfection. The problem is the Lakers haven’t quite figured out how to play consistently and it stems from way before the opening tip of the playoffs.
That failure to be consistent falls upon everyone on the team, but none more obvious than the one guy the Lakers rely upon to be most consistent—Pau Gasol. For the season he averaged 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while shooting 52.9-percent from the field. Over the course of these playoffs he’s averaging 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game on 42.7-percent shooting.
“I wish I could have been more productive. I wish I could have been more effective,” Pau Gasol said after the Lakers’ 93-81 loss to the Mavs.
Kobe Bryant can’t do it alone and all season he’s been employing Gasol to take on his role as the No. 2 option for the Lakers with more assertion. It was as if Bryant knew that the Lakers success would hinge on Gasol’s production late in the season and into the playoffs. In late January he challenged Gasol to engage his inner Black Swan and drop his White Swan side. During the last series Bryant claimed Gasol needed to assume the responsibility that comes along with being the team’s second in line. Last night however, he sang an entirely different tune.
“You can’t just dump the ball off to him or me and expect us to beat double- and triple-teams all night,” Bryant said. “He’ll be fine. We’ll go up to Dallas, get him some easy looks, get him some easy opportunities, draw some double teams and he’ll be alright.”
Next: Bryant defends Gasol, understands the game plan Lakers should execute
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