Gasol mad at media over KG comments
LOS ANGELES -- Lakers big man Pau Gasol was upset with how his comments about Kevin Garnett losing "some explosiveness" from his game were portrayed in the media since he also noted that the Boston Celtics forward is still a "terrific player."
"Sometimes I extend my answers too long," Gasol said. "Maybe I shouldn't do that. I should be shorter with my answers and don't give away just anything so it can't be manipulated that way and used.
"But it is what it is. It's the Finals. It's going to be a little bit of chaos. We've just got to focus on doing whatever it takes to win Game 2. That's my main focus."
On Friday night, Gasol explained the changes in Garnett's game: "On Kevin's part, he's also lost some explosiveness. He's more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he's still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he's going to bring everything he's got. You can count on that."
At 34 years old and with 15 hard-fought years behind him at this point in his NBA career, Garnett averaged only 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 29.9 minutes per game this season, the lowest totals since his rookie season.
Gasol said he understands how the media tries to create attraction, but thought his words were misconstrued in this instance.
"The way it was played and put down, it was pretty pathetic," Gasol said. "But I'll make no more comments on that because it's not worth it."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson was very complimentary of Garnett.
"He's still shooting the basketball well," Jackson said. "He moves the ball onto his open teammates. He's setting good, solid picks. Some of them more solid than others. His defense is pesky. He's still trying to block all those shots after the whistle and making sure that nothing goes in. I'm still seeing a guy that has the same mental attitude."
Despite Jackson's words, the damage may have already been done with Garnett hearing Gasol's comments -- whether intended as criticism or not -- and taking motivation from them.
Garnett was asked after Celtics practice Friday if he took exception to what Gasol said: "Not at all. I have no comments for his comments."
The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series 1-0. Game 2 is set for Sunday night.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.