SportsNation Blog Archives Pau Gasol
For the first time in a long time, the Lakers will have the lineup they were planning on when they signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will return to the Lakers tonight, and they will be thrown right back into the starting lineup. The Lakers have been a different team in the second half and are comfortably over .500 -- since they're finally healthy, will they actually be a team to beat come playoff time? That is, if they make the playoffs, of course.
A week ago, the Lakers were embroiled in controversy, coming off a contentious players-only meeting, then falling to a season-worst eight games below .500. Suddenly their season seems to have turned around. They've won three in a row for the first time since Christmas, with Kobe Bryant playing distributor and Pau Gasol as a sixth man. But will it last? And did the turnaround come in time to salvage the Lakers' playoff hopes?
Count on Kobe ... to pass?
Kobe Bryant has taken on the role of facilitator the past three games. Will that work long term?
Pau riding pine?
Mike D'Antoni moved Pau Gasol to a reserve role, and didn't use him in the fourth quarter Tuesday.
Usually, when Kobe Bryant drops 42 points on an opposing team, it results in a solid, decisive win. That's what happened on Monday night, except this time, the Thunder were the ones running away with it. The Lakers looked slow and and out of sorts throughout the series, with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum coming under fire more than once for lackluster play. Kobe still seems to have his killer instinct, but do the Lakers need a major overhaul if he's going to get another ring?
Gasol or Bynum?
The Lakers have big decisions to make regarding the dual futures of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
Is Bynum essential?
Andrew Bynum showed his stuff in several games this season, looking like the best player on the court for extended periods of time.
Kobe Bryant isn't getting any younger, and some additional minutes at the London Olympics may make him that much more tired next season.
Mike Brown came under some criticism this season, but still led his team into the second round of the playoffs.