Two minutes and 35 seconds.
Over the course of a lifetime, two minutes would be like taking a dime from a billionaire—unnoticeable. Over the course of a 48-minute basketball game, two minutes makes all the difference.
Yesterday in the Lakers matchup against the Celtics, Kobe Bryant left the game at the 6:46 minute mark of the first quarter after picking up a foul on Marquis Daniels. Two minutes and 35 seconds later, Lamar Odom came in for Pau Gasol at the 4:11 minute mark.
When Bryant left the game, the score was 12-9 in favor of the Celtics. When Gasol left the game, the Lakers still had nine points, the Celtics 16. The Lakers failed to convert on six offensive trips down the floor.
During that span, Gasol’s only contribution was a single defensive rebound.
Kobe wouldn’t return to the game until about the 9:26 mark of the second quarter. Gasol’s mark in Bryant’s absence: one basket, one rebound.
And you wonder why Bryant ended the night taking 29 of the Lakers’ 66 field goal attempts.
Plain and simple, with Bryant on the bench Gasol had the opportunity to establish himself as a contributing member of the Lakers offense. Normally a player to be reckoned with, Gasol has at times been a pillar of consistency and a big part of the reason why the Lakers strength lies in their size and length. Lately however, Gasol has been anything but reliable on offense. At times he has settled for long jumpers instead of driving the ball to the basket or has delivered a soft-hook shot only to watch it bounce off the lip of the rim.