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How To “Fix” Lakers’ Inability To Close Games, By Using Pau Gasol Reviewed by Momizat on . What's wrong with the offense in a nutshell is pretty much what Kobe implied; the star players simply aren't in their comfort zones. To his credit, however, Mik What's wrong with the offense in a nutshell is pretty much what Kobe implied; the star players simply aren't in their comfort zones. To his credit, however, Mik Rating:
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How To “Fix” Lakers’ Inability To Close Games, By Using Pau Gasol

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What’s wrong with the offense in a nutshell is pretty much what Kobe implied; the star players simply aren’t in their comfort zones.

To his credit, however, Mike D’Antoni decided to bring Pau Gasol off the bench in an effort to utilize him in the post more. Against Chicago, it actually somewhat worked as Pau put up 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes.

One way I see that could possibly “fix” this is simply going back to how the Lakers know how to win.

No, not these current Lakers, but the Lakers who’ve won a championship together before: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace.

Obviously Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and the rest of the Lakers have to become cohesive on both ends of the floor, but whatlakers has worked for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol recently is what the Lakers need to rely on as their bread-and-butter–at least in the short term while trying to win as many games as possible and hopefully make the playoffs.

Plenty of times this season, the Lakers have been “right there” or close enough to win games–even against the likes of the Clippers and Miami Heat–but have simply collapsed at the end.

What often helped them come back or have some sort of advantage over various teams has been their half-court play.

However, after each of those games in which the Lakers eventually came up short, I’ve attributed the loss to having Gasol benched during crunch time because other than Kobe, he’s the Lakers’ best half-court player and post player.

During the championship seasons, Gasol was the other half of the “one-two punch” between him and Bryant–and obviously it worked out well.

Gasol may not be the same player athletically, but he’s still just as skilled now as he was then; he just doesn’t get positioned correctly.

Defensively, yeah, Gasol can be a liability at the power forward position. What about at the center position, though? This season, although he’s played limited time down there, Gasol has a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) 27.4 at the center position, with an opponents’ PER of 10.1 compared with a 13.0 PER at the power forward position and an opponents’ PER of 15.4

Therefore, Mike D’Antoni is right about having to play “small ball” and utilize Metta World Peace and Earl Clark defensively at the four position.

Where he’s wrong, however, at least in my opinion, is how he’s not utilizing Pau Gasol.

Those numbers I stated about Gasol are actually better than Dwight Howard’s, but because Gasol’s minutes at center were limited, I won’t put too much emphasis on that.

However, it’s a known fact that Gasol is far more skilled and polished offensively in the post than Howard, and more so than most of the league’s big men.

Additionally, while Gasol may not be the best help defender, he’s not the worst position defender, either.

In fact, he virtually shut down Dwight Howard in the 2009 NBA Finals, but I’ll once again acknowledge that he’s not the same player athletically and won’t put too much emphasis on that, either.

Now let’s take a look at what can help the Lakers finish off ballgames.

Next Page: The “Fix”

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About The Author

Suki is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and an unsigned contributing writer for Lakers Nation. Follow Suki on Twitter @TheRealSuki and Facebook. You can check out the rest of his work here.

Number of Entries : 180
  • JohnC

    I couldn’t agree more: at this point there is no time for more experiments and you’ve got something has proved to be effective. But the question is: will LA sacrifice selling a few Dwight’s t-shirts for the effective game of a more reliable and skilled Gasol?

    • http://www.facebook.com/nivea.jenkins.3 Nivea Wiltz-jenkins

      take D12 out in the fourth, too many free-throw foul-ups. sometimes they loose by just a few points. Pau needs to play a better defense along with rebounds.

  • trey

    Get Dwight involved early. If it doesn’t work, get Gasol involved. Stick to whichever will work. Nash and Kobe should facilitate at first so that they could get better shots for themselves when the defense decides to collapse on the big men. This team’s offense should really start from the inside. Metta can just space the floor and spot up. They can give him some post ups when there are cross matches because of Kobe. But it really starts inside.

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