The Lakers were thoroughly dominated in tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. Despite the loss, Pau Gasol had one of his better games of the past couple of weeks, totaling 14 points and seven rebounds on 6-10 from the field.
Gasol was able to operate in the paint a little more in this game, which is something that he recently spoke about wanting to do more. Coach D’Antoni did not take kindly to Gasol’s criticism of his coaching style and implored Gasol to play hard every night.
These stories dominated the Lakers news feed during the day, but Kobe Bryant thought nothing of them as he shared to the media via Time Warner Cable Sportsnet:
Kobe asked about relationship between Pau & D’Antoni: “They’re like an old couple. It’s not anything new. Not a big deal” (on @twcsportsnet)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 14, 2013
Bryant has been one of the biggest supporters of Gasol over the last couple of years despite Gasol’s struggles, so it is not surprising that he is dismissing any notion of a rift between Gasol and D’Antoni. Both of them have made some valid points in their respective rants to the media.
Gasol is right when he says that he is better operating from closer in the basket. D’Antoni is right when he says Gasol shouldn’t make excuses for the way he is playing.
These are two very sharp basketball minds, and if the Lakers plan on turning around their recent skid, it will be on Gasol to get going, and D’Antoni to figure out how. Bryant will have nothing less than greatness and that hinges on these guys figuring out how to work together.
The Kobe Prelude Experience: Prelude 1