Lakers News: Mike D’Antoni Intends to Keep Gasol in Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers were without Pau Gasol for a fifth consecutive game Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks as the 7-foot forward is dealing with a concussion. This season has been very turbulent for the Spaniard and this injury is just one of the setbacks he has faced.
Before the Lakers tipped off against the Bucks, coach Mike D’Antoni talked to ESPN LA about what the Lakers will do once Gasol gets back. Even though Earl Clark has been a great surprise, D’Antoni has no intentions of bringing Gasol off the bench.
“(Bringing Gasol off the bench) would be tough,” D’Antoni said before Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “We’ll see (how) everything kind of plays out the way it is, but that’s not my intention right now.”
This season, Gasol is averaging a disappointing 12.2 points on 41.6 percent shooting, both career-lows in his 12 seasons in the NBA. D’Antoni has given Gasol fewer minutes than expected this season and the coach has often times benched his star forward in fourth quarters.
The Lakers need Gasol to regain his previous form if they want to make the next step as a team. Los Angeles is beginning to play better, but this team can become an elite squad in the Western Conference if Gasol step his game up.