Pau Gasol returned to the Lakers rotation last night, after missing five games as a result of his concussion. However, since Gasol hadn’t participated in much of any activity for the past week and a half, Mike D’Antoni along with the head trainer decided that it would be best for Pau Gasol to come off the bench. Gasol played almost 25 minutes last night in the Lakers tough 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat at Staples Center. He recorded 12 points and four assists, but just four rebounds. At practice today, Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell reported that Gasol may continue to play off the bench, at least for the Lakers next game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
D’Antoni left door open for Gasol continuing to come off the bench, & emphasized the greater importance of finishing games than starting.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 18, 2013
After last night’s game, Pau Gasol mentioned that he still felt mentally drained, one of many side effects to his concussion. Thus, Gasol in the second unit is most likely in the best interests of his own health, in addition to the team.
Kobe Bryant also had plenty to say after last night’s game, including needing more help from his teammates if he’s going to continue to outstretch himself on the defensive end. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, Mike D’Antoni expects Kobe Bryant to be defending point guards for the entirety of the season.
Mike D’Antoni on how much longer Kobe will defend point guards: “How many more games do we have? 43. Unless he dies before like an old mule”
— Mark Medina (@MedinaLakersNBA) January 18, 2013
Bryant’s fatigue from guarding Dwyane Wade last night may have contributed to his six of the Lakers 20 total turnovers. Kobe actually had as many turnovers at the entire Miami Heat team. But, the Lakers have a few days to prepare before going on the road to face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. A team that has three less wins than the 17-22 Lakers squad. The 10:00 AM start will be the earliest so far for the Lakers this season.
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