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Gasol's game isn't balancing out

November 03, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

Where's Pauldo?

Pau Gasol has been active and efficient in the first halves of games, but he has disappeared after that, a problem Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wants to correct by getting his power forward more touches after halftime.

Gasol's early tendencies are the flip side of Kobe Bryant, who is typically more active in the second half. Jackson praised Bryant's game-saving flurry in the fourth quarter Saturday against Denver but thought Bryant's third-quarter activity was too much.

"He had to step it up in the third quarter a little bit and I thought pushed the envelope just a little bit too far," Jackson said. "Some of our guys got out of sync. Pau only got one or two shots in the second half. We want to use all our weapons."

Gasol was six for 12 in the first half against Denver and one for three in the second half. Against Portland, he made seven of nine shots in the first half but missed his only shot in the second half.

Against the Clippers, he was a nondescript two for five in the first half and one for five in the second half.

"He's just not getting the ball in the second half," Jackson said. "In fairness to Kobe, he's playing the team game the first half and he's looking for his own situation the second half. That balance has got to even out a little bit."

Gasol, who has been on the NBA equivalent of cloud nine since being acquired by the Lakers last February, shrugged off the decline of his second-half production.

"It has happened the first three games, but I'm a player that I play to win," he said. "When I get my touches on offense, I think I can be very effective. But I also understand that in the game, sometimes we have so many players that can contribute and do so many things offensively, it's just going to happen that way."

Gasol is averaging 14.7 points a game, second to Bryant, and leads the team with 10.7 rebounds a game.


Rebounding edge

Sometimes it seems as if there are five 7-footers on the court for the Lakers, who are second in the league with 51 rebounds a game.

The Lakers held a 53-38 rebounding advantage over Denver and a 51-32 edge over the Clippers. They out-rebounded Portland in the season opener, 49-44.

"I think we're making a big emphasis on being a solid, dominating rebounding team," Gasol said. "We have the big guys to do that. That's what we have to do every game.

"I think if you dominate that aspect of the game, you have a big advantage not just now but when the playoffs come."


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