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Gasol sees Bynum as key complement

LAKERS FYI

October 15, 2008|Broderick Turner | Times Staff Writer

It wasn't a demand -- not like the ones Shaquille O'Neal once made.

Rather, it was a point of emphasis by Pau Gasol.

Gasol is 7 feet and 250 pounds and Andrew Bynum is 7 feet and 285 pounds, a duo that will form a Twin Towers for the Lakers that can be devastating, but only if the Lakers utilize them in the low post.

"We have to play like we have two seven-footers that dominate the paint. That's how you take advantage. If you don't do that, then you might as well not have it," Gasol said.

When O'Neal played for the Lakers, he demanded the basketball and let it be known that if the big dog wasn't fed, he wouldn't guard the porch, which was code that O'Neal wouldn't play defense if he didn't get the ball on offense.

Gasol isn't saying that.

Gasol and Bynum each take high-percentage shots, are good passers and can make life easier on their teammates with an inside-out game.

The two started for the first time together in the exhibition season Sunday night and had some success.

"The inside game is really, really good," Bynum said. "If I catch it at the high post, I can find him, and vice-versa."

It's still a work in progress, especially for Gasol, who moved from center to power forward. Gasol said he was adjusting to spending more time on the wing.

"I'm just trying to get a better feel and know everything, every wrinkle to where I have to be positioned every time," he said.

"Once I get all that down pat, then I'll be able to be more aggressive and more productive in those positions."

Coach Phil Jackson likes the tandem of Gasol and Bynum but sees a negative.

"Transition defense," Jackson said.

Vujacic's fractured ankle

A second medical examination confirmed that guard Sasha Vujacic has a fractured left ankle and will sit out most basketball activities for at least another 10 days, the team said.

Vujacic will be re-evaluated in one week. His goal is to be back playing by then. The Lakers open the regular season Oct. 28 at home against Portland.

Vujacic suffered what was thought to be a sprained ankle two weeks ago on the first day of training camp when he came down on the foot of DJ Mbenga on a drive to the basket.

But an MRI exam by a foot specialist last week showed Vujacic had fractured his ankle earlier and the opening practice session aggravated it.

Vujacic, who shot free throws after practice Tuesday, said he hoped to maintain his conditioning while the ankle heals.

"Right now, it's just a little bit frustrating," he said.

Etc.

Gasol is excited about playing Saturday against his former team, Regal FC Barcelona, when the Lakers play in a "shootout" at Staples Center. Gasol played five years in Barcelona.

He plans to spend some time with Barcelona players, especially Juan Carlos Navarro, a teammate on Spain's Olympic team that won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and a former NBA teammate with Memphis.

Gasol was born in Barcelona and lives there in the off-season.

"It's a special game for me," Gasol said.

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broderick.turner@latimes.com

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