Lakers center Andrew Bynum spins toward the basket as he powers his way to… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Reporting from Dallas
The tension between Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and center Andrew Bynum and forward Pau Gasol was palpable Friday night in Game 3.
It could be seen in how animated Jackson was toward his two big men during so many timeouts.
It showed in how many times Jackson got into the face of Bynum and Gasol during timeouts.
And it really was on display when Jackson could be seen repeatedly thumping Gasol in the chest with his fist during timeouts.
Bynum had another strong game, scoring 21 points on nine-for-16 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds in the Lakers' 98-92 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.
Gasol had just 12 points on five-for-13 shooting and eight rebounds.
No matter what Gasol or Bynum did, it didn't seem to satisfy Jackson.
He jumped on them for their slow defensive rotations.
He jumped on them for their poor offensive execution.
"In our system, you have certain rules, and I think it's easier to come to us and just kind of get on us," Bynum said. "I don't know exactly everything he sees. Sometimes I see things a little bit differently. But as far as him coming over, that's just a part of being a pro and a part of dealing with coach."
Gasol felt Jackson's ire the most.
"Obviously there is some tension," Gasol admitted. "You can see it. It's tangible."
Gasol was asked to elaborate on his comment about there being tension.
"Obviously when you're not playing as well as you can, it's frustrating," Gasol said. "So you get frustrated at certain times and you just got to be more decisive out there.
"When you finish a couple of plays and you're successful on a few plays, you keep getting that feeling, and the tension goes away. But if you don't, things keep building up a little bit."
Gasol said he knows that Jackson wants him to be more "aggressive and more assertive" in the game.
But that has not been the case in this series.
"I don't like it, and I'm upset that I'm not performing as well as I think I should. I haven't been able to be effective," Gasol said. "I haven't been able to be comfortable out there, and I just have to snap out of it really so I can do my part."
Gasol averaged 19.6 points and 11 rebounds in 23 playoff games last season.
He has not been the same player in the postseason this year.
Gasol was asked if his poor play in these playoffs can undo all he has accomplished with the Lakers.
"You tell me!" Gasol said. "Should it? I don't know. I don't think so."