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Pau Gasol's presence is required for Lakers to win Game 6

Gasol had just nine points in the Lakers' Game 5 loss to the Nuggets and is atop the list of those who need to show up tonight at Denver. Kobe Bryant, who had 43 points in Game 5, has intestinal flu-like symptoms.

May 10, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan

Mike Bresnahan covers the Lakers for The Times and ties up loose ends before all their playoff games. The Lakers lead the Nuggets, 3-2.

Rarely am I stunned by the Lakers.

I'm the lucky guy whose first year on the beat was when Coach Rudy Tomjanovich resigned halfway through the season and the Lakers went 2-19 down the stretch, failing to make the playoffs for only the fifth time in 58 years. Oh, yeah. They also finished behind the Clippers in the standings.

But I was pretty surprised to realize Pau Gasol had only seven points with four minutes left in Game 5 against Denver. He finished with nine.

I figured he never scored so few points in a playoff game. I was wrong. He had eight against New Orleans last season … twice.

Put Gasol atop the list of Lakers who need to show up tonight against Denver.

Q&A of the day

Q: I will try very hard NOT to blame Kobe. But not only did he miss two three-point tries at the end, he missed an eight- to-10-foot bank shot that would've tied the score. But like I said, I won't blame Kobe.

—Geno, Los Angeles

A: Not sure that's a question. But also not sure how he could be blamed. Scored 43 points. I prefer to blame …see above item.

Final thought

I couldn't be any sadder to be in Denver, especially with my kickball team's season finale tonight in Manhattan Beach. Yep. Kickball. Sigh.

I should really pick against the Lakers, especially knowing that Bryant has intestinal flu-like symptoms, but I'm sticking with my own, ahem, gut feeling.

I will sleep Saturday night in Oklahoma City, not Los Angeles.

The pick: Lakers.

Bresnahan's record: 4-1.

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