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Kobe Bryant says he and Pau Gasol are unstoppable offensive duo

April 06, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Rudy Gay tries to steal the ball from Pau Gasol with help from Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless.
Rudy Gay tries to steal the ball from Pau Gasol with help from Memphis Grizzlies… (Mike Brown / EPA )

Pau Gasol continued to play at a high level Friday night in the Lakers' 86-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

He returned rusty following a six-week layoff after a foot injury, the Lakers losing their first two games.  Since then, Gasol has played at least 32 minutes with the Lakers winning four of five.

Over that five-game stretch, Gasol has averaged 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and five assists while shooting 54.8% from the field.

"We're using him the right way," said Kobe Bryant of Gasol. "We're using his strengths in terms of his ability to facilitate and his ability to shoot the ball.  Pau doesn't really even want to score the ball, really -- he likes getting other guys involved.  We're putting him at the elbow.  We're slipping him out on screens.  When he has a shot he's taking it and when he doesn't, he's getting other guys involved and it's working very well for him."

The Lakers have improved to 40-36, despite recent injuries to Steve Nash (hamstring) and Metta World Peace (knee).

The Gasol/Bryant two-man game has been a big part of that charge, especially offensively.

"You can't stop it. You can't guard it," said Bryant. "You just hope we miss. There's really no reasonable way you can defend that."

With Gasol setting the screen, Bryant can create a shot for himself or look to pass, including getting the ball back to Gasol, who can do the same.

"It's a huge, huge threat," said Bryant. "Then you have Dwight [Howard] ducking in on the inside and you put Jody Meeks in the corner and you just hope we miss."

Naturally that changes with players like Nash and World Peace in the lineup.  Nash is the team's best three-point shooter.

Why has it taken so long for the Lakers to turn to the Bryant/Gasol pick and roll?

"It's been a lot of figuring out, it's been coaching changes," he said. "It's been injuries. It's been all that crap man, but it's better late than never. Everybody's kind of panicking a little bit ... but the reality is, we play well this last stretch of games, you go into the playoffs very confident because you beat some very tough teams.  We'll be ready to roll."

The Lakers came into the season with championship aspirations.  Now they're just holding onto eighth place, and the final playoff spot, in the Western Conference by a half-game over the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers play Sunday afternoon against the Clippers on the "road" at Staples Center.


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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