Pau Gasol has struggled to adjust to Mike Brown’s system, and coupled with Andrew Bynum’s emergence and Kobe Bryant’s increased shooting this season, it has resulted in Gasol putting up career low scoring numbers (16.8 ppg). The big Spaniard busted out last night for 25 points, 14 rebounds, and the game-saving block. His teammates – Kobe especially – and coaches were happy to see him finally assert himself on the offensive end of the floor. From ESPN: “I just wanted to make sure everybody knows the kind of player that I am,’ Gasol said. ‘And I continue to help my team to get better and win games.’ Hmm, could ‘everybody’ include the Lakers’ front office, which was willing to send him out of town in exchange for Chris Paul and continues to, at the very least, entertain offers for Gasol? […] Gasol had as many shot attempts as Bryant through regulation (19) and he finished 12-for-20. ‘He took 20 shots; that’s phenomenal,’ Bryant said. ‘We’ve been urging him to be aggressive and he took what the defense gave him and he also dictated some offense with the defense and he played a phenomenal game.’ The highlights included a put-back off a Bryant missed jumper to tie the score with 9 seconds left in regulation, and he swatted away Ray Allen’s last-second attempt after Allen rebounded an errant Paul Pierce shot at the end of overtime. ‘I was in the perfect situation and he came out of nowhere,’ Allen said. Lakers coach Mike Brown said it was a textbook example of his exhortations to play everything out to the finish. Gasol seemed to respond to Brown’s coaching Thursday, including a tongue-lashing during a timeout in the second quarter. ‘I just wanted to come out aggressive and shoot the ball better,’ Gasol said. ‘I just want to be as big a factor as I can be.’ He hasn’t been a big enough factor throughout the season, which has brought him to a career-low 16.4 scoring average. He was thrown off by the nixed Chris Paul trade at the start of training camp and has struggled to find a comfort zone in Brown’s offense, which has him further from the basket than he was in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. He learned about the All-Star snub while he was stretching on the court before the game Thursday, when TNT’s Craig Sager asked him how he felt about his brother Marc being selected ahead of him. Pau was genuinely happy for his brother, and if he were that genuine about his own feelings he would probably protest his exclusion more loudly.”
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