Mike D’Antoni Fires Back at Pau Gasol About Small-Ball Criticism

by February 27, 2014

The cold war between Pau Gasol and Mike D’Antoni continues to rage. After being criticized for employing ineffective small-ball lineups, D’Antoni stood his ground and the Lakers lost once again (a 108-103 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.) Per the LA Daily News and LA Times:

“The thing I don’t appreciate is, I think every coach, you keep it in house,” D’Antoni said. “It’s very easy to come over and talk about your frustrations. We’ll try to work something out and figure something out. To go to you guys and do it in the papers, that’s disturbing. I don’t think that’s the way to go. I understand we’re all trying to solve the same problems. So let’s put our head together and do the best we can.”

Both D’Antoni and Gasol lamented about the team’s lack of ball movement, with newcomers Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks taking 29 of the Lakers’ 90 field-goal attempts. Gasol attributed this trend toward a lack of discipline, while D’Antoni sounded confused by Gasol’s subtle charge that he doesn’t hold players accountable.

“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” D’Antoni said. “Last night, we should’ve had more ball movement. But I don’t know what that has to do with discipline. It has to do with guys trying too hard and guys not really understanding the system totally and not getting engrained into it.”

“Yes, there was some frustration but I don’t think there was nothing out of line or nothing that went too far,” Gasol said Wednesday. “I stated something obvious to me. I don’t think I said anything too crazy.”

“We want a certain type of basketball and we’re trying to establish that,” D’Antoni said. “Clearly, the numbers say that when you spread the floor and move the ball, get up and down the floor, then we have a lot better chance to win. And that’s what we want to do.

“We want to establish our identity. This is how we’re going to play and we’re going to get better at it. And we’re going to push the ball and we’re going to evaluate talent. It’s frustrating some players, I understand it.”

“The frustration always comes out on the offensive end, where we’re OK. It never comes out on the defensive end, where we don’t stop anybody,” D’Antoni said. “That’s where I get frustrated because if you’re going to get upset about something, let’s get upset about points in the paint, second-chance points, not getting back on defense.”