Pau Gasol: Lakers Need to Pound the Ball Inside

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

It’s not exactly time to push the panic button in Hollywood, but there’s definitely cause for concern in Laker-land these days.

Following their humiliating defeat on Christmas Day against the Heat, Kobe Bryant fumed and promised hell for his teammates once they hit the practice court. They were supposed to come out guns a-blazing against the Spurs during their showdown last night, and though things began on a promising note, the wheels came flying off in the second half and the Lakers were once again run off the court.

Pau Gasol — who only put up eight shots against San Antonio — thinks one of the team’s biggest issues is their offensive execution; namely, they’re not getting the ball inside enough.

From the LA Times:

“I don’t think we played the smartest game, put it that way,” Gasol said. “I don’t think we attacked smart out there. We’ve got to recognize what’s going on and understand where our strengths are against certain opponents and try to exploit them.”

“Whatever it is that needs to be fixed, you’ve got to do it all together,” Gasol said. “It can’t be an individual effort from nobody. It’s got to be all together, on a string, like a family.”

Phil Jackson agreed that Kobe Bryant’s 27 shot attempts against the Spurs’ swarming defense (coupled with 19 misses) were far too many, but once again, he pointed out that Gasol wasn’t nearly assertive enough and failed to play well.

It’s no secret that the key to the Lakers’ success over the last three years has been their dominant inside play. With Andrew Bynum‘s early-season injury issues, plus Gasol’s recent struggles, the team hasn’t been able to put this proven formula to full use yet.

The good news for the Lakers is that January is chock-full of relatively easy and winnable games, where the touches for Gasol and other bigs should be plentiful.