Pau Rewarded For Season’s Best Effort – the Bench

Coming off his highest scoring game of the season (10 of 15, 25 pts), Pau Gasol was rewarded with a seat on the bench. Yea, the irascible Mike D’Antoni, whose run-and-gun system matches the Lakers’ personnel so well, now has Earl Clark back in the starting lineup in lieu of Gasol, and his 7 foot height, 18.5 lifetime points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, and $19 M/year contract.

D’Antoni has made so many wonderful decisions since Jim Buss put the future of the Lakers into his hands. Of course, benching Gasol pales in comparison to D’Antoni’s unrelenting reliance on his all-out offense-ignore the defense system, which has now caused Kobe Bryant to speak out. Said Kobe after yesterday’s loss to Chicago:

‘We’re going to have to change something. Probably going to have to post the ball a lot more, slow the game down a lot more. That’s just my intuition, but that’s my gut right now. I have to take a look at the film again, but we’re definitely going to have to change something.”

LA and da Bulls were tied after three quarters yesterday, and once again, the historically great closing Lakers wilted in the stretch, being outscored in the fourth quarter 26 to 14. And, while he did manage 50% of his free throws (four of eight), Deee-Wight lost the battle

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with Chicago’s Joakim Noah, being out rebounded 13 to eight, and Noah blocked three times as many shots as Howard.

Of course the Laker’s bench, save for new reserve Gasol who scored 15 and pulled down 12 rebounds, was non-existent. Chicago’s bench out-scored the Lakers’ bench 30-17, Antawn Jamison’s two points being the other other points from the entire group besides Gasol.

Expect to see the Lakers lose their fourth in a row tomorrow when they visit Memphis.

Meanwhile, all the way cross town, at the other end of Staples Center, the Clippers cannot beat Golden State, and began a two game losing streak yesterday, falling by seven. They will lose the second of the streak this evening when they play Oklahoma City, but will remain 14 games ahead of their roommates, in the Pacific Division standings.

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