After the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their 13th loss in the last 16 games on Tuesday in a 118-98 defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, Pau Gasol voiced his frustration over the team’s lack of discipline, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“That’s why you have to be disciplined and implement discipline, that’s how you kind of make that better or make that not a factor,” Gasol said when asked about the Lakers’ collection of players, himself included, on expiring deals.” I don’t think there’s a lot of discipline right now.”
When asked about what type of discipline he was referring to, Gasol indirectly blamed head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s decision to floor a smaller lineup against the big front court of the Pacers on Tuesday night.
“The type that will allow us to compete a little better,” said Gasol after Indiana outrebounded L.A. 62-42. “I think when you have a lineup like Zach [Randolph] and Marc [Gasol] tomorrow (the Lakers finish off their two-game road back-to-back Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies), you have to match up accordingly a little bit, I think. That’s just me.”
“If we want to continue to play small, we have to play to that advantage and utilize more quickness,” Gasol said. “But if we get outrebounded by 20 rebounds, I don’t care who you are and what you do, it’s not going to work. You’re not going to win.”
Gasol and the Lakers are in a midst of a difficult year that has been filled with injuries and an overwhelming lack of success for a franchise that is on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Also adding to Los Angeles’ woes, they are currently last place in the Western Conference and possess the league’s fifth-worst record through 57 games played this season.
As for D’Antoni, he played off the importance of the rebounding difference as a determining factor in the game.
“It absolutely means nothing,” D’Antoni said. “We didn’t play well enough. We just didn’t move the ball. We tried to go one-on-one.”
There was one thing that the two agreed upon and that was the fact that the team was playing too much “individual” basketball rather than playing together as a team.
“There’s just too many individual actions right now,” Gasol said. “It’s really not a good flow and rhythm out there. You get two guys that are just coming in brand new and they’re playing a lot of minutes, so, that’s going to take some time for the team and the units to kind of understand each other and be on the same page.
“As long as we hustle, then we give ourselves an opportunity. And we got to be unselfish. If we see a teammate open, we have to make sure that guy gets the ball. Otherwise, it’s really deflating. It takes a lot of energy away from individuals.”
These type of internal issues for the Lakers are coming to a head due to the fact that the team has had a lack of consistent success this entire season. What it all comes down to is as the losses pile up so does the frustration.
Ultimately, what Gasol did on Tuesday night was air out built-up frustration of dealing with a season full of losses and no end in sight. This has been arguably the most difficult season in his entire career and for Los Angeles this season mirrors or could be worse than the 2004-05 season after Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat.
A person can only take so much, and it appears Gasol has had enough.
Bob Garcia IV
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