Honestly, it’s amazing he has held his tongue this long:
DENVER — He has tried being polite. Tried to hint, to make his point with his play, to let the Lakers coaching staff correct what is so obviously wrong in games like Monday night’s 120-101 loss to the Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
But polite isn’t working.
Actually, polite is hurting the team.
And so Pau Gasol finally dropped the nice act after Monday’s unnecessary loss and said what has become clear as the crisp air here in the Rocky Mountains.
“I wish we would take more advantage of our height and the inside game, because it’s pretty effective. It’s unfortunate that we don’t recognize it enough,” the 7-foot Gasol said after making eight of his 11 shots, but watching his teammates jack up a ridiculous 31 shots from behind the 3-point arc.
“I don’t know what to do anymore to be able to get a couple more looks. Like I said, I’ve been pretty effective all season long, and in the playoffs, and I want to continue to be able to help us have a better chance of winning ball games. I think I’ve been doing that. I just haven’t had a chance to do it enough.”
In the four games of this series, Gasol is shooting an efficient 62.5 percent from the field, making 25 of his 40 shots from the field.
And yet in the second half of Monday’s loss, as the Lakers were trying to rally and win a game that could’ve given them a stranglehold on the best-of-seven series, he took just four shots.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson offered little by way of explanation. Asked if there was any reason Gasol didn’t get the ball more, Jackson said: “No. You can ask him when he comes in about it.
“Some of it is ball movement. Some of it is their defense. Some of it is their help defense that’s coming down. Some of it, I’m sure is the amount of touches he’s actually getting in the post.”
In nearly every series they play, the Lakers have a dominant size advantage over their opponent. Gasol stands 7-feet tall, Andrew Bynum is a shade north of that and Lamar Odom is 6-foot-10.
But against these Nuggets, whose tallest starter is the 6-foot-11 Nene, you’d hardly even notice.
Monday night, Gasol and Bynum combined to make 14 of their 18 shots. Denver’s far less talented and polished front court players, Kenyon Martin (5 of 11, 13 points) and Nene (5 of 8, 14 points) took one more shot as the Lakers All-Star power forward and future All-Star center.