Pau Gasol’s limitations no longer rest on discomfort with Mike D’Antoni’s system that calls him to spread the floor and fire more three-point shots.
The Lakers forward has spent the past few practices increasing his shooting workload from the outside, and he sounds more accepting of his role that calls for less action in the post than in other weeks. Instead, Gasol’s obstacles reside in the plantar faciitis in his right foot, an element that largely contributed to a 11-point performance on 2 of 12 shooting in the Lakers’ 103-99 loss Tuesday to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I didn’t feel great or didn’t feel good physically,” Gasol said. “It might happen some nights. Hopefully it won’t be the majority of the nights. I’m fighting through my issues and I’m trying to do what I can and do my best.”
The Lakers have the day off on Wednesday to give players such as Gasol the proper rest and recovery time needed to nurse such injuries. Even though he’s nursed the injury “for a while,” Gasol currently remains convinced he can play though it for a number of reasons.
He had sat out for eight games because of knee tendinitis, allowing his right foot more time to heal too. An MRI last week determined Gasol had no other issues with his foot, requiring only orthotic footwear, icing and stretching to ensure the pain swells down. And there’s games where Gasol has excelled despite the lingering foot pain.
In the Lakers’ 104-87 victory Friday over the Portland Trail Blazers, Gasol posted 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting, went 2 of 3 from three-point range, nine rebounds and five assists.
That didn’t carry over to Philadelphia. Even though seven of his 12 field-goal attempts came in the paint, Gasol appeared off the mark. His energy also lagged on defensive plays.
“It’s just one of those things that happens,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I thought they were pretty good shots. Most of them were in the paint. They just didn’t go in.”
With Gasol conceding his foot injury inhibits his mobility and lift, it’s safe to say that played a large part in his poor play.
“There are certain actions where I wish I didn’t feel certain things,” Gasol said. “But I just have to keep fighting through it.”
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