CHICAGO — After sending mixed messages the past few days over Pau Gasol’s role, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has decided to feature Gasol off the bench permanently.
That will begin tonight when the Lakers (17-23) visit the Chicago Bulls (23-16) tonight at United Center. Meanwhile, breakout forward Earl Clark will start at power forward. Despite Gaosl posting a season-high 25 points in the Lakers’ loss Sunday against Toronto, D’Antoni believes the Lakers are better with a smaller lineup. Gasol’s resurgence also partly came in part because Dwight Howard was ejected late in the first half, putting Gasol back at center. D’Antoni believes such a switch will result in the same thing.
“It also puts Pau in his natural position,” D’Antoni said. “He’s one of the best centers in the league. We had him out of position. No matter how well he played, it wasn’t producing . You’re also stifling Steve [Nash’s] game and it trickles on down. Earl who has played well will play. It gives us a little bit more bounce to our step. We’re a quicker team. Hopefully it will help us.”
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