Gasol looks to get more involved in Lakers offense Print
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Saturday, 07 June 2008 12:21
NBA Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -Pau Gasol scored early and rebounded late in Game 1 of the NBA finals. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, the 7-foot center didn't rebound early or score late.
Perhaps it was simply a matter of opportunity.
Whatever the case, the Lakers would likely benefit from a more balanced effort from Gasol in Game 2 on Sunday night.
``They played tough on the post, and they did a good job trying to force us to go in a different direction,'' Gasol said Saturday regarding the Celtics' second-half defensive performance in Game 1, when he shot 1-for-4 and scored three points. ``When we had the ball in the wing, they moved down into the post, so we had to swing the ball on the other side of the court.''
Even then, Gasol said, the Lakers had a difficult time getting the ball inside.
Gasol had eight rebounds to go with those three points after halftime. In the first half, he shot 5-for-7 and scored 12 points, but didn't get a single rebound.
``It's how the game goes,'' teammate Ronny Turiaf said. ``You have to keep in mind that (Boston's Kevin) Garnett was making a lot of baskets in the first half and there weren't a lot of rebounds opportunities for Pau.''
Garnett shot 6-for-9 in the first half and 3-for-13 after halftime in the Celtics' 98-88 victory over the Lakers.
``We didn't do a good job on offense in the second half,'' Turiaf said. ``Our spacing was off. We were in the game even with our mental lapses.''
The Lakers led 51-46 at halftime, but were outscored 52-37 in the final 24 minutes.
Gasol said the Lakers look to make a couple basic offensive adjustments in Game 2.
``We want to make sure we establish a post presence and play inside-out a little bit more,'' he said. ``I think that's going to help our offense and hopefully also give me a little more (room) in the lane and being aggressive, force them to play a little defense on me.''
Gasol and Lamar Odom, the Lakers' main post players, both shot 6-for-11 in the opener.
``Yes, I think so,'' coach Phil Jackson replied when asked if the Lakers planned to try and get Gasol and Odom more touches down low. ``We haven't focused on that. We think that that's all part of what we do, and so guys available will do that. That hasn't been a major focus of what we're going to do. But we will, there's no doubt about it.''
That's all part of the inside-outside game, and perhaps that would give Kobe Bryant more room to operate on the perimeter.
Jackson didn't sound very concerned about that.
``He usually doesn't have two games in a row that are bad,'' the coach said, referring to Bryant's 9-for-26 shooting performance in Game 1. ``He comes back and plays better. So we anticipate that's going to be a pattern.''
Bryant said he had to ``tweak a couple things here and there and see if I can't put the ball in the hole a little more'' in Game 2.
``A couple mechanical things on the shot, release and arc and things like that,'' said Bryant, who made nearly 51 percent of his shots in the Lakers' first 15 postseason games - 12 of them victories.
The 88 points scored by the Lakers were a playoff-low this spring.
``Obviously you've got to give their defense a lot of credit,'' backup forward Luke Walton said. ``Hopefully we'll make some of those shots we missed last game. We had some shots that normally drop for us that were rimming out.''
Even with those 88 points, the Lakers are averaging an NBA playoff high 104.8 points. The Celtics, meanwhile, are allowing an NBA playoff low 87.3 points per game.
The Celtics outrebounded Los Angeles 46-33 in Game 1, prompting some to wonder whether the Lakers needed to be more physical in Game 2. Bryant wasn't so sure.
``We had to be physical to beat Utah,'' he said. ``They're as tough physically as it gets. We managed to elevate our physical play. It's not about us being tough or anything like that. You've just got to play a little bit harder.''
The Celtics weren't buying the premise that the Lakers needed to be muscle up, either.
``I thought it was physical last game. I expect it be more physical in Game 2,'' forward P.J. Brown said.
``Just because you get outrebounded by (13) doesn't mean it's not a physical game,'' center Kendrick Perkins said. ``I thought it was a pretty physical game. I don't think Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol get enough credit for what they've done, playing physical in these playoffs.''

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