Phil Jackson needles Pau Gasol, but it doesn’t cut like a knife
Do the Lakers have the wrong Gasol?
Of course not.
But Lakers Coach Phil Jackson jabbed at his All-Star forward when asked about Pau Gasol’s going up against his brother Marc when the Lakers play the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday at Staples Center.
“It’s been very hard on him,” Jackson said, referring to past battles in the post between the brothers. “A lot of times we say we traded the wrong guy and tell him that Marc is a tougher, more powerful player than he is. [Marc] doesn’t have the shooting touch yet, but his defense, his rebounding is very good. He gets a kick out of playing against Pau. He’s actually a little more physical than Pau is. I like to bring it to [Pau’s] awareness.”
The Lakers acquired Pau in February 2008 from Memphis for Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton, two first-round picks and the rights to Marc, whom the Lakers drafted with a second-round pick in 2007.
Marc, 25, is five years younger than Pau, but listed at 265 pounds, 15 more than his brother. Marc is listed at 7 feet 1, an inch taller than Pau.
Pau tried to laugh off Jackson’s remarks.
“I don’t think he believes that, but obviously he’s always picking,” he said. “He’s always trying to have a good time, and we have fun playing around with each other.”
Marc, in his third NBA season, has career averages of 13.1 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. Pau has averaged 18.8 points and nine rebounds in his 10-year career.
Marc, in seven games against the Lakers, is averaging fewer points (11.6) but more rebounds (nine) than his career averages.
Pau said he wouldn’t fire back with a jab of his own, though he acknowledged that Jackson ribbed him quite a bit. Last month, Jackson said it looked like Gasol was “still on vacation” after a slow start in exhibition play.
“There’s certain things that are a little touchier,” Gasol said. “Most of the time I just try to ignore [it], because otherwise he would continue and it’s not a battle I’d want to be part of.”
The Lakers have received solid efforts from their reserves through three games, but Jackson isn’t ready to call them the best he’s ever coached.
Jackson said that honor belonged to the 1999-2000 Lakers, who had Robert Horry, Rick Fox and Brian Shaw, not to mention a young Derek Fisher, who started 22 games that season. Jackson said that reserve crew was “extremely deep.”
“And we had a lot of veterans on that team,” he said. “It was probably the deepest team I’ve had as a coach. But this [current] team is nice. They’ve got some depth.”
Reserve guard Shannon Brown is fourth on the Lakers in scoring (9.7 points a game). Matt Barnes is averaging eight points, followed by Steve Blake (six points a game).
Luke Walton practiced Monday and might play Tuesday. He has not played this season because of recurring hamstring issues. . . . Jackson, a relatively avid consumer of political news, didn’t seem enthralled with the run-up to Tuesday’s election. “I think most of our population is so sick and tired of the election,” he said. “It’s just been awful, the ads. The substance has just been awful. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t put a mute on their TV when the ads come on. It’s not been very pretty.”
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