Lakers’ inside game comes up short in loss to Trail Blazers

Even when Pau Gasol scored those six points in the first quarter and took those five shots, it wasn’t as though the Lakers were feeding the ball down low to their All-Star power forward.

So perhaps, then, it should not have been a surprise that Gasol was not a force on offense during the Lakers’ 93-86 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at the Rose Garden.

But in many ways, Gasol and frontcourt mate Andrew Bynum were not overwhelming factors on defense either.

As a result, it was an uneven game for Gasol, one in which he was unable to produce enough and unable to help the Lakers avoid a four-game slide.

Lakers-Blazers photos


Gasol had eight points on four-for-11 shooting. He had 13 rebounds, six on offense. But it wasn’t enough of a factor.

Bynum, playing after a case of food poisoning forced him to sit out the team’s shootaround earlier Friday, had three points and six rebounds before fouling out.

“It’s wasn’t the best of our games individually,” Gasol conceded.

Gasol began the game playing as though he would dominate.

Lakers-Blazers box score

He had six of his eight points in the first quarter, when he was three-for-five from the field.

But four of Gasol’s points came because of his effort on the backboards.

He had two offensive rebounds that he turned into baskets, the last one tying the score, 21-21, at the end of the first quarter.

From that point on, Gasol had two points and he was one-for-six from the field.

Portland had the 6-foot-7 Gerald Wallace defending him, and the 7-foot Gasol was asked if he should have gotten more touches.

“A couple. A couple,” Gasol said. “Obviously they knew we were bigger inside. They were doubling from the baseline quickly, but I think we still had to make more of an effort to get that ball in there and create that double team and kick it out and take advantage of the open man.

“But we got there [inside] maybe once a quarter, if that. So when we caught it, Andrew and myself, we wanted to be productive because that was the only time that we … anyway, I don’t think we put enough emphasis on that as the game went on.”

Portland, on the other hand, used its advantage over the Lakers, which was speed.

Wallace used his quickness to score 19 points, grab 13 rebounds and hand out seven assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland’s 6-11 center, used his quickness over Bynum and Gasol to score 24 points and grab 11 rebounds. Aldridge also had four blocked shots.

“Tonight he just got a lot of things on the move, on spin lobs,” Gasol said about Aldridge. “We didn’t pay attention enough to that. We didn’t talk about it enough on that matter. And on his usual spot-ups, we didn’t rotate well from the weak side as we talked about defensively. I don’t think he had that big of a game, but he was active.”

Maybe Gasol should have demanded the ball more, for himself and for Bynum.

Maybe he should have been more assertive with his teammates, for himself and for Bynum.

Gasol wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know,” Gasol said. “I don’t know if we should demand the ball more, especially out there. It’s not so much out here that we should demand the ball.

“We should demand the ball while we’re out playing the game and establishing ourselves and also make our teammates comfortable and confident that when we get the ball we’re going to make the right decision and be productive also.”