Lakers’ Pau Gasol remains optimistic despite lost season
Don’t feel sorry for Pau Gasol. He doesn’t feel bad for himself.
Kobe Bryant played only six games this season and Steve Nash barely made it through 10, but Gasol will appear in his 57th game Wednesday against San Antonio, the same team that blasted the Lakers by 34 on Friday.
The Lakers had never lost by that many to the Spurs. They’d played 76 games against each other since 1976.
“It’s weird,” Gasol said. “I’m sure it feels weird to them as well to see the team that we have out there and what we had in recent years. We’re not on the top end of the stick right now but better times will come.”
But the Lakers (22-44) are terrible. And Gasol has been to three NBA Finals, played in four All-Star games. Now he’s the one out there with the young kids, the ones trying to earn another contract by jacking up a lot of shots and hoping enough are accurate.
It’s weird how the Lakers are already eliminated from playoff contention.
“It’s something that didn’t need to be said or brought up. People know, unfortunately,” Gasol said. “Let’s see if we can play a little more with each other instead of trying so hard individually because it’s usually very deceptive and doesn’t help our result again.”
Gasol, 33, makes $19.3 million this season. He’ll have offers from several teams when he becomes a free agent in July.
“I’m a survivor. I fight and I keep going,” he said, managing a smile. “It’s definitely been a very frustrating season in different aspects. But at the same time, I’m still playing basketball, still playing in the NBA, still play with the Lakers, still living in Los Angeles. You can consider yourself extremely fortunate.”
Now they’re even getting hurt in practice.
Jordan Farmar suffered a strained groin Monday at the team’s training facility, possibly leaving the Lakers again with only one available point guard.
Nash is out the rest of the season and Steve Blake is now with Golden State, so Kendall Marshall will get increased playing time with swingman Xavier Henry serving as the probable backup.
Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t mention to players that the Lakers were mathematically eliminated from playoffs Friday. But he wants some semblance of order from now until April 16, their last game.
“We’ve been talking about the whole time just trying to be better, trying to play better and making sure we don’t jump ship,” he said. “Everybody stay and just make as good a showing as we can. Guys have got their future to work for and we’re going to try to help them.”
Nick Young practiced Monday and might return Friday against Washington. He has sat out 16 of 17 games because of a fracture and bone bruise in his left knee… Gasol on Bryant’s return next season: “He feels very confident that he’s going to be back at the best level he’s ever been. I’ve got to go with what he says.”
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