Pau Gasol gets his wish, will play alongside Chris Kaman tonight
Pau Gasol has wanted to play next to Chris Kaman for months. It will finally happen Tuesday against Portland.
Gasol and Kaman will start together against the Trail Blazers a day after Gasol said he hoped Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni would allow it.
“The way Chris is playing right now and the way Pau’s playing better, it probably makes sense,” D’Antoni said Tuesday. “Why not try it again?”
Kaman and Gasol spent time together on the court during exhibition games and briefly at the start of the regular season.
“It wasn’t the greatest,” D’Antoni said, later adding, “we lost.”
It flies in the face of D’Antoni’s small-ball approach to start two seven-footers with limited speed and no long-range touch.
“Your speed as a team is a lot lower and it doesn’t bode well in today’s game to be slow on the floor,” D’Antoni acknowledged. “That’s the thing.”
Gasol lobbied to play next to Kaman after Monday’s practice. He was optimistic Tuesday.
“It’s been pretty up and down all year. The lineups have changed, as we know, all the time, but this is a lineup that we really haven’t gone to much at all,” Gasol said. “Like I said [Monday], better later than never.”
Jordan Hill will see a reduction in minutes because of the Gasol-Kaman duo. Maybe Ryan Kelly too, though his outside touch could preserve his playing time.
“It’s going to affect other people,” D’Antoni said. “Somebody’s going to pay for it.”
Gasol said he hadn’t fully recovered from vertigo and still felt a little lightheaded, but that he planned to play against Portland and also Wednesday at Sacramento.
Gasol is officially listed as probable for Tuesday’s game. Steve Nash (back pain) and Xavier Henry (sore knee) are also probable.
That’s a lot of probable.
“We’ll probably show up at 7:30 to play. Well, sometimes we don’t and sometimes we do,” D’Antoni said jokingly. “But it’s probable we will.”
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