Lakers sitting Gasol to rest knees in Houston

December 4, 2012, 5:16 PM

In an unenviable 48-hour span, the Lakers dropped a game to the Orlando Magic at home, Kobe Bryant chastised Pau Gasol and it was announced that back-up point guard Stave Blake needed surgery and would be out for a couple of months.

At shootaround on Tuesday, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni announced that Gasol will not suit up against the Rockets as he is suffering knee issues.

The Rockets have won four of their last five outings including a 124-116 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
Here are a few issues to consider before tonight’s game:

Pau vs. Kobe

Veteran Lakers observers say that Bryant’s “put your big boy pants on” comments towards Gasol were not really out of character.

While this may be true, maybe Bryant needs to cool his jets a little bit as after Sunday’s loss he also told foxsports.com, “I’ll kick everybody’s ass in this locker room” if the team’s attitude doesn’t change.

Is Bryant trying to show that he is the alpha dog in the room?

What to do with Pau?

More importantly, the Lakers are still left with the same challenge they have been facing over the last couple of seasons.

Gasol is still only 32 years old but the Lakers seem to be determined to try to build around other players despite the fact that he has helped them to a pair of titles and offers more offensively than Dwight Howard or his predecessor, Andrew Bynum, ever will.

Last year, Bynum and Gasol struggled to co-exist on the floor together and while Howard is an upgrade over Bynum, he still presents the same problem: all the aforementioned players work best off the low blocks.

Howard will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and the Lakers need to make sure he’s happy in order to re-sign him so that may be why Gasol is sitting on the bench at the end of key games.

The two Steves

Things went from bad to worse on Monday when it was announced that Steve Blake would need surgery which would cause him to miss six-to-eight weeks.

He was supposed to be Steve Nash’s main backup but would have been a better replacement for the ailing Nash than either Darius Morris or Chris Duhon.

With a $100 million roster and all 15 roster spots full, the Lakers may just have to wait before they can do anything.

It’s Pat

This summer the Rockets chose to use the amnesty clause on Luis Scola which opened a door up for Patrick Patterson which he has not just walked through but jumped through.

He has played the role of stretch-four surprisingly well for the Rockets, averaging 17 points per game over the past 10 games.

Patterson has noticed that opposing defences have started to key on his play a little more recently.

“They’ve been contesting me out to the corner,” Patterson told the Houston Chronicle. “Serge Ibaka was contesting shots; same with Utah. Prior to that, people would just leave me open. Talking with Kevin (Martin), he actually said I was on the scouting report in Oklahoma City for the corner 3. I think teams are starting to respect that part of my game more and more.

“I didn’t think that would ever happen. Working on my 3 this summer, I never thought I’d be taking it every single game. I thought I’d be taking it every now and then. If I can take it every game and knock it down on a consistent basis, it’s going to help this team.”

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