The Los Angeles Lakers had a much-needed blowout win (that ended up not looking like a blowout win due to garbage time), beating the Toronto Raptors 110-101 last night. They were especially good in the first half, extending their lead to as high as 34 late in the 2nd quarter. This was mostly due to a random flurry of three-pointers from the Lakers, as they made 18 out of their 40 attempts (45%). The win can also be attributed to the great play they received early on from Marc Gasol.
Only four days ago, Gasol was talking about the “hard pill to swallow” that was the idea that he would probably be falling out of this Lakers’ rotation soon. This was following rumors that executives around the league were expecting the Lakers to buy Gasol out, letting him be a free agent that could sign with a team that’s more in need of his services. It sounded like this was likely four days ago, but it sounds like Gasol has fully committed to the Lakers for the rest of the season now (per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll).
“I’m staying ready. I understand that we have to get Andre (Drummond) acclimated to what we’re trying to do… I’ll be ready, whatever happens, whether it’s five minutes, 10 minutes.. I’ll stay ready no matter what”
Marc Gasol had 13 points, nine rebounds (three offensive), five assists, and four blocks last night against the Raptors, showing off the wide array of skills he has that can help influence wins.
Frank Vogel knows that Gasol can help the team, saying the following after last night’s game (Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll):
“He’s been great. Like I said, his job is to facilitate offensively and give us perimeter shooting and be a good screener. He was all three of those tonight and then obviously he’s an elite defensive center, so he had a great two-way performance tonight.”
Obviously, in Gasol’s quote, he talked about helping Andre Drummond get acclimated to the team once he returns from his toe injury (which may be in the Lakers’ next game against the Heat on Thursday). Even after praising Gasol, Vogel reiterated that Drummond will be the starting center for the Lakers as “that’s what we signed him here for”.
Either way, it’s great to see that it seems Vogel, Gasol, and Drummond are now all on the same page for the players’ respective roles. It’s especially important that Gasol has the right expectations for playing time as both Gasol (probably to a more severe extent) and Drummond will both see minute reductions in the playoffs once Anthony Davis and LeBron James are a part of the rotation. For now, the two will continue to be the two towers of the Lakers’ frontcourt as they continue to grind out wins until their superstars return.