Before tonight’s pivotal Game 4 against the Celtics, Coach Jackson addressed the lack of physicality in Pau Gasol’s game after the center has been unable to sustain his performance from previous playoff series.
“I think that would be a reputation that Pay came to us with,” said Jackson. “I think that’s one of the reasons perhaps we were fortunate enough to get him in the draft situation is that perhaps that had been carried with him, that perhaps he was not a center, he was more of a forward type player.”
Jackson added, “The last game obviously wasn’t a great game for him, but we believe that he’s going to have another real good game for us. I won’t touch the soft, though (smiling).”
While Gasol has experienced his fair share of criticism throughout the first three games of the Finals, Lamar Odom’s sub par performance has also been placed under the national spotlight–something that has not fallen on deaf ears for Jackson.
“Well, Lamar is our best rebounder, and one of the things they’ve been doing is neutralizing him on the defensive boards by just–he’s guarding Perkins, and Perkins is just plowing him under the basket,” said Jackson. “He’s got to get back and get rebounds because from there springs out transition game where he’s so effective.”
According to the Lakers coach, Odom needs to find a way to maneuver around Garnett as well, who has been playing what Jackson labeled a “spy game,” going wherever he is most needed on defense, often in Lamar’s path.