Daily Archive for February 18th, 2011

Pau Gasol’s All-Star Media Session

With the Lakers losing three consecutive games heading into the All-Star break, several of the questions to both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol had to do with the perceived struggles of the Lakers.

Both Bryant and Gasol, however, both said that they remained fully confident, saying that the Lakers felt they’d be able to return to the championship level that’s come out at varying points of this regular season and certainly during the past two playoff runs.

Gasol’s response to a question about what was wrong with the Lakers went as follows: “It’s hard to say. I’m not exactly sure why we lose certain games the way we lose them, but we have to make sure we find that focus and that discipline and play to our level of talent, because right now it seems like we are underachieving a little bit.”

He then explained why he thinks his team will be able to turn it on when they need to: “It’s happened before, even during the season, we’ve had runs where we’re struggling and runs where we turn it on and we’re the team that everyone expects us to be, or we expect ourselves to be. I hope that during these last (25) games of the year we turn it up and we get to the level that we need to be in order to be successful.”

Gasol will be making his third straight and fourth overall appearance as a Western Conference All-Star in Sunday’s contest.

Kobe Bryant’s All-Star Media Session

Below is a summary of Kobe Bryant’s media session on Friday afternoon during Western Conference All-Star availability:

- Bryant was asked the first of many times if he could put a finger on L.A.’s struggles during the last week prior to the All-Star break, responding simply that the team addressed it internally and was well aware of what needed to be done.

- On the event: “I don’t think anything will ever be as big or match the size of the Super Bowl, but this is really turning to be a hell of a show. There’s a lot going on.”

- Bryant explained that there is a little bit of trash talking going amongst the players, but mostly it’s just sharing stories from the first half of the season. As for the game, Bryant echoed comments from anyone who’s ever played in the game by saying that the fourth quarter is when things actually pick up like a real game.

- On if L.A.’s recent struggles are fixable: “Yup, absolutely.” Bryant went on to explain that it’s natural for teams to go through struggles, and that his focus remains only upon figuring things out fully prior to the postseason. He described it as such: “That’s the challenge of playing the game … that’s what brings the excitement, not knowing. Even when you’re rolling and playing extremely well, there’s still the unknown of saying, ‘Well, this could slip from us at any given moment at any game in the series.’ We have a better chance at figuring it out than some of the other teams.”

- The questions that he doesn’t want to hear any more: “Why the Lakers (stink), and where Carmelo is going?”

- Bryant eventually started answering the former question about the Lakers struggles by stating, voice thick with sarcasm, that the Lakers had no chance of winning.

On who’s the most underrated player in the NBA: “Pau Gasol. He is. He just is. He’s extremely versatile. He can pass, he can score, he can post, he can face up, he can block shots. In my opinion, he’s the most underrated player.”