After a two-game adjustment period from his 20 games off due to a plantar fasica tear at Brooklyn on Feb. 5, Pau Gasol has played some very good basketball in seven straight games.
After a 22-point, 11-rebound, 4-assist, 3-block effort against the Hornets, he’s averaging 15.4 points, 9.1 boards and 5.3 assists in his last seven. The Spaniard has hit 49 of his 88 shots, from inside and out, which comes out to 55.7 percent, and he’s still not fully healthy. That’s pretty good for a guy still not being featured, as Dwight Howard still gets more post touches, and Kobe Bryant remains the No. 1 Lakers option.
“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Gasol said. “I’m getting better conditioning, a better feel out there. I position myself well better also. It’s just getting to the positions where I’m most effective so I can operate and make plays and prove that it works.”
In the third quarter in Tuesday’s win against New Orleans, Gasol scored eight points during a three-minute span, all coming inside the paint off post-ups. Battling various injuries, Gasol shot a career low 45 percent before the All-Star break, and is at 46 percent on the season. He’s up to 56 percent in the last seven, though, with more than 60 percent of his attempts coming at the rim.
Kobe said this about the teammate that helped him to three consecutive trips to the Finals:
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a big with his skill set in the history of the game,” Bryant said. “With his touch from the outside, posting up, passing the ball, you don’t see that skill set.”