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Monday, April 23, 2018

Pau Gasol unhappy with fourth-quarter benching against Hornets

Earlier this week, Pau Gasol made it clear that he does not like coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers but insisted he will not become a distraction by complaining about it. After hearing the comments he made following L.A.’s win over the New Orleans Hornets Tuesday night, you have to wonder how long that will last.

Gasol was benched in the fourth quarter of the 111-106 victory. It was the Lakers third win in a row after losing 10 of their previous 12 games, so now would seem like an inappropriate time for anyone to complain. Gasol still decided to vent.

“I’m a competitor, I’m a guy that thinks I bring a lot to the table, and not being on the floor is something that I don’t like, I don’t appreciate,” he told reporters, via ESPNLosAngeles.com. “It’s a challenge. We’re challenged every day, and I’m challenged every day to keep my calm and keep my peace and not let my emotions take over my words.”

Simply put, the Lakers need to stick with what is working. Gasol has been one of the best big men in the league for a number of years, so you can understand why he feels that the team should value him enough to give him more minutes. He recently expressed a desire to be on the floor during crunch time, and he sounded irritated by having to watch his team pull out a close victory from the bench on Tuesday.

“It’s fun to win but when a team comes back on you the way the Hornets did tonight and you are not there as a high-quality player and as a competitor, it’s frustrating,” Gasol explained.

Again, the Lakers won. The Hornets may have come back, but a win is a win. L.A. has pulled its record to 20-25 and it still fighting for a playoff spot. If the wins keep coming with Gasol playing less minutes, the approach needs to remain the same. If Gasol really cared about winning, he wouldn’t question his role with the team during a three-game win streak.

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