Now that Kobe Bryant has publicly called out Dwight Howard, pleading with and prodding the big man to play through the pain in his injured shoulder, have we reached a tipping point in this crazier than crazy Lakers season?
NEW YORK — Pau Gasol was frustrated with his Los Angeles Lakers teammates after they allowed Jeremy Lin of the Knicks to go off for 38 points, and he has a warning about their upcoming game against the Toronto Raptors.
“It’s another tricky game,” Gasol said of tomorrow afternoon’s tilt in Toronto. ”If you don’t come out ready to compete, ready to play and control the game with the team that we have and the players that we have, you know we are going to be in trouble. We got to make sure we control games with our experienced players and our quality players.”
The Lakers will be facing a Raptors team that had one if its best victories of the season Friday night, defeating the Boston Celtics 86-74.
He spoke following the Lakers’ 92-85 loss to the New York Knicks in the latest installment of Linsanity, one night after his strong defensive play in overtime led them to a victory over the Celtics.
“Yes I am disappointed. I’m upset. You know it’s a game that we shouldn’t (have) lost with our roster. It doesn’t make me very happy,” Gasol said. “We should have gone out there, competed better and get this game.”
Gasol said that the depleted but now resurgent Knicks came out swinging and definitely had more hunger than Los Angeles on a night in which members of the Super Bowl champions New York Giants and several Hollywood stars came out.
“They seemed they wanted it more as a group,” Gasol stated.
Gasol stopped short of discrediting the 38-point explosion by Lin, the newest bright light on Broadway, but felt as if the Lakers did not try hard enough to contain him.
Kobe Bryant, who said in the days leading up to the game he was unfamiliar with the details of Lin’s sudden rise, defended Lin on only one or two possessions. Metta World Peace was on Lin only a handful of times, and Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher were left in the dust on a number of drives by Lin to the basket.
“I think that you can stop a player from not getting 38 points on you any night. I don’t care how good he is but I guess we didn’t step up to the challenge as a team. (We) overlooked him I guess. Obviously he made big plays. Made big shots. You gotta give him credit,” Gasol said.