Breaking Down the Dwight Howard-Pau Gasol Pairing by the Numbers

Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have left the Los Angeles Lakers unpleasantly puzzled.

With only a handful of games remaining in the NBA's regular season, and the Lakers still without a playoff berth to their credit, inquiries into the team's dynamic are being lodged at an alarming rate.

Los Angeles has a cluster of conflicts to resolve, none more urgent than the mystery surrounding two of the league's most branded towers.

Health, defensive performance and discordant game plans are at the forefront of the organization's issues, but with Metta World Peace out, and Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash banged up, the importance of a harmonic dyad has reached unprecedented levels.

All season, Gasol and Howard have struggled to operate simultaneously. The former is still schlepping through the worst season of his NBA career, and the latter reached his peak while his low-post partner was out nursing a torn plantar fascia.

More than 90 percent of the season is in the rear-view mirror and still no definitive blueprint has been set for this coupling.

Staggering their minutes has been proposed and even implemented, but nothing has been able to stick consistently. Finding the right balance of separate lineups has proved tedious, and World Peace's prolonged absence has only complicated matters.

Their performance when placed alongside each other hasn't helped even slightly either.

The Lakers are being outscored by an average of two points per 100 possessions when both Gasol and Howard are on the floor. Not exactly the result Los Angeles was hoping for when infusing two star big men into the same five-man combine, eh?

Still jostling for playoff position with the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks, nothing about the Lakers' season has yet to be etched in stone. Today, they're battling for a spot in the postseason. Tomorrow, the Phoenix Suns could be left scratching their heads, wondering how...

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