Pau Gasol Sits Entire 4th Quarter of Lakers’ Loss to Portland Trail Blazers

It might have seemed like deja vu for Pau Gasol—benched for the entire fourth quarter of a winnable game.

Gasol had only himself to blame—he basically averaged one field goal per quarter up to that point. Six points won’t get the job done.

To be fair, the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting center has been playing hurt, including a sore ankle that will need an MRI.

The Portland Trail Blazers came into Staples Center Sunday night riding a hot streak—winning eight of their past 10 games. By game's end they’d added one more—holding off a furious Lakers run. The Blazers won, 114-108.

For Gasol, it seemed strangely reminiscent of last season—a time of injuries, turmoil and generally disappointing play. Last season, Gasol sat while Dwight Howard played. Sunday night, he sat while Robert Sacre played. The backup big man was probably in there primarily for his defense.

There are times when it’s not good to be the soulful Spaniard, and this would be one. This wasn’t a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. With Kobe Bryant still out of action, Gasol has been getting all the minutes and touches he wants. In fact, he’s the team’s leading scorer.

As of Sunday night’s loss, that particular stat is in serious danger—Gasol's leading the pack with 14.3 points per game, while Nick Young has 14.2. So where did it all go wrong?

For one thing, there could be the small matter of a pinkie problem.

In truth, the loss can’t be laid just at Gasol’s feet. Mike D’Antoni looked aggravated as he pulled Jordan Hill, Steve Blake and Wesley Johnson out as well during the second quarter. With Jodie Meeks as the only starter on the floor, the bench mob got to work.

By halftime, the score was a very manageable 53-50...

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