Pivot Points: Pau Gasol’s Hamstrings Have Become A Strain On The Lakers

Chemistry, continuity, and cohesion are three elements, if possessed by a talented team, that are capable of thrusting them into the throes of destiny. The three words are familiar to the Los Angeles Lakers because they are the primary reason for the Lakers' championship march of 2009.

Two of them, continuity and chemistry, are threatened by various factors which have materialized as the season has progressed. The addition of forward Ron Artest pushes the continuity issue, as he is the newest piece to a team that benefited from having the same roster in 2009 as it did in 2008.

Having a roster fully in tune to the complexities of the triangle offense was a definite contributing factor in the Lakers' success in 2009, but, to be honest, Artest has assimilated into the Laker scheme quite well, although there is room for adjustment.

More worrisome are the twin hamstring injuries suffered by Pau Gasol before the season is even half-way done. Fatigue appears to be the culprit due to Gasol's time spent spent competing for his native Spanish team this summer.

The situation presents some challenges to the Lakers' chemistry, because at times they have been the definition of precision, seemingly comfortable within the confines and rhythms of the Laker flow.

Their post combination of Gasol and center Andrew Bynum were perceived as one of the strengths of the team, but there have been signals that their union may not be as stable as once thought.

On offense they have struggled for space and positioning, as Bynum has attempted to discover his identity while Gasol is in the game.

On the defensive end they have both failed to communicate with each other and this has led to numerous oppositional attacks on an unprotected rim.

Adding to the dilemma, Bynum has often looked confused on defensive rotations, clueless to his own responsibilities when the defense shifts.

In fact, Byn...

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