Apr 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) celebrates in the final minute as San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) watches at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol's Playmaking An X-Factor

Apr 21, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) drives to the basket as Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) defends during game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT

In Game one of the playoffs, the Lakers offense struggled, and that is me being nice. Scoring a total of 79 points on 41 percent shooting and 20 percent from three, it’s obvious the Lakers need a playmaker. With Steve Nash still rusty after his injury and Kobe Bryant out with a torn Achilles the Lakers don’t have a playmaker. Who can fill that void? None other then Pau Gasol.

Once Kobe Bryant went out with his Achilles injury, Gasol stepped up. Against the Golden State Warriors, Gasol had numbers of 26 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds. while also shooting 9-13 from the floor. In the season finale against the Houston Rockets, Gasol had 17 points, 11 assists,  20 rebounds, and shot 7-17. Now, even though he grabbed 16 boards and had 6 assists in Game, one against the Spurs, he shot 7-16. He missed a decent amount of open mid-range shots that he normally hits. Those mid-range jumpers are going to be key in not only the second game, but the whole series.

Another big reason why Gasol is needed, is his ability to pass the ball. He is arguably the best passing big man in the league, and when he passes well, the Lakers play well. When Gasol had six or more assists in the regular season, the Lakers were 10-2. Although it might seem obvious that when the team passes, the team does better, but the Lakers have a stagnate offense a lot of the time. The Lakers need  Pau to pass well to keep the ball movement going. Here’s a clip on Pau Gasol passing in Game one:

Here we have the Lakers set up in a play called “HORNS”. The Lakers start with Steve Blake at the top of the key with Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard at corners of the free throw line, while Darius Morris and Metta World Peace start out in the corners. Steve Blake passes it to Gasol who fakes a hand-off to Blake, who ends up cutting to the basket, and eventually makes it to the block down low. World Peace comes down from the left corner to put a screen on Tim Duncan. This allows Dwight Howard an easy path to the basket. Gasol sees Howard going to the rim, so he throws a beautiful lob for a nasty alley-oop.

The Lakers desperately need someone who can create shots for others with Kobe out with his injury and Steve Nash still recovering from his. Pau Gasol can be that guy, but he will also need to hit his mid-range shots, along with playing some good defense on Tim Duncan. If everyone else makes their shots and plays defense the way they did on Sunday, the Lakers have a good shot at pulling off some wins against the San Antonio Spurs.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you can comment in the comment section down below, or you can find me on Twitter @Caleb_Cottrell. 

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