Pau Gasol has officially returned to the Los Angeles Lakers, taking the floor in L.A.'s narrow, 101-100 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night. The big man has been a hot topic all season, so it’s no surprise he was one of the major headlines coming into this game.
Gasol started things slowly, but it didn’t take long for Gasol to assert himself on both ends of the floor, as he played an overall solid first quarter.
In the team’s newest rotation, Gasol came out of the game early and eventually replaced Howard at center. This move appeared to help his aggressiveness, as it forced him into the paint from the outset. Unfortunately for L.A., their seven-foot Spaniard virtually disappeared during the second quarter.
After half, everything broke down for the Lakers. The entire team was struggling, and Gasol was even more quiet than he'd been all game. Fortunately for the team, the period would end with a Lakers run, and they would take that momentum with them into the final 12 minutes.
Gasol began the fourth quarter aggressive once again. A strong one-handed move to the basket and a great pass to Metta World Peace helped L.A. quickly regain the lead, and before you knew it, we had a game on our hands at the Staples Center.
This game went down to the wire, and, ultimately, the Lakers were able to claim the victory. The team may not have gotten a particularly noteworthy performance from Gasol, but 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes is nothing to scoff at, and the team has regained a crucial weapon in their fight to turn the season around.