Per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Gasol is of the mind that the Lakers simply have too many weapons for the opposition to overcome:
If our minds and our hearts are really into it, we can be a heck of a team and we can beat anybody, Gasol said of the Lakers, who went 13-7 in the last 20 games without him. That’s what I’ve learned. When we move the ball, we’re hard to beat. We have too many weapons, too many guys that can put the ball in the hole for us to focus on one or two guys mainly.
Once we share the ball and we really want to defend and get back in transition and limit our turnovers, we’re a tough team. We’re a tough team. We have size. We got to be physical. We just got to bring it for 48 minutes every night. That’s the big difference.
When the Lakers are able to "bring it" for the entire night, Gasol's correct, they're difficult to beat. Bringing it for "48 minutes every night," however, is easier said than it is done.
Gasol puts an emphasis on ball movement, which Los Angeles has struggled with all season. Hollywood ranks 17th overall with 22 assists per night.
But when that ball is moving, more than normal, Gasol's vision is actualized. The Lakers are 16-5 on the season when they dish out 25 or more dimes in a single game.
He also delves into the team's defensive escapades. Los Angeles ranks 18th in defensive efficiency and is 29th in fast-break points allowed (15.9) per game.
On the 14 occasions where the Lakers have held their opponents to 90 or fewer points, though, they're 12-2.
It's the same story with those turnovers Gasol alludes to. Tinseltown commits 15.1 per bout (23rd) and when coughing the ball up 15 or more times, the Lakers are 13-20.
Their struggles aren't a mystery. The Lakers, Gasol included, know what they must do to become the indomitable faction they were thought to be. What they must do is find a way to resolve their obvious transgressions concurrently.
Los Angeles is undefeated when dishing out at least 25 assists, committing fewer than 15 turnovers and holding opponents to fewer than 90 points.
The problem? Dulcet performances such as those have taken place just three times this season.
Though the recipe for success is there—ball movement, defense, offensive cognizance—finding that balance has proved onerous.
Are the Lakers capable of beating anybody? Yes. Do they know how? Also, yes.
That all depends on how frequently they "bring it" the way Gasol knows they can.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports, 82games.com and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.
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