Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum Should Skip Dialogue and Let Their Games Speak

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IMarch 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  (L-R) Andrew Bynum #17, Kobe Bryant #24 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers stand on the court in the second quarter during the game against the Orlando Magic on January 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

There may have been truth in recent comments made by Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum concerning issues which plague the Los Angeles Lakers, but if so, coach Phil Jackson didn't see it.

Neither did commentator Mark Jackson, who made it a point to bring the subject up in conversation during last night's telecast of the Lakers and the Golden State Warriors contest.

Mark Jackson said he didn't agree with Gasol or anyone else on the team calling Kobe Bryant out, because he was the reason that every member of the Los Angeles Lakers team, save Derek Fisher, could call themselves champions.

Jackson went on to agree with coach Jackson who said that such matters were more effective when dealt with in a private manner, rather than allowing a controversy to be born.

I understand each side of the coin because Bryant does have a tendency to attempt ill-advised shots, but Gasol and Bynum's inconsistencies in the paint may be a factor in many of the decisions Bryant makes.

The Lakers' paint woes despite having two of the more talented seven-footers in the NBA are well-documented, but maybe the issue coming to light in the public view is not the worst which could have happened.

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In fact, it seemed that Gasol may have used the initial backlash from his comments as motivation, because he looked more assertive against the Warriors than he has in recent weeks, and the same goes for Bynum.

Gasol must have known he would incite a maelstrom with his comments, especially when the remarks could be perceived as a slight towards one of the biggest figures in franchise history.

More importantly it took courage for Gasol to speak out, because inevitably the finger of blame would find its way back to him, as his lackluster play has been seen as a contributing factor in the Lakers' struggles.

Laker Nation is fine with Gasol speaking his mind if it helps the Lakers in their ultimate goal of a repeat, but he better be prepared to back up the strength of his words with the merits of his play.

The game against Golden State wasn't a bad start, and Gasol's 26 points and nine rebounds were representative of the focus and determination that was needed from him in light of his comments.

So too was Bynum's 19 points and 14 rebounds which may have been indicative of a player who had spoke out of turn, and realized a light had been cast on his own less-than-stellar play.

A combined 45 points and 24 rebounds are a great way to keep the hounds at bay, but a little perspective must be considered when gauging the level of competition the Lakers faced on Monday night.

The Warriors are a small, poor-rebounding team under most circumstances, but they have lost more players to injury than any other team in the league, and that impact has been felt the most on the front line.

By consequence Golden State is the worst rebounding team in the NBA, so the performances of Gasol and Bynum should be expected, although in similar situations the duo has failed to capitalize on that dynamic.

Los Angeles will own the height advantage over most opponents and when Lamar Odom is added to the mix that edge is magnified, but the Laker front line rarely lives up to its billing.

Gasol and Bynum are attacked mercilessly in the paint due to the perception that both players are soft, and will crack under the pressure of sustained physical play.

In some instances that line of thought has held up, and the opposition have found their best chances lie in taking Gasol and Bynum out of the game with rough, physical play.

The size difference is of no consequence, because after the Lakers' duo was pushed around enough, their height advantage would become irrelevant, and they would be lost in the seams of the game.

The Warriors favored this approach, and for awhile it was successful, until Gasol and Bynum perhaps sensing the urgency of the moment, decided to push back.

What followed was one of the more inspired efforts from the duo, who gained control of the paint after halftime, and dominated the lane throughout, while the Warriors were forced to rely on perimeter jumpers.

That type of performance, albeit against a lesser opponent, is what fans of the team have expected from Bynum and Gasol, and is something they may need to bottle for future endeavors.

If they were able to play with this type of intensity on each evening there would be no need to question the lack of passes to the post, because the benefit of the action would reap positive results.

If there is a lesson to be learned then Gasol and Bynum may have passed the first course, because if they could apply the same dedication to each game and let their skills do the talking, there would be little reason to open their mouths at all.