Pau Gasol hasn't been the most dominant player in the NBA playoffs during the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round match-up against the New Orleans Hornets, but Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook notes that the Spanish big man is quite a bit better when Phil Jackson forces the team to stay committed to the famed Triangle Offense as they did on Tuesday.
Gasol helped the Lakers to their 106-90 victory over the Hornets with an all-around game while scoring 16 points, grabbing eight boards, dishing four assists and swatting three shots because -- as Pruiti notes -- the Lakers played to his strengths on the offensive end so that he could do what he's been known to do throughout the course of his NBA career (as opposed to the first few games of this series).
It will be interesting to not whether or not the Lakers stay committed to running the offense through Gasol and the Triangle throughout the rest of the NBA Playoffs because noted that is when Gasol is at his best:
Despite all of the criticism, Pau Gasol is a very good player on a very good team. When the Lakers are determined to get Gasol the ball in the flow of the triangle offense, he seems to be more effective. When he is more effective, he is more willing to be agressive, taking the basketball to the rim and scrapping for offensive rebounds. If Gasol plays like this the Lakers are tough to beat.
The next chance the Lakers will have to showcase Gasol will be on Thursday night when Los Angeles heads to New Orleans with a chance to close out the series in Game 6 on TNT.