By Craig Kwasniewski
According to Yahoo.com:
Forward Pau Gasol has left the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks because of a strained left hamstring.
A team spokesman said Sunday night that Gasol would undergo an ultrasound test on Monday.
Ultrasound? Just hold on a sec... isn't that what you give to pregnant women to see what junior looks like? What ever happened to the tried and true MRI? Is the economy hitting the NBA so hard that the Lakers medical staff doubles as the California Fertility Clinic by day? I'm cool with the new found extra sensitive and emotionally conscious medial staff...
"Mr. Gasol, I have great news! Congratulations it's a...."
Let's hope not. Anyway, the huge #1 vs. #2 Western Conference Battle Royal between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks never materialized. The Lakers simply out-sized the Mavs on their way to a 131-96 home win. I was there in my seats high up in Section 316 and it wasn't even that close. Instead of a full blown 316 Report breakdown (because the game really wasn't worthy of one), let me just give a quick summary.
Basketball is a game of match ups and Dallas just doesn't have the right mix of talent to hang with LA. Okay sure, great analysis there Craig. Way to go out on a limb and profess that a mid-level team in the west can't hang with the defending champs... brilliant! The Mavs aren't big enough like say Cleveland to give the Lakers any fits. Sure Eric Dampier was out, but beyond Damps, what other legit size do the Mavs have? I really love the potential of having Shawn Marion on the roster. He always does a decent job defending Kobe with his length and athleticism giving KB24 trouble much like James Posey did when he still played in the NBA. But who matches with Gasol and Odom?
Okay taking size out of the picture, maybe Dallas can out-quick the Lakers and beat them in a Phoenix-like run and gun three point contest. The problem there is that Dallas doesn't have the speed like back in 2006. Dirk is older and not as quick off the dribble and Devin Harris is busy breaking the 1972-73 76ers record for futility in New Jersey. Maybe Dallas can ride the wave of their home crowd and steal a few games here and there or get a bored-out-of-their-minds Lakers like the Houston series last season, but other than that Dallas is the 3rd or 4th best team in the west (behind a healthy Denver and San Antonio). A very good 4th best, just not capable of passing Denver or the Lakers in the playoffs.
BTW - On Pau Gasol's strained hammy... This is a serious problem for the Lakers. In the NFL, hamstring injuries stay with players the whole season and extended rest is the only way to heal them. The media keeps hammering home that Gasol only missed 11 games with the other injured hamstring. Actually he missed most of October and the first few weeks of November... basically 6 weeks with a strain. The Lakers are entering the meaty portion of their schedule and have a banged up Artest, Luke Walton still out with his annual injury and now Gasol. This puts more strain on the rest of the roster... especially Kobe, who's no longer the 20-something with boundless energy. At this point the most important thing for the Lakers to repeat is that they are as healthy as possible by April. I'm not saying they go 2006-07 Miami and fall to a 40-win season, I'm just saying that an occasional loss here and there is okay as long as they see the big picture... and with Phil Jackson running things I'm sure they will.
Get well Pau!