Gasol, Kaman questionable against Sixers

December, 28, 2013
12/28/13
2:40
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Neither Pau Gasol (upper respiratory infection) nor Chris Kaman (moderate left ankle sprain) participated in the Los Angeles Lakers' light practice Saturday, and both are considered to be a game-time decision for Sunday's contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, according to coach Mike D'Antoni.

"Both of them, we're hopeful," D'Antoni said. "But, obviously, they took a day off."

Gasol missed Friday's 105-103 road loss to the Utah Jazz because of the respiratory issue, the second time in the past four games he has sat out because of the condition. Kaman started in Gasol's place against Utah, putting up 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks before turning his ankle in the final minute.

D'Antoni said Kaman appeared to have a better chance of playing than Gasol.

"It looks pretty favorable," D'Antoni said. "He feels better about it. The swelling's not too bad."

Gasol and Kaman did not speak to reporters after practice, but Kaman spoke up about his vacillating role after the Utah loss.

"It’s not easy, but it’s part of the job," he said. "People are paying me to do a job. I need to do it the best I can, and so that’s what I try to do. It’s not easy, but I’m trying to be a pro here and do the right thing, and so we’ll see. Everything changes constantly."

If Gasol or Kaman cannot give it a go, D'Antoni said the team will look to Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill.

"We got plenty of bigs," D'Antoni said. "I have a hard time finding enough time for [all of] them anyways. Robert and Jordan will play."

Sacre is averaging 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game on the season but saw a spike in production in the two games he started. Hill is averaging 9.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and is coming off 16 points and nine rebounds against Utah.

D'Antoni assessed his diverse group of big men Saturday.

"Each one gives you something different," D'Antoni said. "You try not to duplicate it. That’s why Chris kind of fell out of the rotation early because we needed what Robert had -- five minutes, six minutes of defense and hard dives [to the hoop]. But I was never disappointed with Chris. Chris is good. He needs enough time to be able to play, as Pau needs enough time to be able to play and Jordan has his role. He’s unique and different, so he’s going to play.

"So it’s a little bit of a cat-and-mouse game. We got to wait and see and see who feels good, but obviously that’s something we keep looking at and try to do better at."

Both Hill and Sacre stayed long after practice with Lakers player development coach Larry Lewis on Saturday to prepare for the potential opportunity against Philadelphia.

"You got to just stay mentally prepared," Sacre said. "Obviously, it's tough. You never know when you're going to go in, but you got to make sure you're always ready to go."

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0