Pau Gasol out for Lakers
Gasol had been playing well of late, putting up 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in the Lakers' 104-91 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. In his last six games, Gasol has averaged 17.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 blocks while shooting 58.7 percent (44-for-75) from the field.
He is averaging 15.0 points and 9.4 rebounds on the season on 44.8 percent shooting.
Chris Kaman started in Gasol's place. Kaman had six points, three rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes against Minnesota, just the second game he had played in this month (coach's decisions).
"We'll give him an opportunity," coach Mike D'Antoni said of Kaman. "He played well last night. So I'm sure he's looking forward to it."
Kaman, who has spoken up about his lack of playing time on several occasions this season, said he doesn't know if the sudden promotion to starter will mean more minutes down the road.
"I don't expect anything out of this, just play hard and do my job," said Kaman, who is averaging 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds this season. "That's what I'm paid to do, so we'll see how it goes."
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When Gasol returns to the lineup, Kaman is unsure if he would get the chance to play alongside the four-time All-Star.
"I'm not sure that they want that," Kaman said. "I don't know. It just seems like from how things have gone this year that that's not what they're looking for. I think they want a little bit more mobile lineup with a smaller 4 or 5, whoever it may be in there, to spread the floor a little bit and keep the ball moving."
Gasol's absence also means the Lakers will trot out their 12th different starting lineup through the first 27 games of the season. Gasol had been the only Laker to start every game before Saturday.
"It's a little bit my making, too; I caused some of it," D'Antoni said of the constant shuffling of the starters.
D'Antoni thought Gasol could be available to play in the Lakers' next game Monday in Phoenix against the Suns.