D'Antoni explains Gasol benching

Updated: January 31, 2013, 1:27 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

PHOENIX -- Although his team is riding a three-game winning streak, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni sounded exasperated before Wednesday's game against the Phoenix Suns when asked about Pau Gasol's reaction to his fourth-quarter benching the previous night.

"Well, you know, 'all for one' didn't last (very) long, did it?" D'Antoni said, sarcastically referencing the Three Musketeers' rallying cry. "Forty-eight-hour shelf life. That's not bad. We'll take what we can get."

The Lakers, to a man, had spoken about their renewed sense of teamwork after an air-it-out meeting in Memphis last week that preceded their three-game winning streak.

Gasol registered seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists and a plus-minus of plus-21 in 21 minutes Tuesday as the Lakers built a 10-point lead through the first three quarters against the New Orleans Hornets.

But Gasol had to watch from the bench in the fourth quarter as the Hornets whittled the Lakers' 18-point lead to one before eventually dropping a 111-106 decision in Los Angeles.

"I'm a competitor, I'm a guy that thinks I bring a lot to the table, and not being on the floor is something that I don't like, I don't appreciate," Gasol said.

D'Antoni, who had a dinner meeting with Gasol earlier in the season to discuss the big man's role in his system after benching him in the fourth quarter of a game in late November, said he did not have any conversation with Gasol about what happened Wednesday.

Furthermore, D'Antoni also said Metta World Peace sat out the entire fourth quarter against New Orleans even though he started the game.

"Metta didn't play, either," D'Antoni said. "So, you try to win the game. I thought Antawn (Jamison) was playing well and I thought the matchups were Ryan Anderson and three little guys. Not even a medium-sized guy we could put him on.

"That was the thought behind it. It wasn't really a thought process (of), 'Oh, my gosh (we need to bench Gasol).' It was, 'This is the way it should go,' and that's the way it went."

The Hornets played with a three-guard lineup of Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez for most of the fourth quarter, along with Anderson and center Robin Lopez.

Jamison played the entire fourth quarter, scoring nine of his 16 points in the final frame.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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