I am not Hawkeye Pierce, but I’m happy to play him on the Internet.
[UPDATE]Test results (MRI and ultrasound) show a “mild to moderate” hamstring strain for Pau Gasol. Officially, Gasol is “doubtful” (no way he will play) and is day-to-day after that. I will add this: Gasol is aware of his body in a way most NBA players are not. This is a man raised by a doctor, he may tend toward caution with hamstrings but it’s because when he tried to come back to fast last time there were setbacks. It frustrated Phil, but Gasol has to do what is right for him. If this takes some time, so be it. Get it healthy now, because when it is June the Lakers need him healthy.
Look for a Bynum/Odom/Artest starting front court against Houston.
Now on to good news: [UPDATE] Ron Artest pracitced with the team and should be ready to go Tuesday (Jackson still has to give the final okay). He said there were no after effects from a hard practice, Jackson said his offense looked rusty but his defense should be fine. Again, I have no problem with the delay. I’m a believer that, especially with concussions, players and teams need to take their time and be patient. Ron Artest needed to get his head right, relatively, before returning.
[UPDATE] Luke Walton met with doctors today but was not cleared for full practices. He did take part in 3-on-3 drills and is expected to start practicing Thursday. Look for a return Sunday or next week.
My two cents on blowing out Dallas: It means about as much as the Mavericks blowing the Lakers out a couple months ago. One well played game in January is not the team turning some proverbial corner, they need to play like that over a stretch of games to show that. Add in, that was about as bad as Dallas can play. They came out flat (blame the back-to-back if you want) and the game got away from them and snowballed. It happens to everyone. It happened to the Lakers on Christmas Day. Neither of those games means squat come a playoff series in May or June.
Darius added these thoughts about Fisher:
I bring up these players and these stats to reiterate the point that no team can be stacked at every position. What teams can hope for is balance with its entire team and to have good replacements and bench players that create a solid team overall. I don’t think any person could claim that because Denver starts Carter/Afflalo/Graham at SG that they’re a bad team (I think the argument would really go something like the Nuggs are a contender because of ‘Melo/Billups and their size/talent at PF/C). Similarly, I don’t think anyone would say that the Spurs aren’t contenders because they start McDyess at C or Finley/Bogans at SG (you’d still point to Duncan/Parker/Ginobili and say those guys are the core and they’ll need to get it done). So, when we look at the Lakers, why is it that Fisher is the guy that is going to hold us back? I mean, are we relying on Fisher in a way that is going to trump the contributions of Kobe/Pau/Bynum/LO/Artest?