Watch this video from last night’s Lakers-Nuggets game. Pau Gasol channeled his inner volleyball player and relentlessly kept tapping the ball at the net until he finally got it to go down.
I was standing at a bar watching the game and I must have let out at least five different cries of emotion in that span of five seconds. Crap! Dang! Shoot! Alright, maybe they were a little more vulgar. Then finally, YES.
It was not just the fact that Pau got that many offensive rebounds on a single play. It was a remarkable feat no doubt. But the play was a microcosm of the whole night for the Spaniard. He came out with a relentless passion knowing that his job was on the line. If the Lakers lost the game, he was sure to be traded in the offseason as the Lakers began searching again for a top-tier point guard. His 3 points, 3 rebounds and 1-for-10 shooting in Game 6 certainly didn’t do him any favors.
So he decided to get twice as many rebounds in a single play as he did all of Game 6 and have his way with the Denver front line all night. When all was said and done, his stat line was chock full of 23 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.
That is the kind of game that he is capable of every night. I’ve always believed that Gasol was one of the most talented big men in the league, and have had to argue with just about anyone who has an opinion about basketball that he belongs in the conversation. People often ridiculed my “Pau is my homeboy” shirt to the point where I didn’t want to wear it while watching a game.
But Saturday night I was glad to be wearing it. I also felt like I should head immediately to the nearest court and starting getting offensive rebounds.