What most people fail to understand about Kobe Bryant is that when he fails, he immediately starts thinking about the quickest way he can succeed again. That's his addiction. And based on what Bryant said after the Lakers' Game 4 collapse, Pau Gasol's his curse. "Pau's got to be more assertive," Bryant said late Saturday night. "He's the guy that they're leaving. When he catches the ball, he's looking to pass. He's got to be more aggressive. He's got to shoot the ball, drive the ball to the basket." And then Bryant added: "And he will be next game." Bryant doesn't care what a jerk he might look like, pointing fingers. He is desperate to win Game 5 in Oklahoma City on Monday night, and there is a bit of a track record as far as Gasol needing Bryant to motivate him to increase the intensity. It was barely more than a week ago that Bryant called out Gasol publicly after a meek Game 6 in Denver and privately encouraged him to remember that extra gear he found to be so tough-minded and aggressive in winning Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals over Boston. Gasol responded with 23 points, 17 rebounds and six assists in Game 7 to beat Denver. Gasol had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists in this Game 4 loss to Oklahoma City, one that featured a 13-point lead lost in the last eight minutes and shall loom as one of the costliest losses in Bryant's 4 ½-year history with Gasol.
Kobe and Pau: It must be the end of their era
Orange County Register | May 21