Los Angeles Lakers News 2012: D'Antoni Assure Gasol He'll No Longer Be Benched In Late Game Situations

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Dec 21, 2012 11:40 AM EST
Pau Gasol
Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol of Spain celebrates their win over the Denver Nuggets during Game 7 of their NBA Western Conference basketball playoff series in Los Angeles, California May 12, 2012."

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol and coach Mike D'Antoni met Wednesday night to hash out their differences. In the meeting Gasol asked to be put in the post more and to not be benched in crunchtime situations, according to the L.A. Times.

"It was to make sure we're in the same boat," Gasol said in a quiet moment Thursday after the Lakers' practice. "We're trying to reach the same goal. Let's communicate. Hopefully, we can meet halfway on some points."

In the meeting D'Antoni assured Gasol he would no longer bench the two-time NBA champion in crucial situations. Prior to their conversation, Gasol has been benched three times in the fourth quarter since D'Antoni was hired, including the last 2 minutes 36 seconds of the Lakers 101-100 victory Tuesday over the Charlotte Bobcats.

D'Antoni was the one who initiated the meeting, making sure that they'd come to a general consensus. He wanted to make certain that he wasn't "losing" Gasol.

"I didn't think I was," D'Antoni said. "But I wanted to make sure he knew what my vision was for him and the team and see if that's all good. Then we'll tweak it or not tweak it.

"I thought he was great and gave me a lot of insight into a lot of things. It was more of a feeling-out process and what makes him feel comfortable. He's a very intelligent basketball player. Why wouldn't I get his opinion about a lot of things?"

Gasol didn't talk about or demand increased touches but, rather, specific places he wanted the ball. His numbers have dipped this season and he's now averaging 12.4 points and 8.8 rebounds and shooting only 41.3%.

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