Most Lakers fans following Pau Gasol's progress with the Spanish national team through the European Championships are looking for three things each time he takes the floor:
1. High end, skill-sharpening, confidence-galvanizing performances helping destroy, like hardwood Listerine, any lingering bad mouth flavors following last spring's playoff letdown.
2. Everything in item 1, done in as few minutes on the floor as possible.
3. Don't get hurt.
If that's your formula, and it's certainly mine, then Thursday's 84-59 victory for Spain over Serbia was about as good as it gets. Pau was dominant on the floor, making nine of his 11 field goals, along with seven-of-nine from the line en route to 26 points. Add in eight rebounds, three assists, and a pair of blocks, and it all adds up to a very, very productive night. Best of all, Pau played a grand total of 23 minutes. In the wake of a 30 minute night against Germany, coming after he sat out Monday's game against Turkey with a bad ankle, a little extra rest is a very good thing.
Pau scored Spain's opening four points, first on a catch-and-shoot jumper from below the left elbow, then with a layup after a nice seal of a fronting Serbian defender, then did serious damage in the second quarter. Five points in the first 4:10 of the period and nine overall, before coming back after the break with another eight points in the third.
It should be noted the first three of those post-halftime tallies came on yet another triple, Gasol's fifth of the tournament in six tries. Whatever it is Gasol has discovered, he needs to bottle it for easy transfer to Lakers guards and wings back on this side of the Atlantic.
With the win, Spain advances to the knockout round.