Coach takes a jab at power forward

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In the Lakers' last two losses, a three-point overtime loss in Miami on Thursday and a five-point loss in Dallas 10 days ago, production from Los Angeles' three-time All-Star Pau Gasol was conspicuously absent.

Gasol, who is averaging 17.0 points and 11.1 rebounds this season, averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two losses while playing his normal amount of minutes (33.5 minutes in the two games as opposed to his season average of 36.6).

"I really don't like to talk about that aspect of a person's game ... other than the fact that he's been weak and sickly," coach Phil Jackson said before the Lakers played the Bobcats on Friday, setting up the delivery of the jab with a pregnant pause.

When asked to clarify, Jackson said that Gasol has been feeling "under the weather" and he will have to monitor his 7-foot power forward's playing time.

"I'll start to work the bench a little more and see if I can't spell some minutes for these guys," Jackson said.

After Thursday's loss, Jackson reserved judgment on Gasol, simply saying, "He just had a tough night tonight."
Gasol, while stretching out on the Time Warner Cable Arena court before the game, acknowledged that he has been affected by a cold.

When informed about Jackson's comments, Gasol frowned and said, "That's funny."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com