A league source familiar with the situation, however, said D’Antoni told Gasol during a team meeting that he should express any frustrations about his role to him instead of through the media. D’Antoni also added that Gasol should improve his work ethic, the source said.“There’s a lot that goes into this game psychologically,” D’Antoni said. “Sometimes it takes an airing out. It’s good and we’ll take a step forward.”Despite posting 15 points on 6 of 18 shooting and six turnovers, Gasol made two consecutive stops and a pair of free throws to secure the Lakers’ win against Charlotte. “This is a great player and has been a great player. His mind has already been warped,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll stick with it. As long as he’s trying, he’s fine. He’s one of the best players in the game.”This situation stemmed from Gasol recently lamenting D’Antoni’s offense doesn’t feature him enough in the post, sentiments he expressed last season amid a reduced role because of Dwight Howard’s presence. “Pau’s great. This isn’t an easy job in the sense that you can get sidetracked,” D’Antoni said. “We just want everybody to be confident, happy and play as hard as they can play.”Paying respectSteve Clifford likely doesn’t ring a bell to casual Lakers fans, but there was a reason why D’Antoni playfully teased him.After Clifford worked as an assistant last season, D’Antoni showed affection for Clifford earning his first head coaching gig this season with the Charlotte Bobcats.“He is a really good head coach. We have a great relationship,” D’Antoni said. “I was hoping he didn’t get it for my own sake. But I’m really happy for him.”D’Antoni then joked, “Everybody that called about him I killed him.” Former Lakers coach Mike Brown originally hired Clifford, but he remained among five assistants who stayed with D’Antoni after Brown was fired five games into the season. The Lakers respected Clifford for his defensive expertise and amenable personality.“I watched how he dealt with each guy differently,” Clifford said of D’Antoni. “I ask him a lot of basketball questions … He’s been through it and obviously very bright. He’s helped me a lot.” CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A day after questioning Pau Gasol’s work ethic, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni directed plenty of praise toward the veteran forward and called him “great.”The reason for the sudden detente between the pair Kobe Bryant amusingly described as an “old couple?” D’Antoni confronted Gasol in a team meeting during Friday’s morning shootaround before the Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder later that night, according to a league source familiar with the details. Gasol then mostly blamed himself — following the Lakers’ loss Thursday to Oklahoma City — for not playing aggressive enough, criticizing D’Antoni’s system and not diving enough off pick-and-rolls. ESPN.com first reported the story.“We talk, but nothing serious,” Gasol said following the Lakers’ 88-85 win against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena. “Just talking. Hello, hi, how are you doing. Good job. Pick it up.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
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